Hot off the announcement that IGM is partnering up with hitbox to spearhead our new indie game streaming initiative, we’ve got another, equally exciting partnership to announce: IGM is joining forces with TeeSpring to help promote and support indie game crowdfunding efforts. We receive dozens of emails every day from developers specifically asking for tips about how to go about promoting their games, anxious to start a crowdfunding effort because they don’t know what to expect or where to start. We took those emails to heart, and besides adding a dedicated #GameDev section to our Magazine to help fill the informational gap, we’ve also been searching for a partner to help us offer studios a unique crowdfunding opportunity before/after making the Kickstarter and IndieGoGo leap. We believe TeeSpring is an exact match for that.
When making the decision about which crowdfunding service to partner with, we had to consider a few things. After numerous developer testimonials, explaining their story and pitfalls with previous crowdfunding attempts, we began to draw two consistent conclusions:
- It’s frustrating for developers to have to set a minimum pledge goal in an “All or Nothing” scenario that will cover the entire development process, and then only receive funds if that goal is met.
- Even successful campaigns make the “mistake” of giving their game away for cheap as an early-bird incentive for pledging funds. (It seems like a good idea on paper, as a “Thank you” for early adopters.) When the campaign ends, usually making just enough to cover the development, the game releases with the majority of their fanbase already promised a copy of the game. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for profit in the niche community of indie gaming post-launch.
With that in mind, we want to work alongside TeeSpring to help promote crowdfunding efforts via merchandising. The details about launching a campaign can be found here, but there are two key aspects that caught our attention: First, campaigns set their own “tipping point” (sales goal) and shirts will be printed upon reaching that goal. But with TeeSpring, customers can pre-order shirts without putting any money down. Backers are only charged if the goal is met, allowing fans of the project to showcase their interest without yet having to commit funds. The second, and very important detail to note, is that a TeeSpring crowdfunding campaign is based on merchandise. Developers can customize shirts as well as other apparel, and the community shows support by purchasing these products. If development is funded this way, developers now have to option to sell their game to everyone at launch, without already promising the majority of their sales away. (Of course, devs are still encouraged to give early supporters a token of appreciation!)
It’s also important to mention that TeeSpring doesn’t replace other crowdfunding opportunities; this is simply an extra way to gauge interest and secure funds through merchandising, so developers are encouraged to mix and match with alternative methods as well. This way, a TeeSpring goal does not have to cover the total development cost, and backers still receive their custom merchandise.
So, how does this partnership work exactly? Well, indie developers who would like to set up a crowdfunding campaign should first send an email to: email@example.com. (Alternatively, you can always ask questions by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.) Those who do will become sponsored by IGM, and will receive promotional support from our Network. This does mean, however, that IGM will have a vested interest in the success of your project, and will therefore be unable to preview/review the game when it launches. We will provide traditional news coverage about the game’s announcement and crowdfunding campaign, as well as a follow up news piece on launch day. Campaigns that we support will have IGM’s seal of approval on their Teespring Page as well, to make it all official and fancy*.
We hope this different approach to crowdfunding will aid interested developers in avoiding common pitfalls during their campaign. We look forward to seeing all of the amazing merchandise the teams can come up with!
*May not actually make your page any fancier.