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Kickstarter before publisher pitching

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Juzek's picture
Joined: 06/19/2017

I have heard it both ways. Either that a publisher wouldn't want to touch a game that has had a kickstarter, and that a successful kickstarter looks attractive to a publisher.

Any insights? Is this type of game or publisher dependant?

Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
Juzek wrote:I have heard it

Juzek wrote:
I have heard it both ways. Either that a publisher wouldn't want to touch a game that has had a kickstarter, and that a successful kickstarter looks attractive to a publisher.

Any insights? Is this type of game or publisher dependant?

Yep, could go either way.

On the one hand, a publisher may not want your artwork. Probably won't want your artwork. And since you need at least SOME real art for a Kickstarter, that'll be a waste. Also, some publishers may use Kickstarter themselves, and they can do it much better than you, to a larger audience.

On the other hand, sure, if you do great in a Kickstarter, you're proving to people that there's demand for your game, making it more valuable. Though it's not easy to do great in a Kickstarter as an unknown.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Perhaps the WRONG question?!

If you Kickstart a game, no publisher is going to want to "Publish" the game because it is "SELF-PUBLISHED" already. The real QUESTION is what to do AFTER a successful Kickstarter?! As you well know selling 1,000 copies of a game is chump change and shows no real market penetration. You may make some money, but it is largely insignificant.

Moreover, one (1) print of a game IS NOT a success.

The real issue is figuring out what comes next. If you sell like 10,000 copies of a game ... Well this is more interesting financially. But as you know, most people DON'T get figures as high as these...

Like @Jay103 has been doing is selling games ONLINE for retail markup ... To save enough monies for a re-print. Again, you need to be able to sell to ensure that there are people willing to buy a re-print copy of the game.

Obviously 1,000 units is not at all the END of a game. It may be a GOOD start... But is there a lot that can be done in the future??? That is another good question to which I don't have an answer for -- YET!

Note #1: What about a game is Published by a Publisher and they decide to Kickstart the game... And only get 1,000 Backers. That Publisher goes "defunct" (Closes shop) ... Now we know that there are games that are published by several Publishers... Since it was NOT SELF-PUBLISHED ... Would another publisher take-on this game??? IDK...

Note #2: A show of success would be 20,000 units and up-wards. If you look at the figures posted by Stonemaier Games, they usually sell around 40,000 to 60,000 units (given the years and circulation)... So I would say those amounts in the last 3 years.

If you can sell 20,000 units over its lifetime... This is a measurable amount of SUCCESS... Like 50% of what Stonemaier is doing. In one way it sounds DO-ABLE... From another angle, it seems IMPOSSIBLE. I mean if your Kickstarter does only 1,000 units... How the heck do you get that amount to 20,000 units and up-wards?!?!

Note #3: Google says that 20,000 units are DIRECT-TO- CONSUMER and that 90% are sold via distribution and local partners.

It still seems like a MOUNTAIN to climb when you only get 1,000 units sold. Again it's chump change and insignificant in terms of success.

Note #4: In 2019 this annual report by Jamey suggests that he is a very fortunate person:

Between Two Cities: 39,900 units (BGG rank: 555)! So almost 40,000 units sold of that game. Euphoria: 35,000 units (BGG rank: 365) which is the lowest of the games that are out-there in the market.

So somewhere in the 15,000 units MUST be DO-ABLE!? Again it's about BRANDING and recognition.

Note #5: The IMPORTANT thing to remember is that you are not going to be successful with ONE (1) GAME! It's an ENTRY point and your BRAND is NEW. Jamey and Stonemaier Games are known globally. If you build around one GAME ... And have like a series of Expansions ... And slowly GROW your BRAND ... This is POSITIVE.

It's all about BRANDING nowadays. If you have a recognizable BRAND ... maybe a specific game with a bunch of expansions... TradeWorlds currently has 3 expansions and I am working on 2 more...!

Game RATINGS are also important... How much do the people who backed your game really LIKE it?!?! Is is a "6" or an "8"?? How many people actually BOUGHT the game (250, 500 or 1,000+)?

Look at Reiner Knizia... He's made a TON of DIFFERENT games. It's not always one (1) game = success. Or look at Dominion one (1) game and a ton of expansions and it is a success...

You've got to plan your journey out a bit. And see what the possibilities are OPEN to you. If you have one game, make an expansion or design something different and completely new and try to build your BRAND on either your NAME or your PUBLISHING company's name...

Note #6: If you SELF-PUBLISH ... You have to realize that you are NOW a Publisher. If you don't want to publish other people's games that is FINE too...! But realize that your growth is determined solely by YOU. Again, I'm not a marketing genius like Jamey is... But the key is RECOGNITION.

Maybe BUY a Lifetime Banner on! If I ask anyone TradeWorlds... They'll probably say: "You can play it free online..." But only 2 players! 1, 3 or 4 Players you need to grab your own copy of the game!

Being a Publisher is not the end of the world. So you are making and selling games. No ONE (1) game is going to make you an instant success. You need repeat volume and customers.

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