Kickstarter Relaunch Blog – 1: Failure


On Oct. 17th, 2017, Gateway Games launched our Kickstarter campaign for the game “Defend Neo Tokyo”. This was one of the first games we started working on in 2014-15 when the company was created, and had gone through a myriad of changes and refinement since. We felt like the game itself was finally ready for prime time. Our campaign was put together and we launched. Two weeks later, after a weak start where we barely reached 30% of our funding goal and had stalled out to nearly zero growth, we pulled the plug.

Cancelling a Kickstarter campaign is not an easy thing to do, even when you know you are doing the right thing for your game. It was still hard to accept that your game wasn’t the huge breakout success you wanted it to be, especially when you realize that the reason it wasn’t is because it was your overconfidence in your game that led to its failure to fund. We thought the strength of our game was enough to carry us to great success, but didn’t focus on telling you (the backer) what made it so great.

After the campaign was taken down, Gateway Games had a “retrospective” meeting where we talked about the successes and failures of the campaign and what actions do we need to take to address those aspects before we relaunch. Most of what we talked about was things that we already knew. Feedback that we had gotten from backers or from Facebook groups or from our friends. There were some easy ones, like “more review videos” or “a better e-mail campaign at launch”. These kinds of things are easily addressed and would have a pretty good impact on the campaign. There were also the hard ones, like “Make sure you are launching to an audience” and “the value of the game and shipping was not appealing”. Addressing these would take a lot more investigation and analysis, but will probably have a much larger impact on the success of the campaign. Overall, the retrospective gave us a great path forward of what we need to do in order to give Defend Neo Tokyo the breakout Kickstarter campaign we all feel like it deserves.

Since we are tentatively looking at a spring relaunch, around the beginning of March 2018, we have around 4 months to revise the campaign. That seems like a lot of time, but as I’ll point out later in the blog, procrastination is your worst enemy. One of the most important things that needs to be done is prioritizing tasks and making sure you are realistically estimating how much time something is really going to take to be completed. It’s easy to forget about review, revision and refinement time. After we identify what needs to be done, we will add tasks to a production schedule to keep us on task.

The reason I’ll be blogging this process is two-fold (three-fold, really, but we’ll get into that in a later post). First, it will help us stay organized and on task. Second, it will give me a chance to get instant feedback on the changes we are making directly from the community we are making them for. Over the next few blog posts, I’ll be identifying the main points of failure, and what we are planning to do to address them. After that, I’ll make blog updates whenever we have something new to show.

I hope you’ll stay with us through this process and if you want to subscribe to the blog, check out the form on the right to get the blog posts right into your inbox. Also, comment below to tell us what you think about what we’re doing.

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