What happens to all of these Kickstarter games once the fundraising is over? Warballoon, developer of a promising Kickstarter-funded iOS and Android game called Star Command, want you to know that getting the money is just the start of an uphill battle.
In honor of tax day, the team posted a message to their investors yesterday looking back at how their Kickstarter money changed the process of making their game. As with most peeks behind the curtain of game development, they revealed that the process of funding a game with Kickstarter isn't as unilaterally awesome as you might expect.
As it turns out, Kickstarter can become a bit of a money pit if you aren't careful.
Warballoon raised 36,000 bucks through Kickstarter for Star Command last fall, coming close to doubling its 20,000 funding goal. Of that 36K, a very large percentage was spent on legal fees, producing and shipping prizes, and other expenses that were more tied to the Kickstarter than their game.
That's not to say that experience was bad. The Warballoon team got money for expense they may not have been able afford otherwise. (They showed their game at PAX East earlier this month, for example) Plus, the publicity from the Kickstarter itself is realistically its own reward.
In the end, the Warballoon team got a lot out of Kickstarter, but the process didn't avoid sinking into personal debt; a problem most indie teams look to Kickstarter to help them avoid.
The bottom line: Here are few tips for all you future game developers looking to fund your game through Kickstarter, courtesy of Warballoon.
- Don't sweat the legal stuff too much. (At least not for Kickstarter's sake.)
- Physical prizes (T-shirts, Posters, etc), should definitely be higher-tier rewards.
- Charge extra for international shipping.
- If your team is incorporated, spend all your Kickstarter money before tax day.
- Most impotantly, know that you won't get as much money as you expect, so don't go overboard with the spending.
Despite the pitfalls, the Warballoon team has no intention renegging on their promise of making what looks like a really awesome game. Star Command should arrive on iOS and Android this summer.