Lessons Learned from Lab Partners
So... Lab Partners didn't get funded....
To be honest, after the first week, I felt like things weren't shaping up how we needed them to. Based on my research, we needed to get about 30% funded on day one to have the momentum to get funded by day 30. We ended up getting 25% by the end of the 30 days. Now that the Kickstarter is over, it is important to ask ourselves a few questions:
What Went Wrong?
If I'm honest with myself, we may have rushed the project's launch date. Our game was finished, we had prototype artwork, and we had a few great demos; but we didn't take the time to get a more polished prototype, more demos, any reviews, and more of a following.
Lack of Polish
As one of our backers put it:
Very encouraging words, and a very important lesson as well. Our backers need to see the polished ideas that I have in my head. It's not enough (nor should it be) to say, "It's gonna look real nice... trust me;" backers need to see it.
Lack of Demos
We demoed the game to our friends, family, and showed it to external parties. It faired well, but the number of people reached by this was not nearly enough. We are excited about this game, and we should have showed more people the game so they could join in our excitement.
Lack of Reviews
We were cautioned by a fellow game maker to get reviews prior to launch. I must admit, I was a bit too excited to slow down and listen, but I should have. When I go to buy something online, the first thing I do is check reviews for the product and see if it will serve its purpose well. I shouldn't expect my backers to take a leap of faith that I seldom do.
Lack of Buzz
I think this is very closely related to lack of demos and lack of reviews; but again, we are excited about our game! Not only should we show our excitement to potential backers, but hopefully our excitement would be contagious to all those that see it. This is important for a small, company launching its first title.
Well, it should be no surprise that we want to relaunch. We love our backers, and we want to get this game to them! To that end, those who backed us on our first (failed) Kickstarter will be getting Lab Partners: Print and Play as soon as it becomes available. We may also have another thank you gift in store for you as the relaunch date approaches, so stay tuned.
Our strategy will address the shortcomings I mentioned earlier. Namely:
Polish the Game
Before we relaunch, we will have 100% of the artwork finished and order some proper prototypes that will be identical to our limited print run should we get funded. That way, our backers can see exactly what the game looks like in the new videos we post. As for the videos, I think they could benefit from better quality sound, so I will invest in some audio recording of some sort. Any other ideas on how I can have a more polished game? Tell me in the comments.
Demo the Game
This is probably the biggest thing we can do to help our game out. We will go to cons, game nights, coffee shops, or anywhere our target audience will be and show them the game. Show them how fun it is. Be there, in person. Additionally, I we will schedule a Kickstarter Live to take place during the relaunch. I want people to be able to see the game being played live and ask questions if they have any.
Closely related to demos, get reviews. As I stated earlier, I rarely buy products without reviews, I should grant that same courtesy to my backers. We already have a few potential reviewers lined up, but we want to send them a fully polished game so they can take nice photos for their websites.
Hopefully this will be a natural extension of us demoing the game and getting reviews. We already have some amazing backers who all want us to succeed on the relaunch, and we want to do them proud. By demoing our game, attending some game conferences, and getting some reviews, I believe we can generate the buzz we are looking for.
A Final Thought
We could not have learned any of these lessons without the community and kind encouragement of our backers. The support, excitement, and encouragement we saw in the comments and messages was truly amazing. Thank you all so very much! Lab Partners will relaunch!
Do you have ideas, comments, or suggestions! We would love to hear them in the comments section below.