Some big news in the world of crowdfunding this week with BackerKit announcing that they would be launching their own crowdfunding platform to rival Kickstarter. BackerKit, for those who don’t know, is the number one backend platform for crowdfunding fulfillment, and one we’ve used on our campaigns since the beginning of our journey as creators.
BackerKit has already announced a slew of creators on their new platform, including tabletop giants Cephalofair Games, the publishers of Gloomhaven. In fact, if you look at the wall of announced creators / publishers, over half of them are tabletop game publishers.
Gamefound is another growing platform that’s been making a lot of waves recently. Initially launched as a preorder / backend platform, the site now features multiple $100k+ projects on the front page, including major licensed products like The Umbrella Academy board game (based on the comics, not the Netflix TV series).
- Decentralization is on the menu. One of the biggest advantages Kickstarter has had over the years as the first mover in crowdfunding is a massive audience. That audience now seems to be fragmenting now. With a number of options now available, it's likely that the crowdfunding segment is going to continue fragment into smaller fiefdoms rather than being consolidated to one large kingdom like it has been on Kickstarter for the past ten years.
- Crowdfunding is probably less friendly now to new creators. For large established creators, it won’t be a problem migrating their fanbases over, but how will new creators find an audience? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the advantage of more centralization is more theoretical eyeballs if your project rides the algorithmic waves. I’m interested in seeing how these new emerging platforms support new creators versus courting existing ones.
- People who back crowdfunding don’t like blockchain. Kickstarter announced last year that they would be moving to a blockchain-backed platform. The backlash was huge. It’s safe to say that Kickstarter’s previously solid reputation took a hit from the controversy, which has directly led to some of its largest creators to migrate away from the platform. We actually experienced this ourselves when we planned to mint a collectible Glow NFT, only to receive huge backlash from our fans. It was frankly shocking how many people got angry over the idea of it, and something we’re steering well clear of for the foreseeable future.
- Is crowdfunding recession proof? Crowdfunding actually saw a boom in the 2020 pandemic fueled recession, but many projects (including ours) have since struggled with the ensuing inflation and supply chain issues that have resulted. All indications are that we’re entering if not already in another recession. How does crowdfunding, an idea born in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, fair this time around?
- Are tabletop games in a bubble? We’ve been talking to distributors recently, and the amount of product entering the market every week is frankly astounding. How many board games can the average enthusiast own? Play? Back? It’s a legitimate question as we’ve only seen boom times since board games started blowing up because of Kickstarter. Will those boom times last? I personally own around 12 board games, and I already think that may be too much real estate taken up in my house. How does the bread and butter who support this segment feel?
- Is crowdfunding now just another term for preordering? I see so many projects now from huge companies, it makes me wonder how much these companies view crowdfunding as just another revenue stream / indicator for demand (preorders) rather than an incubator for talent like originally intended. It may be nostalgia talking, but I do hope that there will always be room for discovering new projects, new creators through crowdfunding. Part of me isn’t sure though…
Ad astra, into this strange new decade and beyond!