The Crowdfunding Wars
It’s happening folks, the various Crowdfunding platforms are going to war. Well, that might not be right, but we have a new player in the game. Originally it was Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, which IndieGoGo is still, technically, a platform people could use, but no one does. And now we have two more in the ring with Gamefound and soon, Backerkit.
Why Is This Happening?
Firstly, because there is money in board games. Maybe not as much as some people speculate and hope. But for crowdfunding platforms, there is money in board games. Board games have made up almost $2 billion for Kickstarter. So if Kickstarter takes 10%, I believe, that’s $200 million just on board games. And $2 billion is out of $7 billion total for Kickstarter.
So you can see why Gamefound, IndieGoGo, and Backerkit would want to get in on things. Add in Kickstarters stagnancy it created opportunity. Kickstarter, while having a smooth interface, hasn’t updated their navigation or anything in several years. And with the advent of pledge managers, ways to collect shipping, do add-ons and allow people to find it later, Kickstarter just didn’t keep up.
Where Did Backerkit and Gamefound Come From?
Both Backerkit and Gamefound started out as pledge managers. With Backerkit, I’m not sure it was really their intention to ever start being a crowdfunding platform. For Gamefound, I do believe it was. But basically, they are already doing a lot of the heavy lifting needed.
They could process cards, they had ability to do add-ons, get people’s addresses. Work with the board game companies and the logistics and distribution companies that handle sending out crowdfunding games. So for them, it was a fairly simple shift to add in, now, some features that track money, that track stretch goals, and that add conversations, a piece they might have already had in progress.
Which is the Best Crowdfunding Site?
Right now, I do not think that there is clearly a best one. And Backerkit is just getting into the crowdfunding side of things. So we haven’t seen a pledge, but we can talk about what they do have in the limited pictures and pieces in place.
Kickstarter does well at letting you see everything, fairly easily. Yes, for me to get exactly where I want to be – games sorted by newest – it takes a few clicks from the home page. I wish that their system allowed you to pick how you default looked at things, none of this “magic” I want newest. I dislike “magic” whenever it’s an option, and I’m talking about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram doing that as well.
But I can easily bookmark the page that I want and I know that I’m just going to see active projects in order that they are coming out. It’s great for on Tuesday, I can see what the newest things are and if any big things have dropped.
On the page, though, Gamefound destroys Kickstarter. Kickstarter offers no navigation. And Gamefound lets you put in headers for sections and creates navigation to get to them. That means if I want to see game play, it can be all the way at the bottom and I can easily get to it.
Their development for pulling up pledge levels and seeing everything in them is a lot better as well. There are more single page features that they have without you needed to reload something. On Kickstarter it takes you to the pledge page where you can do add-ons. For Gamefound it is more like a shopping card and you can add everything from that one page.
On the flip side, though, I have yet to find a great link that I can save for projects. The big issue with it is that I want to filter to just active crowdfunding projects. I can get to active projects but that also has anything that is available to late pledge in the pledge manager. Sometimes I want to see what I can late pledge, but not all the time. Or make it really obvious which ones are active and which ones are late pledges.
Now, finally we have Backerkit, and like I said, I can’t tell you much about it. Mainly because there aren’t any active projects yet on it. But I will say that out of all of them, I think that currently Backerkit is the most dated. Now, that doesn’t mean that they might not have more features than Kickstarter, I fully expect them to. Their pledge manager piece has more features than Kickstarter does.
But speaking from a purely aesthetic point of view, the site is dated. It looks like it was created about 2010 and hasn’t been updated much since. Now the page that they used to announce their partnerships or first projects is nice. But the rest of the site, the notification for when things are going live, the emails you get when you sign up to get notified, all of those look bad.
Backerkit had an nice announcement. And I am guessing they are working on updating the aesthetic before things launch. But the pieces that they did show off still needed work. Like I said their upcoming projects page, the notifications page, the notifications email. So I hope it looks better because right now it is the worst of the three.
Will You Need to Use All Three?
Most likely yes. Kickstarter still has CMON and a few other big companies on it. Gamefound has Awaken Realms and Lucky Duck and a few others. And Backerkit already has upcoming projects from Cephalofair (Gloomhaven and Frosthaven’s company) and Restoration Games. If you want to keep abreast of crowdfunding, I think that you will need to keep an eye on all of them.
But with there being three now, I think this is an opportunity for people like myself as well as then others Tantrum House, BoardGameCo, Liege of Games, and more to be a resource for you. I think I’m going to start covering more crowdfunding on Malts and Meeples. In particular looking at projects. Why, because you shouldn’t need to look on all the sites. Not if all of us are putting out content to help with that. And it will make it less likely that you’ll miss the next Leder Games expansion for Root because it was on Backerkit and not Kickstarter.
Final Thoughts on Crowdfunding Platforms
As a consumer this is going to be good. It should force companies, all of them, to put out better and better products to entice creators to come to their platform. But I know that it is a bit of a struggle as well because as consumers we are used to just going to Kickstarter.
Overall, I think that Kickstarter has shown, to this point, that it won’t do the quality of life improvements that it should. Stuff like navigation for their pages. Instead they are focusing on the blockchain and more secure transactions but costly in other ways. And also means more likely to encourage fraud because of how that all works. Now, not fraud in someone getting access to your accounts but someone taking the money and leaving.
I hope that Gamefound and Backerkit don’t reach that point where they are become lax. I doubt that they will for a while, but it is certainly a concern that it could happen. And I think it behooves them to remember why this is happening to Kickstarter in the first place. But competition should be good, and hopefully good for the consumer and for the smaller companies that are having troubles now with Kickstarter.