Is the Kickstarter spirit dead?

kickstarter_headerI want to talk about what I always thought the spirit of Kickstarter was about. Kickstarter is a great platform for new, innovative companies to test public interest in their new product as well as gather funding to get their new company started. People that think the product is a good idea will give money to the company. To say “thank you,” the company will normally give something in return such as schematics, a prototype, or a finished product after manufacturing is set up. This process allowed many innovative new companies to get the capital needed to get their company started and bring their product to the market. This seems to still be happening in the tabletop gaming industry, however the process seems to have been tainted somewhat.

Where before, Kickstarter was dominated by small startup companies trying to get off the ground, large or established companies have entered the Kickstarter market which is something that I would argue goes against the spirit of Kickstarter. They recognize the reduced risk and somewhat predictable return on investment they can achieve on the platform. Established companies have larger marketing budgets to be able to advertise their games a lot more than startups. The larger companies also have established manufacturing lines which in some cases can allow them to sell their games at a cheaper price than a startup company. The combination of these two factors hurts startup companies by taking market spend away. Backers have a limited budget and they too recognize a lower risk and better value by backing a large company versus a new startup designer. This pattern of larger companies using Kickstarter and lowering the funding of smaller companies is not necessarily bad. It forces savvy startup business owners into changing the way they do business if they want to make a break through.

If small startup companies are to survive and compete in the Kickstarter market, they cannot continue the old ways of running their campaigns. They have to find new ways to market and develop their products. They have to innovate in every aspect of their business now, not just in their product design. Gone are the days of putting up some sketches and rough drafts along with a description of the product. Now, backers are used to seeing professional graphics along with well thought out and tested marketing trigger words all designed to attract the attention and promote action by the viewer. Startup companies need to spend a lot more time — and sometimes money — in these areas if they want to have a chance at a successful campaign. I’m currently doing some marketing consulting for my friends on their upcoming game Nexus — if there is interest, I can share some secret strategies we are incorporating in a future blog. Anyways, even though larger companies have entered the market with some obvious advantages, it doesn’t mean that the smaller startups can’t take advantage of a natural weakness.

Large companies, in fact have a natural weakness. You see, they have a smaller tolerance for taking risk. Steady and predictable return on investment is what most of them are looking for. This avoidance of risk lends itself to products that are reproducible and somewhat predictable. This is not to say they aren’t cool or fun to play, it’s that they leave a lot of room for innovation by risk-taking entrepreneurs. I know it is tempting to follow trends that big companies are setting — after all, it is working for them. As we discussed earlier, the startup is outgunned in the “tried and true” market. This is where startups need to look for things that have never been done before. For instance, I have found many ideas buried in the comments section on Kickstarter on how customers want to purchase things a certain way or ideas on how to make products unique or better. Smaller companies are more agile and can take the risk to see if there is a big enough market to support doing business a particular way or making a product available in a different way. This is their secret weapon. Yes — you will have more chances at failure, but you will also have chance at incredible successes by finding niches that large companies haven’t carved out yet.

To sum it all up, the Kickstarter spirit is not dead, but it certainly has been changed by the influx of large companies. Smaller companies can’t follow the trends set by large companies, but instead need to be able to compete in the areas of marketing and need to take advantage of their risk-taking abilities by being innovative in product design and offerings. For the entrepreneur that can listen and learn from failures and successes, Kickstarter can still be a great place to both test ideas and raise capital for your new business.

I am sure I have left out a lot of angles on the intricacies of the Kickstarter market. Comment below and let me know your thoughts on the condition of the Kickstarter spirit.

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NEXUS – Who are these guys?

So, my friends Scott Rumptz and Jay Goike just got finished on an all day video shoot this past weekend and I decided to barge in and give them an impromptu interview . My thought is that when people decided to back a Kickstarter, they are not just buying into a game, but the people behind it. In this mini-series, you will get to learn a bit more about the guys at D-Verse Publishing, LLC and their debut game NEXUS which will be on Kickstarter August 1st.

Forgive my microphone, I had it on directional which picked their voices up great, but mine was a bit muffled — silly mistake, but I got the important part.

So, without further adieu, hear is Scott and Jay telling me about their journey so far and how it seems like all their previous projects were preparing them for this one.

Scott and Jay talk to me about how the game was received at Origins 2018. Jay was hearing so much positive things about NEXUS, he kinda thought maybe the entire convention was punking him lol.

When Jay and Scott first started playing games together as kids, they often changed the rules of the game to fit them. They incorporated this type flexibility inside NEXUS as almost a “sandbox tabletop game”. Here they tell about “house-rules” and “self-generating narrative” in the game.

As the game continues to be noticed by more people in the community and more information is released, I think I would like to know more not just about this game, but the future plans of Scott and Jay at D-Verse Publishing, LLC.

Next time, I will focus on what their ultimate goals are for the continuation of making innovative and nostalgic games.

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To learn more about NEXUS, check out their website here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/ or you can visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nexus.dverse

NEXUS — What do they have planned next?

When I caught up with Jay Goike and Scott Rumptz after their day of shooting video, they were obviously tired, but I didn’t let that stop me from taking advantage of an opportunity to ask some more questions.  This time I was curious to find out what they had planned after the Kickstarter August 1st.

Scott and Jay tell me about how the outpouring of support from people both in person and online tells them they are going in the right direction and how exciting it is when someone comments and likes the game of NEXUS.

When I asked about the big driving factors for D-Verse Publishing, LLC and what keeps them dreaming of new things, Jay and Scott tell me about how they are inspired by the artists and the infinite amount of worlds out there to explore. They said they want creators, designers, and industry people to be able to continue doing what they love to do.

Scott and Jay tells me that D-Verse Publishing, LLC does not end with the game of NEXUS. In fact, it is just the beginning. They want to continue to bring in more and more talented people from across the industry to make innovative and nostalgic games for years to come.

I am really enjoying doing these video interviews with Scott Rumptz and Jay Goike with D-Verse Publishing, LLC. I get to learn more about their philosophy behind the game and what drives them to put in the long hours and work so hard to bring a new game to the market.

If you too are enjoying learning more about the creators of NEXUS, leave me a like and a follow. Comments are always nice too!

The best place to stay up to date about NEXUS is by liking their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nexus.dverse