Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kickstarter and RPGs

So I'm assuming that most readers are by now familiar with Kickstarter, the site that allows people trying to get projects off the drawing board and into reality by relying on the contributions and supports of the anonymous internet masses. Early after its inception there were a couple of role-playing projects put on it to varying degrees of success, but not a lot of money in it at the time. Over the last six months the amount of money going through Kickstarter seems to have exploded and suddenly every RPG company, person trying to get their homebrew setting published, accessory manufacturer etc has jumped on the bandwagon to the extent that Kickstarter seems to have become more of a pre-order and fund my print run than a true investment contribution site.

A lot of names in the RPG industry have been putting projects on the site and records are continually broken by RPGs in the Gaming category. To give you some sort of idea as to the money we're talking about here is a brief history of significant players in the RPG Kickstarters over the last year.

Far West: The Wuxia/Western RPG from Adamant Entertainment asked for $5,000 to help get it to market. They received $49,325 in the end setting the record at the time.

Vampire 20th Anniversary Companion (or V20 Companion) from White Wolf then came along asking for the huge sum of $50,000 to get it to print. They ended up getting $96,327 firmly beating the record set by Far West.

The next big battle was a real clash of the titans. A reprint of the classic dungeon Rappan Athuk by Frog God Games asked for $25,000 while starting four weeks later but ending at the same time Traveller 5 by Far Future asked for $24,000. Rappan Athuk took off fast and just kept growing but once Traveller 5 was on the site it quickly became clear that a new record was going to be set, but by who? They finished within a day of each other with Rappan Athuk bringing in an incredible $246,541. Traveller 5 however managed to take the crown, even with slightly confusing options, at an incredible $294,628.

It goes to show, word is out there that Kickstarter is where it's coming from, and is a great way to test the waters on new products.

I would be completely remiss not to mention two projects related to the hobby that also made splashes.

Shadowrun Returns by  was proposing a modern remake/sequel to the classic Nintendo Shadowrun game. They came out asking for an ambitious $400K, but that was okay as they came away with $1,836,447.

And the biggest surprise of all finished just a matter of days ago. Reaper Miniatures was looking for some cash flow to be able to produce molds to add new miniatures to their popular Bones line. To this end they were asking for a reasonable $30K to be able to get these molds done up and in return the backers could get some of the new miniatures. In the end they blew past their $30K target, zoomed past the hundreds of thousands, clobbered the $1M dollar mark and ended up with an absolutely astonishing $3,429,236. Yes you read that correctly, almost 3.5 million dollars, making it the number 3 Kickstarter of all time (after a watch that can connect to your iPhone and an Android based games console.) 

And who says the hobby industry is dead?

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