Hi guys! Thank you for your input! I just wanted to address your comments and go over the concerns.
Presently, our Kickstarter campaign is indeed going slow, with the trend not being what we want it to be. There are numerous factors at play, and unfortunately, things are not as simple as spamming journalists and backers. Let’s dissect :)
as I've said 50 billion times, you need to release updates every (or every other) day during your campaign.
That is not necessarily true. Releasing an update every day or so is not a great idea, because it does not provide a guarantee that you will attract the press, but it guarantees that your existing backers will view this activity as spam, and will decide to opt out due to sheer annoyance with you.
We planned our updates depending on the value of the content we can generate, and on optimal frequency derived from our analysis and research. After all, if you can't provide value with an update - no point in bothering anyone. Therefore, the most optimal amount of updates is 2 or 3 (maximum) per week. So far, we have been releasing 2 updates per week, which is in line with our findings.
If you have any data to back the hypothesis that more frequent updates are required, we would love to take a look!
Each time you release an update you need to email that update to some extent to every journalist you can. The big guys at Kotaku, RPS, IGN, etc. They receive thousands of emails every day. Even if people at those sites would love StarFall Tactics, if they never see the email they won't be able to discover and talk about it. So that's why you send them an email every time you have a big update to share. Something with enough content that it may grab their attention should they open the email.
Partially true, but needs more specificity. It is indeed of paramount importance to reach out to the press every time you have a big or major update. Those updates are valued by the amount of impact it has on users, the industry, the game it-self, etc. For instance, launching a Kickstarter project, releasing a new gameplay trailer, releasing a demo build - are all major updates which need to be sent to the press.
Releasing a new screenshot, a new dev diary, an article on monetization - not a major enough update.
Press does receive 1000's of emails a day from various devs, players, publishers, editors, other journalists, and as a result, their inbox can easily turn into a black hole. Since its a professional hazard, they deal with it by screening their mail, paying more attention to either those who are already known to them, or those who manage to grasp their attention. If they are not getting news-worthy emails, then the chances are they will simply ignore all future correspondence from you, or add you to their spam folder.
We thus reach out to the press with major updates only, to ensure that we don't fall from their good graces with updates that do not have a large impact. And the feedback we get so far from the top portals is very varied. One portal want to playable demo to be able to write about us. One portal wants more gameplay footage. Another wants something else entirely, etc. It is impossible to do all of the things at once, as you can imagine, so we are working hard on knocking those off one at a time.
TL;DR: People can't just back a concept anymore and even though SFT has more gameplay than many so far the rate at which they update almost makes it seem like they've run out of things to talk about, and that's never a good thing. The team will likely turn things around at some point and I look forward to it, but they haven't shown me they can do that just yet which means they haven't shown a lot of people that they can be trusted with their money.
I agree. I guess people can't fully support a project without some tangible evidence that the game is what it's said to be. Hopefully they'll come out with more sneak peaks soon, otherwise I'm scared that it'll be too late. I don't know about you but if I saw a kickstarter with 10 days to go and only 10k, I would think people didn't want it.
Also not entirely true. There are numerous projects live at this very moment that only have a concept, without even providing any in-game footage, trailers, etc. At the same time, those are known teams that have the audience's trust, where potential players are certain that this team will produce and deliver something awesome. Unfortunately, since we are an unknown indie team, we don't have that advantage and really have to prove ourselves.
I am sure you can agree, that just as with my previous point, releasing daily screenshots and gameplay footages will not gain trust, and does not unveil anything new. Just as with the press, backers and potential backers want to see progress, or major updates. And that’s what we are focusing on, while also addressing concerns and questions through dev diaries, minor updates, etc.
Also, as a developer you know exactly how much effort and time it takes to produce a major update of the expected magnitude, such as a build of a game or a trailer (not just another gameplay footage). Thus, it is important to prioritize and allocate the team's resources, to ensure that their time is spent efficiently, and that the result of that input can be converted and measured in traffic acquisition, conversion rates, etc.
Your concerns are all valid, and are known to us. Unfortunately, there are no universally "right" and "appropriate" ways to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign. There are a million factors at play, including how known your team is, your monetization, in-game mechanics, development state and status, other projects currently live, market trends, press coverage. Even macro-level economics are extremely important to take into account when analyzing how well your campaign is going or when to launch it, as things like Purchasing Power Parity or Gallup Economic Confidence Index can play a major role in meeting your targets.
One major behavioral paradigm that we knew in advance would be an issue (but underestimated how much of an issue it would be) is the Free-to-Play model of Starfall Tactics. The issue is not even that players are cautious with it. The issue is that Crowdfunding and Free-to-Play are for different psychological and behavioral archetypes.
F2P is all about trying first and not needing to pay anything, ever, unless you really want to. Crowdfunding is all about paying first, without a 100% guarantee that you will ever get to try out the concept, product, or project that you have supported. In essence, those are two very different types of audiences. And we get a TON (seriously, enormous amount) of potential players who are eagerly waiting for the game to launch, saying that that would love to play it, but, are not going to back it on Kickstarter, because they don’t do Crowdfunding, etc.
Just another aspect to take into account really :)
I am not saying that everything we do is gold, and that there is nothing that we can improve. We are in a constant state of analyzing what is going on, what works, what doesn’t, what we can do to improve, etc.
I'm just saying that the most obvious things such as more updates are not always the panacea for the root-causes, and can be damaging to the objectives.