游戏邦在:
杂志专栏:
gamerboom.com订阅到鲜果订阅到抓虾google reader订阅到有道订阅到QQ邮箱订阅到帮看

对于《深牢大狱》众筹活动的总结(一)

发布时间:2014-07-29 16:10:21 Tags:,,,,

作者:Tyler Sigman

在我写这篇文章的时候,《深牢大狱》离Kickstarter众筹活动结束还有9天,并已经获得了24.05万美元(预期是7.5万美元)。这次的活动吸引了超过7300名的支持者的注意,平均每个支持者给予超过32.5美元的支持。

dd_ks(from gamasutra)

dd_ks(from gamasutra)

在Red Hook,我们显然对上半部分的活动非常满意。但我们还有很长的一段路要走,我们最终到底能够获得多大的数值还是一个未知数。尽管对于一家没有多大名气的独立开发者来说我们已经做得很好了,但对于像《终极闪光流浪者》(通过集资活动已经赚到了42.5万美元并最终获得了64.5万美元的资金)或《旗帜的传说》(最终获得了72.4美元的资金)这样的热门游戏来说,我们还差得远了。

除了人们对于《深牢大狱》的极大兴趣以及大量的支持者信息和评论外,我们同样也获得了来自其他开发者的各种问题,即关于“你是如何做到的?”

到目前为止,我们所知道的便是,我们拥有一个很不错的开头。但我认为如果能够整理我们到目前为止所使用的策略以及所吸取的经验教训,那便会非常有趣。

我们的基本Kickstarter策略

任何众筹活动的目标通常都是一样的:尽可能多地赚取资金。但尽管这是基于类似的目标,但其中所采取的活动策略却具有很大的差别。许多活动并未伴随着多少策略,除了一味地想要实现目标。

我们花了一些时间去准备自己的KS。就拿我自己来说吧,在活动前我全身心地投入于准备活动1个半月时间,并为此投入了许多努力。

所以我能够在此提供这个非常重要的建议:创造成功的KS需要花费大量的时间,你所投入的时间与你能够从中获得的成果是成正比的。

我们的策略总结如下:

在发布KS前创造一些粉丝基础:创造兴趣需要花费时间,我们并不想在进行KS时从零开始。

尽可能整合更多兴趣到KS中:KS活动是非线性且受势头驱动的猛兽。许多支持者只是想要支持那些他们知道能够获得成功的内容。同样的,资金充足的活动将在受欢迎指标和列表中获得较高的排名,从而能够提升曝光率。第三,资金充足的活动将变成一个“故事”,能够因为获得资金而获得宣传。

比起为预定提供大量的折扣,你应该提供的是更棒的价值和预定奖励。许多活动会给予敢于冒险的支持者折扣奖励。但相反地,我们希望的是保留自己的核心价值并提供给支持者更棒的奖励去回报他们的支持。这便是对于每一个支持者所考虑的问题的回答:“为什么我现在要支持这一内容,而不该再等等看看它能创造出什么?”

提供给媒体去报道游戏而不只是“我们正在进行Kickstarter活动”的理由。在过去6个月里我们通过媒体清楚地意识到:他们并不想不断接收到“我们正在进行Kickstarter募资”这样的邮件。这在2年前可能会是件大新闻,但在现在却不再如此。重要的是当KS开始时我们拥有绝对的理由去联系媒体,而这并不只是关于该活动。

事先适当地研究商品和价格并选择可提供的实体道具。一旦统计了印刷,发行和其它执行费用,那些疯狂的KS费用将快速消失。关于实体道具和供应链物流我拥有许多经验,所以我不会被印刷成本,发行费用等吓到。我事先做了许多研究并将其整合到自己的KS成本模型数据表中以精确估计我们在每一个层面上的利润,并希望这能够对于我们所作出的任何决定起到引导作用。如果你拥有较低的利润层面,这将能够帮助你提升整体的KS利益,但最终却不能帮助你赚到更多的钱。

什么是对的(到目前为止)

1.进行游戏理念市场验证

对于游戏的整体回应是好的。关于Kickstarter最棒但却最吓人的一部分便是你将进行市场测试,不管人们是否喜欢你的游戏理念。一个不成功的Kickstarter并不意味着你的理念就是糟糕的(游戏邦注:有很多原因会导致活动的失败),但你确实应该三思而后行。

我们很高兴《深牢大狱》的“吸引力”是积极的。其艺术风格在很大程度上能够引起人们的共鸣。

人们是用他们的钱进行投票,而这些钱可以证明这款游戏具有足够的市场吸引力。这能够鼓励并减少伴随着开发所出现的一些风险。

2.对于2支预告片的投资取得成效

10月份的时候,我们发布了预告片《Terror and Madness》。

这是我们以一家公司的身份首次公开亮相,同时也是我们游戏的首次露面。这次的亮相得到了媒体的宣传,并创造了1000个邮件列表注册。实际上,因为这次活动的成功,我们决定继续创造第二支预告片:《House of Ruin》。

我们将《House of Ruin》的发布与KS活动整合在一起。这让我们能够带给媒体除了“正在进行Kickstarter”之外的其它新闻。

例如,连续两支预告片直接将我们带向了GameTrailers,让我们能在KS活动的第一周便获得3次不同的宣传。

3.创造最初的粉丝基础并将其转变成第一天的势头

就像之前所讨论的,我们的《Terror and Madness》预告片通过创造一系列邮件列表而预先带来了一批用户。

我们同样也在Penny Arcade Report上开始连载了名为“Darkest Dungeon Pre-Mortem”的文章系列。对于我们所写的两个章节,这有效推动了人们在我们的Kickstarter活动前便开始讨论《深牢大狱》。遗憾的是,不久之后PAR便破产了—-我们本来还期待着它能够帮助我们在KS活动前获得更多用户。

不管怎样,当KS即将来临时,我们通过提供给邮件列表中的对象KS层面预览并提供奖励和鼓励将他们带回KS。我们知道邮件列表上的任何人都是非常有价值的,并且都有可能成为重要贡献的核心。我们如实告诉他们,并询问他们是否愿意做出承诺,并在KS的第一天帮助我们。我们真切传达了第一天的势头对于活动整体的成功的重要性。

当KS的第一天到来时,我们迎来了许多核心粉丝群组。我们真的非常感谢。那时候,我们大约拥有1500个人的邮件列表。我想我们有可能在早期阶段获得其中一半的支持者。我们的平均承诺是30美元,所以750个承诺就代表2.25万美元。有可能核心粉丝还会许下高于平均值的数值,所以毫无疑问他们是我们最初势头的重要组成部分。

dd_day1rush(from gamasutra)

dd_day1rush(from gamasutra)

4.KS的发布时间很合理

活动的发布时间非常适当。那一周刚好没有太多新闻,我们能够获得一些更有效的宣传。

虽然还有一些不错的内容,但我认为对于“什么是对的”这一部分来说这些已经足够了。

什么是错的(到目前为止)

1.提供关于游戏内部独家道具创造大量的负面讨论

作为我们冒险层面的一部分,支持者将能够访问我们的独家游戏内部角色类别变量。购买这一层面的价值很大,因为除了独家类别外,这里还具有许多很棒的奖励:pdf格式的画册,最初的音轨等等。但是活动第一周的成功却受到许多关于提供游戏内部独家道具的想法的各种评论所影响。一定比例的支持者发现提供这样的内容是无礼的。不管选择,这可能会创造许多摩擦并引起人们在活动的决定性阶段进行剧烈讨论。这将会导致团队的分心。尽管我们的奖励是围绕着其它价值道具而创造。独家的游戏内部内容也只用于一种奖励。但这仍然引起了一些“风暴”,并带给我们关于KS的第一次大型考验。

dd_kicktraq_comments(from gamasutra)

dd_kicktraq_comments(from gamasutra)

并不是所有上述评论都是好的。但幸运的是还是有许多积极的评论。

2.很难找到一种方法去提升让人畏惧的“KS低谷期”的数值

每一次的KS活动在中间段时都存在低谷期—-即每日的承诺降到最低点。这一部分是不可避免的。但关键在于,这些低谷期的数值会随着不同的项目而发生改变。我们每天的低谷期数值大概是在2500美元左右。

dd_kicktraq_trough(from gamasutra)

dd_kicktraq_trough(from gamasutra)

这一数值并不算太糟糕,但这却远低于其它非常成功的独立游戏每天所获得的数值(需要强调的是我并不是要与《Double Fine》,《Harebrained》,《Uber》等项目进行比较)。我们的低谷期并未与早前的情况相一致,一些拥有较低整体活动数值的可比较的独立游戏仍然拥有较健康的中期承诺值。我想这便呈现出了我们在活动前期所取得的成功。

在任何情况下,我希望每天所获得的低谷期数值能在5千美元至1万美元之间,但事实证明这非常困难。我们已经发布了许多支持者更新内容,尝试了一些全新的媒体角度,各种广告等等方法。但是到目前为止情况却仍未出现改进。因为上周四五我们创造了一条爆炸性新闻,所以我们希望看到这周的低谷期有所好转,时间会告诉我们结果。

如果我们准备好提供给streamer/YouTuber/Let’s Player们一些特效,我认为这将有效推动这一活动的发展。但我们选择继续等待,直到我们有更多可呈现的内容时。在保持整体市场营销策略与时俱进的同时,我们想要的是更大的贡献而不是一些小恩小惠。

3.最后的冲刺可能会被糟糕的最后一周的选择所危及

我们的活动结束于3月13日的午夜。大多数KS活动在最后几天都有不错的成绩。

问题是,这一周也发生了一些不是很好的事。《泰坦陨落》,《黑暗之魂2》以及《Towerfall》都在3月11日大放异彩。我害怕这会消费掉那一周许多游戏消费者的钱。同样的,新闻记者也会变得异常忙碌。

这些事情是否会影响到我们的最终冲刺还有待观察,但我必须为此感到担忧。延伸到下一周并不是一个有效的选择,因为这将会把我们带向GDC周,我也不想在旅行的时候还要管理KS活动的后期事宜。所以木已成舟,我们只需要睁大眼睛去看着结果便可。

结语

其实还有很多内容要说,但我决定在此结束,不过故事还未完结。当活动结束后我将会继续编写第二部分的内容,那时候我们也有时间对结果进行分析。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

A Darkest Dungeon Kickstarter Post-Mortem (Part 1)

by Tyler Sigman

All’s Well that Starts Well?

As I write this, Darkest Dungeon has about 9 days to go until the end of its Kickstarter campaign, and has earned $240,500 on an ask of $75,000. There are over 7,300 backers, which gives an average per backer of just above $32.50.

Here at Red Hook, we are obviously pleased with the first half of the campaign. But there is a long way to go yet and the final number we can achieve is unknown. And although we’re doing great for an unknown indie, we’re still a HUGE notch below hits like Hyper Light Drifter, which had grossed about $425k by this point in their campaign and went on to finish with an astounding $645k, or the Banner Saga, which amassed $724k in the end.

Aside from the incredible interest in Darkest Dungeon and the huge number of backer messages and comments, we’ve also gotten a lot of questions from other devs that are various permutations of: “How did you do it?”

So far, all we know is that we have had a great first half. But I thought it would be interesting to do a brain dump of some of the strategies we’ve used so far and lessons we’ve learned (good and bad) up until now. Then, at the end of the campaign, I hope to do another post (or more) to finish the story.

Our Basic Kickstarter Strategy

The goal of any crowdfunding campaign is usually the same: to earn as much as possible. But despite this sharing of the goal, campaign strategies differ greatly. A lot of campaigns seem to launch with little or no strategy besides a general hope of achieving the goal.

We spent quite a while preparing for our KS. Personally, I was basically full-time on it for about 1.5 months before launching, and I spent a fair amount of effort before that point, too. And that doesn’t count the enormous amount of KS-specific art prep.

That’s one huge piece of advice I can pass on: creating a good KS requires a lot of time, and the time you put into it (and the product) are somewhat proportional to what you can get out of it.

Our strategy can be summarized as follows:

Build some fan following before launching the KS: Building interest takes time and we didn’t want to have to start at zero the day the KS launched.

Channel as much interest into the KS start as possible (BLAST!): KS campaigns are very non-linear, momentum-driven beasts. Many backers only want to back something that they know will successfully fund. Also, well-funded campaigns score higher on popularity indexes and lists, thereby increasing continued discovery. Third, well-funded campaigns become a “story”, which gets additional coverage just from being funded.

Rather than offering heavy discounts for pre-ordering, offer fantastic value and pre-order bonuses instead. Many campaigns reward backers with big discounts in return for the risk they bear. Instead, we wanted to preserve our core price and instead give backers great rewards in return for them backing. The key is to answer this question that every backer asks in their head: “Why should I back this now, rather than wait and see how it turns out?”

Give the Press reasons to cover the game besides “we are Kickstarting”. We read it and heard it very clearly from observing press over the past 6 months: they don’t want to be bothered by your email that “We are Kickstarting!” That was news 2 years ago, but doesn’t consititute news anymore. It was crucial that we have a solid reason to contact the press when the KS started that wasn’t ONLY about the campaign.

Research goods and price tiers appropriately up-front and be selective about which physical items to offer. Tales of crazy KS expenses abound, and large sums can vanish very quickly once printing, shipping, and other fulfillment expenses are tallied. I have a decent amount of experience in physical goods and also supply chain logistics, so I refused (in theory) to be caught by surprise by print costs, shipping, and the like. I researched as much as possible up front and built that into my KS cost-modeling spreadsheet to calculate our margins on every tier as accurately as possible and allow that to guide us in some of the decisions of whether to do them or not. If you have a really low margin tier, it could increase your overall KS revenue but ultimately not make you much money.

What Went Right (So Far)

1. Game Concept Market Validated

Overall response to the game has been great. One of the best, but scariest, parts of a Kickstarter is that you get to market test whether people like the game concept. An unsuccessful Kickstarter doesn’t necessarily mean your idea is flawed (a lot of reasons could cause an unsuccessful campaign), but it definitely should give you pause.

We’re happy to say the response to DD’s “hook” (the affliction system and psychological stresses of adventuring) has been really positive. And the art style is resonating in a huge way.

People vote with their dollars, and the dollars have spoken that there’s enough market interest in this game. That’s encouraging and reduces some (but not all) of the risk of continuing with development.

2. Investment in Two Preview Trailers Paid Off Hugely

In October, we released the “Terror and Madness” announcement trailer.

This was our first public act as a company and for the game. It got press coverage and drove over 1,000 mailing list signups (see below). In fact, it was so successful that we decided to invest in a second preview trailer: “House of Ruin.”

We coordinated the release of “House of Ruin” with the start of the KS campaign. This enabled us to contact press with different news than “we are Kickstarting.”

For example, this one-two trailer punch directly led to a great and ongoing partnership with GameTrailers, which got us three separate pieces of coverage in the first week of our KS.

3. Built Initial Fan Base and Converted that into Day 1 Momentum

As discussed above, our “Terror and Madness” announce trailer helped us to prebuild an audience by driving mailing list adoption.

We also began an article series on the Penny Arcade Report called “Darkest Dungeon Pre-Mortem.” For the two episodes we wrote, it helped drive Darkest Dungeon discussion in advance of our Kickstarter. Sadly, then PAR went belly up–we were pretty bummed as we were counting on it to help reach consumers once the KS launched, too.

In any case, when KS rolled around, we leveraged our mailing list by giving them KS tier previews and by providing incentives and encouragement to back the KS. We knew that anyone on our mailing list was incredibly valuable, and hopefully the small core to what could become something big. We told them such, and specifically asked that, if they were to consider pledging at all, to do it on Day 1 if at all possible. We expressed how critical Day 1 momentum was in the campaign’s overall success.

When Day 1 came, that core fan group turned up in great numbers! And we’re very thankful. At that time, we had a mailing list of about 1,500. We guessed that there was a good chance of getting at least half of them to pledge in the early phase. Our average pledge is around $30, so 750 pledges represent a value of $22,500 by themselves! And it’s likely that core fans will pledge at higher than the average, so there’s no question that they were a big part of our initial push.

4. KS Launch Timing was Good

Launch timing for the campaign worked well. There wasn’t a ton of news that week, and we were able to get some nice coverage.

There are more good things to report, but I think that’s enough for Part 1 of the “What Went Right.”

What Went Wrong (So Far)

1. Offering an In-Game Exclusive Item Created a Lot of Negative Discussion

As part of our ADVENTURER tiers and higher, backers gain access to an exclusive in-game character class variant. Uptake and purchases of this tier have been very high as there are a lot of great rewards in the tier even aside from the exclusive class: pdf art book, original soundtrack, and more. But the excitement and success of the first week of the campaign was impacted a bit by a large amount of comment debates revolving around the ideology of offering an in-game exclusive item. A certain portion of backers find offers such as these to be extremely offensive. Regardless of opinion, this can create a lot of friction and heated discussion in a campaign’s critical stages. And it can become a huge distraction for the team. We are far from the first campaign to experience this. Almost universally, our rewards were built around other value-added items. The exclusive in-game content was used only for one reward. But it still created a bit of a firestorm that gave us our first big test of the KS.

Not all of the above comments are great. But fortunately many of them are.

2. Difficulty Finding a Way to Raise the Dreaded “KS Trough”

Every KS campaign has a trough in the middle—a long trudge where the daily pledges bottom out. That part is unavoidable. The thing is, those trough numbers vary a lot between projects. We’ve bottomed out at around $2,500 per day.

That number is not bad, but it’s significantly below the daily hauls of some other very successful indies (note I’m not comparing to “name” projects like those from Double Fine, Harebrained, Uber, etc.). Our trough doesn’t totally correspond with our early take, either: some other comparable indies that had lower overall campaign hauls still had healthier mid-range pledge numbers. I guess it shows the success we had in front-loading the campaign.

In any case, I was hoping to get trough numbers in the $5-10k per day range, but that’s proven very difficult to achieve. We’ve released quite a few backer updates, tried some new press angles, a bit of advertising—pretty much anything we can think of to raise the trough. So far nothing has honestly seemed to matter over the past 12 days or so. I’m hoping to see a bump this week as a result of a coordinated press blast we did last Thursday and Friday, but time will tell. (In that blast, we announced DRM Free, PayPal payment options, and released a 5-minute combat gameplay video.)

If we were ready to give a build out to streamers/YouTubers/Let’s Players, I think that would really boost the campaign. But we’re choosing instead to wait until later when we have even more to show. In keeping with our overall marketing strategy to date, we like to make big splashes rather than little dribbles, for better or worse.

3. End Rush Might be Compromised by Terrible Ending Week Choice

Our campaign ends on March 13th at midnight PST. Most KS campaigns have a great last few days.

The thing is, a few little ‘ol things are happening that week. Titanfall, Dark Souls 2, and Towerfall all hit on March 11th. I fear that, collectively, these are going to suck a TON of money out of the gaming consumer base that week. Also, journalists are going to be a tad busy.

Whether those things impact our end rush remains to be seen, but it does concern me. Extending another week wasn’t really an option, though, as that would’ve brought us into GDC week and I really didn’t want to be administering the close of a KS campaign while traveling. So the die is cast, and we’ll see what happens!

9 Days and Counting

There is much more to talk about, but I’m going to end it here, as the story is incomplete. I’ll write a part 2 when the campaign wraps up, and we’ve had time to reflect on the result.

Thanks for reading! I am extremely grateful for all the excellent learnings past KS’ers have posted before, and if there’s any way I can pay some of that forward, I will.

–Tyler(source:gamasutra)

 


上一篇:

下一篇: