Kickstarter Tutorial Series

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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:08 am

[Thread moved from Construct 2 General to How Do I...?]

We've had some homegrown Kickstarter (KS) campaigns here at Scirra, most recently/notably Andrew aka @NotionGames and his team's deservedly well-funded Super Ubi Land.

While we're a smallish community, there's a lot of talent represented, and KS is currently one of the best ways for indie game developers to circumvent the old guard of venture capital and big-label publishers.

Even though KS currently only accepts projects from U.S. and U.K creators, there's nothing standing in the way of a multinational team designating a U.S. or U.K. team member as the campaign lead and pulling off a completely successful (and legal!) project.

With all that said, it seemed about time to consolidate our lessons learned and best practices, and so I've spent the last month or two researching the elements which go into planning, running, and fulfilling successful KS campaigns. With any luck, sometime Sunday evening (Eastern Standard Time) I'll post what may be the first of several tutorial articles laying out the principles I've learned from others or identified on my own and through participating in successful campaigns and observing certain failures.

This tutorial will discuss five practices and considerations which seem to be either absent from the more common discussions of KS success/failure or are under-emphasized, much to the detriment of many a project. For example, while I know for a fact that some KS backers and a few project creators have dealt with this issue, the blogs, Gamasutra post-mortems, and even academic research papers aren't talking about how to advertise your game in established communities without creating a backlash from loyalists bristling at your commercial invasion.

If it turns out that there's a significant degree of interest, I can develop a whole series of tutorials covering one or another aspect of KS management and guiding principles.

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or questions, go ahead and post! I'll also keep this space updated.

Cheers,

David/RandomExileRandomExile2013-04-27 20:36:46
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:29 am

I hate this trend of having topics in this subforum that should be in a different section but are here simply because its popular or something.
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:31 pm

I've been compiling a free guide for project creators based on my Kickstarter experiences (550+ backed; helped reboot multiple campaigns; skimmed entire Recently Launched feed since December 2011). Watching Kickstarter's ecosystem grow since May 2011 has been amazing.

A big obstacle I have with finishing my own guide is that I have a 11.4 litre plastic tote of notes on scrap pieces of paper to go through and having to reread the collection of messages I've had with devs. Now that a college semester just ended for me, I began refactoring my guide yesterday. I eventually hope to share it with the Construct 2 forum.

[QUOTE=RandomExile]Even though KS currently only accepts projects from U.S. and U.K creators, there's nothing standing in the way of a multinational team designating a U.S. or U.K. team member as the campaign lead and pulling off a completely successful (and legal!) project.[/QUOTE]

Kickstarter can approve projects from project creators of other nationalities than those. One requirement for Kickstarter project creators to fulfil is to have a bank account in the United States to transfer the funds into. As a Canadian, to open a bank account in the US would require applying in-person at a branch of a bank that can handle foreigner accounts, a minimum deposit amount in US currency to cover fees, a valid passport, another piece of government provided photo identification like a driver's license, submitting Form W-7 for an IRS ID, then submitting Form W-8 for income tax reasons and utility bills that show a home address. Kickstarter can provide a 1099-K form for project creators that shows how large the payment was that Amazon processed if the project gets funded. It is also important to learn how to later close the account if you won't need it, but know that same account can also be used to collect otherwise withheld advertisement revenue from web game portals like Kongregate and for transactions in US dollars to avoid losses from repeat currency conversions. I haven't done this myself yet, so I might be missing something.

[QUOTE=alspal] I hate this trend of having topics in this subforum that should be in a different section but are here simply because its popular or something.[/QUOTE]

I agree with alspal that Construct 2 General is not the best place for this thread.
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:47 pm

@alspal,

I'm certainly open to suggestions, but not only is there no tutorial discussion forum, but on my thread:

Tutorials Forum for C2

@Tom said, "I don't think we need a new forum for tutorials."

I wish I could speak more to the trend you've observed, but there appeared to be about three forums which weren't exactly right for tutorials discussions, but for which an argument could be made. If @Kyatric or @Arima want to move it to General: General Game Design or somewhere, I have no objections, because it was a coin flip for me, since this isn't really about Game Design, per se, either.
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:27 pm

[QUOTE=LobsterSundew]I agree with alspal that Construct 2 General is not the best place for this thread.[/QUOTE]

Hopefully we can get a KS and/or tutorial forum!

As you point out, there are dozens of technical details with regard to running a KS campaign (you could just as easily have described all the steps to setting up an independent website to use for reward management, integrated shopping, web-public project updates, long-term sustainment of your backers as an opt-in mailing list, a place to handle Paypal during and after the campaign, etc.!), and while I think most people know how to open a bank account, you have both the knowledge and the inclination to share your expertise with others, and I hope now that you're in between semesters, you take the time to do so!

=P I wouldn't say that you "missed" anything, since you were primarily just establishing your bona fides by listing some of the steps/considerations a KS project manager will have to deal with as a brief example, and discussing the scope of your KS experience (very cool!), but when you mentioned that Kickstarter will provide a 1099-K, you've touched on a much larger and murkier issue: local tax regulations!

Amazon Payments, for example, will definitely send a 1099-K not just to you but also to the IRS, reporting your income, so the burden after that falls on the project creator to handle all local tax laws. As has been discussed on Forbes/ Kickstarter's Sting in the Tail: Tax, The Daily Dot/ The Hidden Cost of Kickstarter Success, and even individual tax firms' websites, you have to account for Federal and State taxes, the applicability of sales tax and the implication of shipping to states in which items were manufactured, you could well wind up owing self-employment taxes, and in the U.K., HMRC is going to view your rewards as pre-sales subject to VAT.

It's a mess, and the best advice is to hire a CPA or other tax expert to advise you on the particulars of your campaign. In many cases, consultation will be free and you will only be charged if you take advantage of their actual tax preparation services.

RandomExile2013-04-27 19:12:43
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:37 pm

BTW, @LobsterSundew, I think it's cool you do your Lobster's List, and I see you've contributed videos to help out at least one of the projects you backed. I've contributed to about, oh, 2% of the projects you have, but they were all very important to me =P, and one of them was by a friend.

You're what Malcom Gladwell calls a "maven," someone who's an information specialist who "accumulate[s] knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know[s] how to share it with others."

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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:04 pm

What about putting tutorials in the tutorials part ?
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:24 pm

@Kyatric,

With respect, I don't think that's appropriate. That's where the tutorials themselves go, but it's not a forum for discussing tutorials and related concepts. You wouldn't create a tutorial to have a conversation about tutorials you like, or authors, or the etiquette of editing others' tutorials, etc. You would do that in a forum, like this.RandomExile2013-04-27 20:29:59
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Is the How Do I...? forum right for this discussion? It looks like virtually all the posts in here have to do with technical questions about using Construct 2 itself.
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Post » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:41 pm

I think I've missed the point of the discussion then.

If you want to discuss about a specific tutorial, that's what the comments of the tut itself are here for, right ?
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