Kickstarter Campaigns Have Costs, Too

Crowd-sourced funding through Kickstarter has been all the rage in the video game community lately, ever since Double Fine Productions broke records and pulled down more than $3.3 million in its campaign to make Double Fine Adventure.

But a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter doesn’t necessarily mean free money, as one developer discovered. For War Balloon Games, the $37,000 it raised on Kickstarter went pretty fast, and the developer said it spent $10,000 of the pull just printing posters and t-shirts and shipping them to donors to fulfill the prizes they earned for giving.

As Develop reports, War Balloon said it lost another $2,000 or so to PayPal transactions that didn’t go through or were canceled for whatever reason. After that, both PayPal and Kickstarter take their cuts, amounting to about $3,000. Slicing off $10,000 for prizes lowered the total to about $22,000.

From the remaining money, the company said $6,000 went to developing music for the game, $2,000 to creating art for posters used to market it, $1,000 went to iPads to develop it, $4,000 was for legal costs and $3,000 to exhibit at PAX East. Remove all those expenses and the Kickstarter money left for just game development was only about $6,000.

Still, War Balloon said its game, Star Command, wouldn’t be possible without Kickstarter, and donors were generous enough that the project pulled in $37,000 when it had initially asked for only $20,000. Still, it’s a sobering lesson to learn that while Kickstarter is a big deal for a lot of game developers, it’s not just a golden ticket for making stuff — it also has its own rules and limitations.

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1 Comment on Kickstarter Campaigns Have Costs, Too


On March 21, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Soo what you’re saying is that the people running the campaign didn’t take into account the fact that printing & shipping things like posters & t shirts would cost money, and therefore didn’t budget accordingly?