Monolith plaudert etwas aus dem KS N?hk?stchen. Ich finde das hier sehr interessant und auch ehrlich.
- Why is the Conan: Beyond The Monolith funding level amount set at such a high level? -
It is well known that the funding level amount displayed during major KS campaigns does not reflect the actual financing needs of the project in question.
Marketing and the ability to proclaim that the campaign “funded” in an ever decreasing time period has meant the systemic reduction of funding level amounts to only represent a PROPORTION of the “actual” funds required to pay for the development, illustration, sculpture, manufacture, shipping , and the various taxes and royalties necessary for the completion of the project.
Monolith ourselves are familiar with this artifice as we have become accustomed to its usage.
During the Conan campaign, the funding amount didn’t represent a tenth of the actual financial requirements.
During the Mythic Battles campaign, the funding amount didn’t represent a 15th of requirements and during the Batman campaign, the funding amount represented, at best, a quarter of the actual financial requirements.
This allows publishers (ourselves included) to demonstrate their pride and gratitude and drums up buzz for the campaign.
"Awesome, Funded in less than 5 minutes!" While that feels great to say, behind the curtain, the whole team is crossing their fingers and sweating blood, waiting for the game to finally reach (ideally before the end of the campaign) its true target.
This artifice enables the launch of the Stretch Goal machine, convincing pledgers that these additional gifts are offered thanks to the decrease in unit production cost (irrespective of the fact that the economy of scale effect only starts to become measurable when the KS reaches ten or twenty times the stated funding level). The problem with this type of subterfuge marketing is that it strongly encourages practitioners to get bogged down in non-financeable projects by clinging to the hypothetical and rarely verified hope of a Pledge Manager that will prove as lucrative as the campaign was hyped to be. Using this model, publishers run the risk of embarking on a precarious financial reliance on a “ we hope the cavalry arrives during the PM” mentality. Indeed, publishers collect pledgers' money during the campaign on the assumption that "it is what it is or we’ve got what we’ve got". Only "what it is” is sometimes far from enough, and publishers have absolutely no assurance that the PM will bridge the income gap. Additionally if the PM doesn’t provide sufficient funds – kickstarter organizers can begin to “rob Peter to pay Paul – diverting funds from the latest Kickstarter to service the debts of previous kickstarters, locking those organizers into a constant need to create new kickstarters to remain afloat.
During the launch of the Beyond The Monolith range, I would like to break with this practice and set, perhaps for the first time, a funding level amount that corresponds to the true financing needs of the project and its future.
-Why set such a funding level amount?-
Because I am long-term planning. Because the Conan BTM campaign launches the Beyond The Monolith product range.
This BTM campaign goes way beyond just the Conan Intellectual property.
Additionally, to succeed in launching the BTM system and placing the Core System box in as many backers hands as possible, we are playing the price point card “hard” by recycling prior miniatures whose molding costs have already been absorbed in their original kickstarters`.
We are betting that these reduced “to the bone” prices will make the Kickstarter attractive to a larger potential backer pool.
So, for the first time ever, we will play the game of "all or nothing" that the KS platform advocates.
Why bother launching a project of this size if it does not receive the support of a sufficient part of our community and our partners’ communities?
So, by setting this realistic funding amount, it stops us from taking pledgers' money until the amount is enough to ensure that, in addition to completing the project itself, we are also able to ensure sustainability (ie to generate sufficient capital to invest in the longevity of the BTM product line).
From this point of view, the Pledge Manager funds will only be considered a "bonus", not a necessary requirement resulting from blindly following an evolutionary practice that perpetuates the dependence on being financially “saved” at the last minute by the PM cavalry.
In the past five years I have spent a great deal of time observing and discussing with my peers the evolution of pledger practices. A significant part of these evolutions are unfortunately only measurable using data visible only to the campaign organizers.
The first strongly visible trend was the explosion in the amount of “unpledge “actions occurring during campaigns—a good indicator of how volatile pledgers were becoming.
These days, you can see campaigns closing with the grand total of 10,000 backers when in reality, 15,000 backers may have pledged during the campaign, however 5,000 have cancelled their pledge.
These variations remain relatively invisible to the public who only have access to the net figures but are a real anguish for the campaign organizers who find themselves facing pledgers who, more and more, flutter from one campaign to another, attracted by a plethora of opportunities and options.
The second strongly visible trend is Late Pledging, which postpones the financial transaction.
We also note that many late pledgers have previously “unpledged” during the campaign and have made the choice to return at a later date.
The late pledge has an advantage both for the backer (payment delay) and the campaign originator (the PM turnover rate is generally lower than that of KS), but also has a major pernicious effect: the lack of true visibility over the final amount that the campaign generates.
These two strong trends contribute to the growing opacity of the actual financial results of campaigns, drastically increasing those financial results “virtual” nature (during the campaign) and “speculative” nature (from closure of the KS to the closure of the PM).
Now, this virtual and speculative nature of the financial results is at the very heart of the risk of waiting for the cavalry.
However, you can’t blame backers—unrealistically low funding amounts have just encouraged these two trends. Indeed, it’s common knowledge amongst backers that Stretch Goals only serve as adjustment variables to the pace of the campaign (the gaps widen when the campaign goes well and tighten when it slows down). In other words and roughly speaking, once the "financing threshold" (sic) has been crossed, the greater or lesser number of backers has, so to speak, only a marginal impact on the final overall product configuration.
So, to use an example I'm familiar with, Batman 2018, whether we raised $ 3M or $ 8M, would not have affected the amount of SGs that were unlocked (all the SGs were prepared and had their space allocated in the box) ... and included in the content that backers received.
The challenge posed by transferring the financial transaction to the PM is that campaign organizers with the courage to stop an underfunded campaign, rather than reap the cash, are rare.
Instead, we see the proliferation of multiple extension or multiple re-opened PMs, which never close until the actual funding amount is reached. ... in the hope, hypothetically, that at some point it will.
To me, the simplest solution to remedy this harmful process is the reinstatement of an actual funding level amount: the minimum amount required, without risk to the pledger, for the timely and quality completion of the project.
-Paradoxically, why such a short campaign?-
Because, as with the Claustrophobia 1643 campaign, we will not use the subterfuge of Stretch Goals.
From Day 1 pledger value is maxed out, what you see is what you get.
Any additional content would be detrimental to the profitability of the product on offer.
So, rather than purposely removing some of the game content to put it back during the campaign in the form of Stretch Goals, we think it's healthier that this value is built right into the game and immediately visible.
Therefore, we consider it a poor use of time to artificially prolong such a “value for money” product campaign simply to provide an online show.
(We think that once you see the offer for yourselves, you will agree).
-The Pledgers deal-
During this short campaign (probably a week, -anything more than that and everyone would get bored-), we will offer our pledgers, just for this BTM product line launch, at incredibly low prices – lower than the market standards.
This heavily discounted price point is our “gift” to Kickstarter pledgers.
In return for which, we hope pledgers will help us pass this realistic funding amount during the course of the KS.
Shipping costs will be clearly defined during the Kickstarter campaign to avoid any unpleasant surprises when the PM opens. -Is this approach too cautious?-
I am perfectly aware of the potentially counterproductive nature, in business terms, of all these incorporated precautions.
But the fact is, that to this day, I have no idea what the BTM product line can generate in terms of results, and I do not wish to put at risk any of those who have put their trust in me.
- Indeed - There are zero 1 VS 1 games included in the top 25 grossing KS (*card games removed, focus on miniature boardgames)
Only two 1 VS ALL games are included (Conan and Batman ?). Finally, only four Competitive-Multiplayer games are in this list. All the others (19/25 !!!) are Cooperative games.
Conclusion: We haven’t won yet, but deep down isn’t that what makes the risk exciting?
Thank you for taking the time to read this statement, and for your continued support.
Fred Henry and the Monolith team.