Indiegogo No Place For Video Games? Frontiers Heads To Kickstarter

Polygon posted an interesting article last night about the crowdfunding efforts of AAD Games. It is related to a June 10th blog post from the game deveoper entitled “The Story of A Guy Who Discovered that IndieGoGo Isn’t Good for Gaming Campaigns and Abandoned it For Kickstarter.” From that post…

The trailer went live and I thought to myself, I believe this game has a chance. Time to crowdfund.

The question is which platform? Kickstarter, or IndieGoGo? I knew Kickstarter was the ‘default’ choice but I’d also contributed to successful gaming campaigns on IGG, like Ghost of a Tale and Darkwood. And I knew FRONTIERS had some global / casual appeal, which could make IGG a good option… hmm, decisions.

In one of those weird (not-so) coincidental moments, I got a phone call from IndieGoGo.

They’d seen the trailer and wanted to extend a helping hand. They made a pitch that involved IGG’s Flexible Funding (which I opted not to use), and assured me that they’d help me one-on-one to tweak the campaign for success. That all sounded fine, but then they dropped this bomb – they would take a hands-on approach to helping my campaign get media exposure all over the world.

Exposure, you say? All over the world, you say?

Well, that sealed the deal for me.

To make a long story short, Indiegogo did take a hands-on approach to the campaign’s success as they often do. However, that approach didn’t result in a funded campaign.

Meanwhile, the crowd began to question project creator Lars Simkins and his listing on Indiegogo in the fitst place. Simkins posted a mashup of the responses, but they can be summarized in one of a few ways:

Potential backers were more comfortable with Kickstarter than Indiegogo

Kickstarter’s payment system was preferred

Past success of campaigns in the video game space warranted a switch to Kickstarter

Indiegogo campaigns don’t raise as much as Kickstarter campaigns

Even a feature in the much-adored Indiegogo feature email didn’t put the campaign over the top. Simkins shared that the exposure only resulted in a handful of contributions. He also anecdotally shared that other professionals in the industry were urging him to switch to Kickstarter. That revelation came in an email to his Indiegogo contact.

Functionally Kickstarter and Indiegogo are startlingly similar, but there is no arguing that the two platforms enjoy completely different levels of success. This situation suggests that the disparity between the two platforms is becoming increasingly a functional one. If the industry can learn one thing from these two platforms and their long arcs, that lesson is and should be twofold.

The first is that execution matters over anything. I can’t profess to understand why, but Kickstarter has simply “won” the war between the two platforms. Consider that Indiegogo actually predates Kickstarter and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Whether that is due to media exposure, user interface, payment systems… it’s hard to say, but in the end it comes down to overall execution.

Indiegogo wouldn’t characterize it as such, and it’s true that both platforms are “successful” in their own right, but from a macro level I think it’s clear that Kickstarter is king.

The second lesson is that the deals matter. A newcomer to the space can elbow their way in and carve out their niche by having great offerings on the platform, and it seems that the video game industry (and the backers that support projects in the space) are bullish on Kickstarter. It’s no easy task for any platform to reverse that bias, even the mighty Indiegogo.

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