It’s easy to write about the public relations disasters after they have happened. They make you wonder, “How did they not see that coming!?” That’s why it’s very refreshing when you see a company really get it right. Double Fine Productions is a video game developer that has managed to raise $1 million dollars in a span of 24 hours. It’s clear that an innovative idea can go a long way, and Tim Schafer, a computer game designer who has created some of the most popular and critically acclaimed adventure games, knows this more than anybody.
Schafer wanted to create a point and click graphic adventure game, but he knew that he would be rejected by producers, as these games do not make nearly as much money as some of the more popular genres. He decided that he would use Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding website for creative projects, to raise awareness and funds to create a game. His goal was to raise $400,000 in 33 days. He decided to offer incentives to backers, or those who pledge money to the project. From receiving copies of the games to lunches and tours for the higher end backers, those who donated to the project benefited. Schafer also made this an interactive project. In a video posted on the Kickstarter website he expressed the problem with wanting to create an adventure game but never having the funds to do so. He offered his backers a chance to see how the game is created by documenting the whole process. In addition, the backers would have a chance to talk back and give input in the game and have an effect on the direction the project takes.
Within 8 hours of posting on Kickstarter Double Fine Production reached their financial goal. Within 24 hours the project reached $1 million. The project ended Marc with a total of 71,820 backers and $2,491,081 raised.
So what did Schaffer do right to have such success?
Instead of initially targeting a general audience, Schafer utilized a community that he had a ton of credibility in. Due to the success of his previous point and click adventures he is well known in the gaming community.
Schafer started a grassroots campaign with modest goals. The average cost to make a single platform video game has reached $28 million, so Schafer’s goal of $400,000 to create a game as well as document the whole process was incredibly modest.
Schafer supplied even the smallest backers with great benefits. It was great that anyone who donated $15 to the project would get the game for no additional cost but how about incentives for those who donate $1. Those backers still get to contribute on the message board and share their ideas on how to make the game more successful.
Schafer was very genuine in his project. From the first video it was very clear that Schafer’s goal was to reinvigorate a dying breed of video games instead of to make a ton of profit. Even now, with such a huge amount of money raised, it will all go to improving the game.
Schafer identified a need and found a solution for it. He knew that no producer would fund this game so he came up with an innovative way around this problem and had a lot of success.
Schafer really did it right and it paid off in the form of funding, great PR and awareness for his project. When you are faced with a challenge think of innovative solutions and maybe you’ll be the next success story I blog about!