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Kickstarter is about creating what otherwise would probably not exist at all – with the help of backers. For a creator, it’s about coming up with a creative idea, presenting it to a group of enthusiasts, and making it a reality. For the backer, at least until the promised game is delivered, it’s about participation.
Over the last few years, I’ve written a few “Why back now?” sections for a few of the NSKN Games Kickstarters, as well as for a handful of campaigns we helped to create. One of the reasons that would always make an appearance was: “to make the game better for everyone”.
I don’t think I was the first to come up with the “better for everyone” idea, but I am certain that I had used it, before I bumped into it on other Kickstarters. I believe it’s an idea many people came up with independently, and it does not surprise me one bit. After all, it’s not only a good thing to say, it’s also something that is generally true.
Unless it’s not.
As backers, all of us love to participate in the game expanded and grown before our very eyes, and as we speak our mind, we get to be part of a creative process. As creators, we have an opportunity to use the suggestions of people already in love with the game to make it even better. An opportunity we sometimes have to ignore.
Backers often don’t react too well to being told that the thing they want is not going to happen. With multiple interesting projects running on Kickstarter almost any given day now, it’s also easy to see how those unhappy with the answer they got pull their pledge and take their business elsewhere. Hard as it may be, sometimes the only right option a creator has is sticking to their guns.
Responsibility is the key here, for when a project has a few hundred backers (and we all know that a couple of hundred backers make for but a small Kickstarter), a creator of a mid-sized campaign will usually communicate with perhaps a few dozen backers on any given day. It’s easy to forget that there are hundreds (if not thousands) others, who are slower or less eager to communicate.
Listening to a fan base in the making is incredibly important. Interacting with backers makes the creator form a bit of a bond with people who are helping to bring their project to life. Saying no to people who genuinely want to make the game better for everyone can thus seem like saying something inappropriate. Nonetheless, it’s something that sometimes it has to be done, no matter how dirty it feels.