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No Country for Small Creators. Really?

B. G. Kubacki
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Last week I talked about Kickstarter exclusive games – including those which are so difficult to find outside of Kickstarter that are widely considered exclusive – and hinted on another topic I’d like to touch on in a separate post. The topic was board gaming Kickstarter today, and companies using it to crowdfund their games.

Board games were certainly not a big part of Kickstarter about ten years ago. Now tabletop gaming is kind of huge. Some of the biggest projects on Kickstarter – which means biggest crowdfunding projects in the world – are board games.

Large companies making Kickstarter exclusive games becoming a thing re-sparked a certain side-topic of many discussions: is Kickstarter still what it used to be, and do small publishers and creators still stand a chance against large companies competing for backers’ attention – and having the resources to steal it?

Well, Kickstarter is not exactly what it was ten years ago, and that’s actually great! If it stood in one place, our hobby – and our industry – would not be growing. More and more games are pitched, funded and delivered to backers’ doors, and that indeed means that competition might be fierce, but it is as it should be.

In fact, it is not only a natural course of events, it’s also highly beneficial to backers. A creator or small company who has already managed to successfully deliver a quality product is automatically more trustworthy of future pledges, and with the bar raised by competition, scammers (or creators who are simply incompetent) are much easier to spot.

As I said in my previous post, Kickstarter exists to allow products (games) that would otherwise never exist to become a reality, and it still serves that function for pretty much anyone who is willing to give it a fair try. It is only by comparison with the most funded projects that smaller and less established creators seem to suffer, as they are usually far from today’s highest funding levels.

Still, while analysing the situation, it’s worth to research funding levels of games that were considered smash hits back in the day (around 2010 to be exact). Alien Frontiers, the first big hit made with Kickstarter made a whopping $14 885 – a funding level now easily beaten by Kickstarter first timers.

Apart from the odd lightning in a bottle, a creator nowadays has to do pretty much the same thing anyone has to do to be successful: work hard, be ready to invest (some money and probably a lot of time), possibly receive a bit of help from their friends, and have a bit of luck. With that much – and a reasonable idea for a game – Kickstarter will still make you a published game designer and/or a publisher.

And by “Kickstarter” I mean backers – gamers and dreamers, truly passionate about their hobby, and interested in being a part of the creative process of making a game – people whose numbers were never as high as they are today.
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