So the Crowfall Kickstarter campaign has passed the halfway point and they sit at just over $1.1 million with over 12,000 backers.
And that is totally expected. A good campaign builds up interest and comes out of the gate strong. A campaign that appears to be a winner is easier to back. But once the goal has been met and the invested base for the game has backed you, it is time to move to the next stage. The fight moves to the mid-campaign doldrums where a two pronged attack is required.
The first prong is to work the installed base. People who gave you money already, who believe in you, are the most likely group to give you more money. One way to get that is with good stretch goals. So far Crowfall has underwhelmed me with their stretch goals. They are not horrible, but they aren’t things that would get me to kick in an extra nickel. And, while that is my subjective view of them, you have to admit that the announcement of those stretch goals hasn’t exactly set the pledge rate on fire.
The second path is the provide more backer tiers as part of the campaign that add new benefits that will get your invested followers to up their ante. The campaign has a lot of people in the $30-$60 tiers. About now they should be rolling out a new tier in one of the gaps they left in the dollar amounts… something at the $80 or $115 level maybe… that includes something really special, and in-game item that will set players apart or some such to get those at a lower level to boost their pledge. You can give it to everybody above that level, no problem, but you want to bring up the average pledge.
The second prong of attack is to start the publicity drive to get people who haven’t even heard about the campaign… and, in this, you and I and most of the backers are the weirdos who pay attention to this sort of thing, most of the potential Crowfall players haven’t heard a thing about the game yet… to drive fresh backers to the table.
This… hasn’t done much so far. I saw that Gordon Walton did a YouTube interview with long-time illicit RMT baron Markee Dragon. And somewhere I saw Todd Coleman quoted about being surprised that they hit their $800,000 goal as quickly as they did and something else where he said some practical things about stretch goals. But all of that is sort of playing to the installed base. I mean, if you know who freakin’ Markee Dragon is, you’re already flagged as the odd duck, and while those Todd Coleman bits were interesting, they only seemed to play in the narrowly focused MMO press.
What the campaign needs is the big interview at some place like EuroGamer which, despite its failings, does get a lot of page views and does seem to be one of the sites that the mainstream press actually deigns to notice. Of course, to get that, and to get enough buzz for the mainstream press to throw you a bone, there needs to be a story that contains some drama.
I previously suggested a tell-all, what-went-wrong interview about SWTOR or Shadowbane or something along those lines. Everybody loves to watch somebody confess their sins and admit their hubris and announce how their new and humbled selves have come through all of that wiser and better able to make a great game. They don’t have to go full-on Lord British nuts, but there needs to be a story beyond “Hey, we have a Kickstarter!” to get two second/third tier famous names from a niche genre in the gaming industry a front page story.
And I know I have said all of this before. But that was in the theoretical, when the need for this sort of thing was still a future possibility. Now though the trend is clear, the numbers are in the doldrums, the rubber has hit the metaphorical road, and while the little bit they have done seems to have generated a small bump in interest, there has been no big mid-campaign surge in activity.
As I said before, I think they could easily hit $2 million and beyond in this campaign if they could find the right mid-game message. I am just waiting to see if they can do it.
What do you think would work?