At some point while I slept the Crowfall Kickstarter campaign crossed the $800,000 mark, which means that if you don’t reneg on that bid you made in the next 26 days or so, you’ll end up having to pay them some money.
The marketing aspect of this campaign has only just begun, plus more money is always good. Any detail oriented person probably noticed, it says right on the Kickstarter page itself that you cannot make an MMO for $800K.
So where will this campaign head?
I could see the Crowfall campaign hitting the $2 million mark, which would allow it to finish up in the neighborhood of titles like Camelot Unchained, Shroud of the Avatar, and Star Citizen.
Of those campaigns, this one feels the most like Shroud of the Avatar at least superficially. Lord British asked for one million dollars, hit that at the 10 day mark, and then went on secure just over two million in funding.
The Crowfall team has 26 days left to go raise another $1.2 million and hit that respectable mark. And they can do it, if they can negotiate the mid-campaign doldrums.
If you look at the charts at Kicktraq, the amount of money raised and the number of new backers signing up is dropping off day by day. The early rush of enthusiasm is over. The pent up and eager backers are already on board. In about a week it is going to get very quiet on the campaign if they don’t have a plan. To progress further they have to capture the fence sitters and the unaware while continuing to engage their core supported.
On top of that, they have already met their goal, so the tension on that front is over. This campaign will fund (barring any mass defection) so there is no need to rush out to pledge or up the ante on what you have already opted to give.
To catch the unaware will require more press coverage. But more of the same “hey, look, a game” sorts of stories probably won’t cut it. The campaign will need something that will attract fresh eyes. I am not sure that the Lord British tactic of getting out on the stump and telling people that most game designers suck compared to him (and then claiming he was taken out of context) is necessarily the right route to take. After all, Lord British has spent years laying the foundation of being an erratic nut case when it comes to talking to the press. You can’t just get that reputation in a day.
What I expect we will see in the next week or two is a few interviews where Gordon Walton or J. Todd Coleman offer to dish the dirt on what REALLY went wrong with Shadowbane or The Sims Online or Star Wars: The Old Republic. We love that sort of thing. You can bet we’ll be blogging about that if it comes up, because a good interview on that front will echo all over the place. Admissions of failure play very well to a wider audience. And such tales can easily be turned to teaching moments about how much they learned and how the Crowfall plan has taken those lessons to heart.
One way is stretch goals. And, frankly, the current stretch goals stink in my opinion. You are never going to convince me that they weren’t going to do both anyway. But that is the problem when you present a tight plan, anything you suggest seems either tacked on or was assumed to be part of the plan anyway. I don’t know how they are going to do it, but they need to step up their game on that front. Yeah, you want to hold off on the really good stretch goals until the very end to help drive that last 48 hour push, but right now they aren’t playing for me.
But more importantly, they need to tinker with the pledge tiers. People who were in at the start will up their game if a new tier with a special shiny shows up, while those on the fence may be swayed by a tier that gives them just the right mix of things. Expect a regular re-rolling of new tiers as they seek out sweet spots and special deals that will bring in more money.
And I expect that they will open up pledges via PayPal and other sources on their own site for people who do not want to use the Amazon funding system that Kickstarter rests on.
At least that is my ignorant, outsider’s view of the world.
Do you think they will make it to two million? Maybe more?