During GenCon 2013, I had the chance to speak with Sechin Tower, Lead Developer at Exile Game Studio and author of Mad Science Institute. I asked him about Exile’s use of Kickstarters for publishing its game products, and this is what he had to say.
Me: Tell me what Exile’s been doing with Kickstarters.
Sechin: Exile has been a recent comer to the Kickstarter market, but we’ve found it extremely useful to not only jumpstart a project that would take a little longer to get going, but to also get the word out and to give people a chance to get some merchandise and some add-ons that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to offer.
Me: How many Kickstarters has Exile done so far?
Sechin: We just completed our third Kickstarter. The first one was for Deadfellas, which was a casual card game. The second two were for our roleplaying game Hollow Earth Expedition. The first of those being for a book of scenarios and the second one, that we just finished, was for Revelations of Mars, which is going to be our next sourcebook, which takes the pulp action onto the red planet.
Me: In that Kickstarter you had various offers and things, including PDFs of the previous books and so forth as rewards for particular levels. Which means that somebody who is new to the game could get into the whole game that way just by taking part in the Kickstarter.
Sechin: That’s correct. And we found that a lot of people—we’ve gotten a lot of new players out of that offer, too. So it’s great to have something to offer for people who already had everything, and something to offer to people who were brand new to the game.
Me: Do you think that you will be doing any further Kickstarters in the future?
Sechin: Yes. We won’t be doing Kickstarters for everything, but for big releases like these, it’s been a great opportunity for us as well as for the fans.
Me: Do you think that there’s any danger of “Kickstarter fatigue,” where people start getting tired of kicking into these Kickstarters?
Sechin: Absolutely, I think that’s already going on. I think that a lot of people are getting burned by people who might have a great idea but aren’t in a position to follow through. And so I think there’s going to be a big shift as more and more people become aware that it’s not just about what the idea is but is this a person who can deliver, do they have a good business plan, so I’m really glad to be a part of a company that got in early so that were established before Kickstarter even existed. I think having a following before you go to Kickstarter, or at least being known or having some experience in the business is going to become increasingly important to reassure. I think we might see few of the huge successes from people who haven’t had any games before.
Me: Is there anything else you would like to say about the Kickstart publishing process?
Sechin: I hope it can continue to be a way for the general public to have a chance to speak with their support as to what projects will become real, and which ones will remain on the drawing board. I think it’s a great way to get a sense of what the demand will be for something before it even exists. So I look forward to more Kickstarters, and to supporting more Kickstarters.
Me: All right, well thank you for your time.