Tinker Dice – Not Much Time Left July 22, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: Kickstarter, Tinker Dice
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And pledge you must if you want a set of these dice. The campaign started off strong, as they tend to do, with a flurry of pledges. However, things began to languish in early July and the project now sits at 40% of the requested funding level. Projects often finish off with a last minute rush of pledges, and the last day of a campaign can be as strong as the first. However, there is a long ways to go for this one, and without some momentum it seems doomed to founder shy of its target.
Dice by the Pound June 25, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: Kickstarter, Tinker Dice
But now blog neighbor Tesh has his own Kickstarter going for some Tinker Dice he designed. And where I come from we help out our neighbors when we can.
Actually, in Silicon Valley we often barely know our neighbors, but it wasn’t always that way.
Currently, if you go in for the top amount, you will end up with a pound of his dice at some point later this year. Perfect if you are running a massive Dwaven-techno based Tunnels and Trolls campaign. Or you can get them in more reasonable quantities. Plus there are stretch goals that will yield different color and material options for supporters if enough backers kick in.
Because who doesn’t want a set of dice which indicate that you are probably screwed even before you make your saving throw?
Anyway, go take a look.
Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Campaign Complete May 2, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Camelot Unchained, entertainment.
Tags: Kickstarter, Lord British, Mark Jacobs, Shroud of the Avatar
The 30 day run is over and Mark Jacobs and team have made their goal and then some. The final count on Kickstarter is $2,232,933.
As I pointed out as part of the Kickstarter pattern, the campaign hauled in about as much in the last two days of the run as they did during the first big day. More people showed up for a last minute contribution. You can see how that played out with this chart over at Kicktraq.
Or you can just go with this.
In a word: DING!—
Camelot Unchained (@UnchainedKS) May 02, 2013
Plus, once they met their $2 million goal, they were able to open up PayPal donations as well, which accrued nearly another $30K up to this point and which will no doubt remain open for those who want in on the founder deals.
And on top of all of that, there is the additional million dollars from other investors and the $2 million dollars that Mark Jacobs is personally kicking in, giving City State Entertainment more than $5 million to create its niche, RvR, no-PvE focused MMORPG.
So now it is time for them to go build a game.
And, as usual, I cannot help but compare how this campaign went with how Lord British and his Shroud of the Avatar Kickstart finished. While the two games are different in substance as planned, they were both what I would call personality driven campaigns, Lord British on one hand and Mark Jacobs on the other, around proposed fantasy games that hearkened back to their roots as designers and which were both squarely aimed and their long term fans.
Lord British had a more modest goal, one million dollars, and ended up just past the two million dollar mark at the end. Mark Jacobs set a more aggressive goal, one that was in question with only three days left in the campaign, but which ended up just shy of 2.3 million dollars. (PayPal contributions as they stood at campaign end included for both.)
Lord British brought in more backers, with 22,322 pitching in on Kickstarter, compared to 14,873 for CU. But the average pledge per backer was $151 for CU, while Lord British fans gave an average of $86.
Both campaigns were examples of how is being viewed by larger projects. Rather than being a primary source of funding, these were marketing campaigns that raised awareness, identified a core audience, got data and buy-in from them, and made a pile of money in the process. How else can a company do that before they have actually made a serious start on a game?
And success in Kickstarter, and delivering on promises, can make a difference in funding. I got a note… well, it was really a link to a video… last week from Hidden Path Entertainment that they got funding to go ahead with Defense Grid 2, largely based on their Kickstarter performance. So it can make a difference. And I’ll get a copy of that when it comes out for free, having been a supporter.
There are still plenty of small campaigns out there for projects that could otherwise not find funding along with fundraising efforts and the like. Jason Scott wasn’t going to get funding any other way for his documentaries (or his storage unit), and Planet Money, a podcast I enjoy, is doing a T-shirt fundraiser on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is just becoming more things to more people as time goes on and people get used to it.
Anyway, now comes the long wait for the games that were funded. But at least I will likely shut up about Kickstarter for a while.
Mark Jacobs is a happy man right now, as the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter campaign managed to climb the mountain, covering nearly $400K of funding in the last two days despite a multi-hour Amazon payments outage and some issues with over-zealous supporters.
I hope you didn’t pledge a lot of money hoping nobody would call your bluff. The time to pony up is nigh!
Anyway, with 19 hours left to go, we shall see how much more money they can collect.
And then, of course, they have to actually make all that stuff they have been telling us about for the last 29 days.
Cry “Funded!” and let slip the dogs of unrealistic expectations!
Addendum: Oh, yeah, stretch goals. I bet they have had this graphic ready for a while.
I am not sure what they really mean to me… what else is new… but there they are.
Camelot Unchained – 3 Days and $400K To Go April 29, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Camelot Unchained, entertainment.
Okay, maybe a little less than $400K, but the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter campaign is coming down to the wire.
It could happen. In looking at the records of similar campaigns on the various sites that track them, projects can pick up as many pledges in the last two days as they did on the opening day. Camelot Unchained had a $550K opening day. You can see a pledges and backers by day chart here. So it is well within the realm of possibility.
I wonder, in a general Kickstarter campaign way, how certain aspects of the way things have been done have helped or hurt them. Mark Jacobs has been very forthright about the niche appeal of the game, and certainly the “No PvE content” aspect is sending some people away. But that is to be expected.
Other things though, like tiers that allow limited backers, do not appear to have been used… well? correctly? efficiently? To my mind, that is supposed to create a sense of artificial scarcity to get people to pledge right away.
The first four limited tiers ($25, $50, $55, $110) have a combined total of 25,000 “limited” slots, which is roughly 2.5 times the total number of backers up to this point. If your limited tiers are still open and available with only three days left to go on the campaign, I have to think they are not working as designed.
The tier price points also seem to be a bit confusing. In past campaigns, there has been a pattern of regular price points ($25, $50, $75, $100) which are often the limited tiers, and then a slightly more expensive unlimited tier above each that gives just a little bit less than the limited tier, to encourage people to pledge right away.
Instead, it is a bit of a muddle. Why would you have competing $50 and $55 limited tiers, for example? Why nothing at the magic price point of $100? I know $110 is just a bit more, but in my experience, $$100 is often a mental threshold.
And then there is what you get for each tier, which I find to be unnecessarily complex. The $50 and $55 price points mentioned above differ on so few points as to make me wonder why you would make them two separate tiers.
Ah well, brighter minds than my own no doubt have a narrative to explain the complexity. And they certainly did well selling the higher level tiers. Of the 75 pledge slots at $2,500 and above, only 6 are still available.
And it is too late to change any of that in any case. The next three days will tell the tale.
Quick, Somebody Go Pledge Sixty Dollars April 19, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Camelot Unchained, entertainment.
Checking the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter tonight and the numbers were almost in sequence.
Somewhere, some OCD person is going nuts.
Update: Somebody… or two somebodies… couldn’t take the pressure.
Now, will this perfect number kill off all future pledges?
Camelot Unchained Newsletter #3 – Are You On The Fence? April 17, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Camelot Unchained, entertainment.
Tags: Kickstarter, Mark Jacobs, Mark Sumner
Mark’s getting serious.
The Camelot Unchained Kickstarter campaign is at the halfway point today, with 15 of 30 days having passed. The campaign is sitting at the $1.2 million mark, which means that it has picked up an additional $200K since it hit the million dollar point a week ago. At that rate of funding, the project needs another four weeks, and it only has two.
Last night the third Camelot Unchained newsletter went out to those of us who signed up for the mailing list. It opened with a personal appeal from Mark Jacobs.
We knew that our Kickstarter campaign wasn’t going to be an easy sell. We are asking for $2M which isn’t the largest Kickstarter ask but it is still very significant. Even though I am putting up $2M of my own money (and an additional $1M from investors) to fund completion, we know that many of you are still nervous about committing.
If you are among those who are waiting to see if we get closer to funding before committing to our Kickstarter, I have to ask you why?
Kickstarter, unlike PayPal, doesn’t charge your credit card until the project funds. Thus, you can back us without worrying about being charged for a project that doesn’t fund. This is why we can’t use PayPal until after Camelot Unchained funds.
Also, by pledging now you help us as we pass through the Kickstarter doldrums that very often happen in the middle of a project. I’m hesitant to use any gimmicks (“Pledge now and receive a pony!”) but I will simply say this, if you believe in what you’ve seen so far from Camelot Unchained and have not currently pledged, it’s time to show your support. Doing so costs you nothing and in the meantime, it may help encourage other people to pledge as well.
If everyone who signed up for our newsletter pledged now we would be a lot closer to making our goal. So please, if you like what you’ve seen and heard from myself and CSE, now’s the time for getting off that fence before it leaves a permanent mark!
That text is unchanged by myself except for fixing “smart” quotes that did not copy/paste correctly (those are Microsoft’s curse on the world in my opinion) and inserting line breaks to make the text more readable. (That is where my mind inserted line breaks when reading it, which probably says more about how I think that what was written.)
And the message is, essentially, “don’t wait.” Certainly a last minute push to the final goal is more likely, and more likely to be successful, the closer to the actual goal the campaign is. And that last minute push can be important. Look at how much the last day or so brought in for Shroud of the Avatar.
This was followed up by a reminder about The Depths, the plan for an RvR dungeon in Camelot Unchained.
The Depths was discussed in a video update where it was described as a “stretch goal.”
I am not sure that going from a message about trying to make it to an ambitious base goal to a discussion of a stretch goal, which assumes funding above and beyond the asked for amount, is really the best one-two marketing punch. But it is possible I am missing something there.
The newsletter then launches into an interview with author, former Dark Age of Camelot player, member of the Stellar Emperor fraternity, and Camelot Unchained backer Mark Sumner, who, according to the interview, learned about the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter from “the spiffy blog of the Ancient Gaming Noob.”
Then the newsletter closes with a thank you for people who have supported the project and a final statement about the future.
…I look forward to the day that we are not talking about pledges, backing, etc. but rather how together we can make Camelot Unchained the game that many of us have been waiting so long for, an RvR-focused MMORPG that is willing to take chances, break rules in order to dare to be great.
So here we sit, with 15 days left to go, the funding about 60% complete, and probably all the easy dollars pledged at this point. There are no more islands or inns available. (25 people pledged $5,000 a piece for those.) So a lot of people need to show up and buy in to make this happen.
Camelot Unchained and the Mark Jacobs Interview April 13, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Camelot Unchained, entertainment.
Tags: Kickstarter, Mark Jacobs
As I wrote about the Lord British “most game designers really just suck” interview, there seems to come a point in Kickstarter campaigns where pledges start to slow down, where all the likely suspects are on board, and now the whole things needs a spark to get more attention.
One way to get attention is to give an interview with some juicy quotes that will generate some mild controversy.
So Lord British happily and knowingly pissed all over a bunch of people in the games industry in pursuit of that attention. That he came back and rather unconvincingly claimed he was taken out of context was a clear indication that he went too far for that goal.
When I posted about the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter launching, I asked, in more of a poke at Lord British than in a serious expectation that it would occur, if we were going to an interview from Mark Jacobs where he insulted people. He was kind enough to post a comment here that such behavior was not his style. But I still wondered if an interview with a good, headline generating quote might not be in the offing for that time when the momentum started to slack.
Well, the time seems to have arrived. After hitting the halfway point, the million dollar mark if you will, earlier this week, there has been a noticeable tapering off of pledges. Time to stir the pot. Time for Mark Jacobs to speak to the press.
And what headline we get?
Free-to-Play Headed Towards an “Apocalypse” in 3-5 Years Time
That was the money quote from an interview over at VG24/7.
Certainly that was a good quote. It implies a disaster for what has become the MMO industry’s dominant business model.
And the interview certainly goes into some things that have been covered before. The days of free-to-play being a differentiator are gone. The first blush success of DDO and LOTRO going to the model has been replaced by the need to constantly escalate the pitch to get people to buy things from the cash shop.
And by saying that Camelot Unchained wants to focus on the people willing to put up the money to subscribe, he brings up by implication one of the more annoying bits about free-to-play.
Free-to-play games also focus on those willing to put up money… but that is usually through the inevitable cash shop. And so games on that model have to keep coming up with the next big thing to push, and it becomes harder and harder not to just sell game impacting power.
As for the apocalypse of the quote, I think we are already on the cusp. Games following that business model are already folding up, some before they even launch in North America and Europe. It is no longer good enough just to be free-to-play.
What I think we will see in 3-5 years is an actual good understanding of what it takes to make a successful free-to-play game. Knocking off WoW and bolting on a cash shop will no longer cut it. We will understand when somebody says “free-to-play” what it really means, or at least what various flavors of the business model mean.
As for the purpose of the interview, bringing attention to the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter, do you think this is going to be enough? Two million dollars is still a long march away.
Camelot Unchained: Mark Makes a Million April 10, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Camelot Unchained, entertainment.
Tags: Kickstarter, Mark Jacobs
I was just peeking in to see how the Camelot Unchained Kickstarted campaign was doing when the screen updated from $996K to one million dollars. Mark Jacobs is no doubt a happy man at the moment.
That puts the campaign at the half way point just eight days in, which was a bit faster than Shroud of the Avatar made it to the million dollar mark.
The big difference is that Lord British had made his goal at that point. There is still a long climb to go here.
Then again, Shroud of the Avatar pulled in a nice chunk of change at the last minute, pushing it past the two million mark.
So we shall see.
In the mean time, Mark spent his last update answering yet more questions.
Tags: Camelot Unchained, Kickstarter, Lord British, Mark Jacobs, Shroud of the Avatar
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Lord British is no doubt celebrating this morning, having finished up his 30 day run on Kickstarter with a last minute surge of donations, bringing the grand total of donations to $2,030,676, averaging about $88 per backer. That is double is initial $1 million goal.
I am not sure why somebody would find Amazon payments objectionable, but then be fine with PayPal, but I guess at least 775 people could answer that question, and they have 111,401 reasons on their side.
Anyway, this means that the $2 million stretch goal has been met.
And, as these things now go, just because it is over doesn’t mean it is actually over. Obsidian Entertainment’s Project Eternity Kickstarter funded, but then let people put in some money late with their “slack backer” program on their official site. so you can get in on some aspect of the action on a Kickstarter than funded back in October.
I have also seen several Kickstarter campaigns that let you upgrade your tier after the fact, raking in a few extra dollars. And, even as I am writing this, people have added more money to the Shroud of the Avatar project via PayPal. But I have updated the dollar amount above three times already. I am just going to leave it where it is for now.
And speaking of now, now is when the wait begins. The money is being collected. The goals are set.
When will something come of all of this?
One of the more common complaints about Kickstarter is about projects not meeting their timeline. The estimated date for the launch of the first of five episodes of the game is October 2014. I guess we will see in about 18 months how accurate that estimate was along with how much communication continues from Lord British and company post-campaign. Communication can alleviate some of the frustration people will feel when the project inevitably slips.
And, most important of all, with the unwieldy name of Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, can we just shorten that to “SotA” and pronounce is as “soda?”
Meanwhile, the Camelot Unchained Kickstarted campaign is five days in and just shy of the $900K mark on the path to the $2 million goal as I write this. It is bringing in an average of $157 per back at this point, but appears to have hit that first plateau after a very quick initial run up. We will have to see what Mark Jacobs and team has up their sleeve to keep that dollar amount climbing.