Kickstarting niches
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 April 2013, 12:43 pm
Spinks has a brilliant post up on the difficulty to use Kickstarter for a niche product like Camelot Unchained. Only 8,350 people backed that project up to now, and in spite of some willing to donate thousands of dollars it looks as if the funding goal might not be met. It appears that if you want to make a PvP game that in any case will attract only around ten thousand players, you're better off relying on government funding (and indirectly funding from the European taxpayers): Darkfall 2.0 just came out (and apparently still sucks).

As Spinks remarked, (Quote: "He (Mark Jacobs) had a very strong focus on how fun it will be to make your enemy suffer, watch your enemy suffer, lay traps and inhabit monsters to inflict misery on your opponent. ie. Have fun griefing the dungeon!"), you can't build a game which relies on griefing as main source of fun and attract a lot of people with it. Even the meanest player will get bored of that, and will probably have driven away lots of other players in the process. Empire-building can sell, but just torturing other players for fun isn't a viable design concept.

I got a mail this week asking me to promote the Kickstarter for Worlds of Magic, an indie turn-based 4X game claiming to be the "genuine spiritual successor" to classic 4X games like Master of Magic. For very different reasons this again is more of a niche product, and again there are just 1,500 backers; of course the goal is set much lower than for Camelot Unchained, so Worlds of Magic has a better chance of reaching its funding goal of a modest £30,000.

But even with Worlds of Magic I felt a kind of disconnect between what I think that the cost of making a game like this to high quality standards is, and what I think how many people are willing to pay how much for. How much of a game can you make for £30,000 (especially with 3D graphics animations)? How much of a MMORPG can you make for $2,000,000? And if you increase the budget to make a better technical quality of game, how are you going to finance it if there are less than 10,000 people around who would want to play it?
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