** Data, graphs, and insight provided by Lobster Sundew **

You may have heard about Neverending Nightmare’s last minute push to reach it’s funding goal of $99,000 and all the competition it faced during it’s campaign (including Hyper Light Drifter, Shantae, and Mighty No. 9) but you may not know what happened behind the scenes.

I hope to shed some light on this campaign for you.

Neverending Nightmare

Neverending Nightmare (NN) was both a well run campaign with tons of prep work and a project that many backers took a personal interest in. Without the large number of backers who wanted to see it succeed it may not have been possible. Eventually, however, it was so close to becoming a success that it simultaneously became a project that was “too big to fail”. The campaign was engineered from the start to do this and it performed perfectly. The existing backers were kept motivated throughout the campaign and they helped spread the word about the project. Many of them also increased their pledges. We will touch on funneling briefly later in this post.

Despite NN’s success, the conversation rate of visitors to backers was poor. It is not a game that can appeal to the mass audience of core gamers. Another project would have brought in a lot more funding with the same exposure that NN received – even several members of the press backed the projects themselves. Let’s Players covering the demo also helped tremendously.

One problem that NN faced was the fierce competition. A lot of medium sized campaigns stalled out during the same period and many campaigns saw pledges pulled away so people could move their money into Hyper Light Drifter.

The $1 Tier

NN used a $1 tier to help keep the project’s popularity ranking high and it was very successful at doing so. During the Kickstarter through the $1 tier kept the project ranked higher than it otherwise should have been without it. In order to utilize a $1 successfully, it needs to have real value and needs to appeal to the “over-achiever” personality type (adding one’s name to credits works perfectly). The reason why it works so well is because Kickstarter’s ranking system is crude and unrefined - a $1 backer has as much pull as a $50 when it comes to rankings. From the looks of it, something as seemingly insignificant as a couple $1 pledges may have saved NN from dropping sharply in the rankings as during the slowest days a significant portion of new backers entered at the $1 tier.

Soundtrack vs Beta Access

From an analysis of several Kickstarter projects (including NN, DwarfCorp, and others) it looks as though there are a significant number of people who care more about receiving the soundtrack over receiving beta access and vice versa. The trouble is figuring out which one to introduce first in the tier structure to maximize funneling and increased pledges. A good tactic currently is to introduce both individually in two tiers of equal value and also have a higher tier that includes both that is not too far off. The goal here is to funnel backers to higher tiers thus raising the per backer average pledge.


Another interesting tactic that is becoming more popular now is the Add-on item. An important thing to note here is that add-on items should be introduced during the last quarter of the campaign. Early introduction to add-ons may cause some people to occupy a lower tier in an attempt to budget for the add-on. The idea here is to introduce a backer with new add-ons to squeeze a bit more out of some of them after they have become comfortable with the current pledge tier they occupy. One good thing to keep in mind is shipping costs. Physical items that can fit in a thin envelop or take up minimal space make for great add-ons as they will not contribute to shipping costs as much as bulkier items. This allows you to minimize risk. NN was successful because the missing funds came from backers upgrading their original pledges. Add-ons would have fueled this behaviour even more. As a consequence, there was also a small surge of new backers when evangelical backers started to really push for the project.

Blood Alloy is another project that wasn’t as fortunate this time around. The campaign was buried fast after launch and stalled out shortly after. The rewards would have had more value added to them but they weren’t completely broken. It looks like a lack of exposure and crazy competition from other campaigns were likely reasons why it failed.

You all know about Hyper Light Drifter. Here’s the data for that project:

Posted by @LunarPeter

Searching for a Programmer

It's been over 2 years since the release of my first game, Lawnmower Challenge, and over a year since the sequel was actively being worked on. The sequel, which will feature a panda instead of a lawnmower, is nearly complete and has been in that state for a very long time. It's finally time to push through the last 10% which means I need to find a talented programmer who can help. Continue reading

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