Crowd Sales are The Game Crafter's take on a crowd funding platform. In a nutshell instead of providing stretch goals if your game overfunds, we provide discounts.
In the beginning you either found a publisher or took the super risky route of self-publishing. Then crowd funding came along and mitigated much of the risk of self-publishing, but introduced a whole slew of it's own risks. We felt there had to be a better way, so we created crowd sales.
A crowd sale is a crowd funding campaign, but instead of getting more and more stretch goals of dubious quality that can cause delays, increase shipping costs, and bankrupt the game designer, crowd sales just offer an ever increasing discount. In addition, there is no tipping point of "funded" in a crowd sale. If you buy a game in a crowd sale, you're going to get a copy of it for an automatic discount of around $5.
Episode 3 of The Official Game Crafter Podcast discusses Crowd Sales in great detail if you want to hear it from the horse's mouth so to speak. Episode 16 of The Official Game Crafter Podcast provides an update about all the new features in Crowd Sales.
Crowd Sales FAQ
We know you have questions, so we'll do our best to answer them in the form of an FAQ.
How can you call this crowd funding?
The definition of Crowd Funding is simply "raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet". This certainly fits the bill.
But this isn't anything like Kickstarter at all?
There are hundreds of crowd funding systems on the internet. Kickstarter is just one. They are not all like Kickstarter.
How risky is this for the game designer?
The only risk is if no one buys a copy (which might mean you need to make your game better). Other than that, the game designer isn't out anything.
How risky is this for the game buyer?
The only risk to the game buyer is the same as any game they buy from any store anywhere in the world: they may not like the game. If they buy a game from The Game Crafter, or from our Crowd Sales system, they will get their game; it will be done in a timely manner (a couple of weeks); and our top-notch customer service ensures that if there is anything wrong with their game when they receive it (defective copy, shipping damage, etc) we will make it right.
You said this is less risky than self-publishing?
If you self-publish your game (ie: go to China and get 1500 copies made), you may have 1499 copies sitting in your garage for the next 20 years. If you cannot find a market for your game, then you will be out cash, too. Let's say you can get your game made for $5 per copy in China and you buy 1500 copies. If you can't sell them, then you're sitting on $7,500 worth of merchandise. With crowd sales, you have no up-front cash risk, because we don't make the game until the customer orders the game.
You said this is less risky than Kickstarter?
Kickstarter provides excellent benefits. That said, there are countless stories of people going bankrupt or taking out loans to pay off their Kickstarter projects because they didn't calculate shipping correctly, or the cost of all those stretch rewards was more than they thought it was going to be. In addition, there are countless stories of Kickstarter projects that either never ship or ship drastically late (years) either due to poor planning, or unforeseen logistical problems. None of those things are a concern with The Game Crafter's Crowd Sales.
In addition, running a traditional crowd funding campaign is a ton of work. You'll spend a couple months preparing for it, a month on the edge of your seat during it, and a few months after the campaign fulfilling and answering customer service questions. The Game Crafter takes all the guess work out of running a campaign by creating a simple and straight forward platform that handles everything for you.
Plus, unlike Kickstarter, The Game Crafter will not charge an extra 10% for handling the campaign for you, because we make our money on manufacturing the game.
Is this riskier than finding a Publisher?
Finding a publisher is probably the least risky thing you can do, because it shifts all the risk from you to your publisher. That said, this is even slightly less risky than finding a publisher, because we aren't sitting on your game for a couple of years. It goes on sale, and we do the fulfillment. At no point do you lose control over your Intellectual Property.
So there are no add-ons or stretch goals?
The add-ons and stretch goals in a Kickstarter campaign are often hastily added and not well thought out. These are precisely the sorts of things that cause delays and bankrupt game designers. We'd rather that the buyers just get a high quality game for a great price, so we only offer discounts as stretch goals.
That said, if you do have some add-ons you want to include in the sale, you can do so, but they must all be defined in our system before the sale begins.
I assume that the usual 70/30 split between the designer and The Game Crafter is still in effect?
No. The Game Crafter takes no percentage of the profit during a Crowd Sale. It makes money only from the manufacturing of the game.
How much does the designer make on the sale?
That's up to them. The designer sets how much per copy they want to make. Maybe it's $1, or $2, or $5. It's up to them.
Does the designer lose part of their profit to credit card fees?
No, they get the full amount of the profit they select. Credit card fees are paid by The Game Crafter.
Best Bulk Manufacturing Cost + Designer Profit = Best Sale Price
Retail Price - Best Sale Price = Maximum Discount
The table below shows potential discounts on a particular $20 game. Each game will be different.
How do I know if my game is priced well enough to be part of a crowd sale?
There must be enough meat on the bone to offer a good discount to customers. The minimum discount for a crowd sale needs to be $5. That means the difference between your retail price and the best sale price has to be at least $5.
Best Sale Price + 5 < Retail Price
If you can afford to give a discount during a crowd sale, why not just lower your prices?
We're taking a gamble that enough people will buy the game during the sale that scaling effects will allow us to make money on a bulk run.
That said, we do of course make a profit on the games that we produce. If we didn't we couldn't keep offering new features all the time like we do, and we'd be out of business. So while we could lower our prices, that wouldn't do us or our community any good.
What discounts is TGC bringing to the table?
We're offering a $5 discount without any bulk purchases. So if one person buys a game during the sale, they get $5 off the price of the game. Also, the discount we're offering at 100 copies is actually the discount we normally offer at 250 copies, so there's a better deal on the high end too. Plus, we are taking no commission on the sale price. The designer gets their full profit per copy.
Will the designer receive any extra benefits other than the profit they make from the sale?
How does the designer get paid?
Through the normal TGC payout system, just as if they sold a copy of the game on our site naturally.
How does the bundle option work?
Bundling allows you to include one primary game and up to two bundled games in your crowd sale. Each game will have its own pricing and discount tables, as shown below.
What's an "Add-On"?
Any games you mark as related to the primary game in the sale will be listed as add-ons when the buyer goes to check out. In this way, you can up-sell other products. All add-on games need to have passed a sanity test.
Can I provide updates on my sale?
You can post updates to your sale page for everyone to read like a mini blog just for your sale. You can use this feature during and after your sale. In addition, buyers will get email notification of each of your updates.
If I buy a copy of the game during the sale, can I back out at any time?
Yes, just like with Kickstarter you may cancel at any time before the sale ends. If you cancel, your card will not be charged and no record of this will appear on your statement.
When is my card charged?
At the end of the sale.
If I buy the game early in the sale and a higher discount is achieved, how much do I pay?
You get the best price achieved during the sale.
How long after the sale do I get my game?
Typically 2-4 weeks.
Will the crowd sale version of the game be any different from the retail version of the game like sometimes happens on a Kickstarter?
Typically no. However, if the game comes in a tuck box, and the crowd sale sells at least 200 copies, then the tuck box will be upgraded.
How long does a sale last?
Typically 7 days.
Can I be notified when a sale starts?
Yes, just go to the sale page and hit the "Remind Me" button and we'll send you an email when the sale starts.
Are there social media links so I can promote my purchase?
Yes, at the end of the buy page where you put in your credit card information you'll be prompted to share your purchase on all your social media channels.
Can I add other items to my purchase?
Absolutely. Simply use the "Attach My Cart" button on the crowd sale checkout page to attach an arbitrary list of items to your order.
How do you determine which games get a crowd sale?
A designer will go into the game editor and click on the "Crowd Sale" button in their game. There they can start the process of creating a crowd sale. However, they must still pass an approval process by The Game Crafter. Our staff will be looking to make sure that the game looks good, and has completed all its prerequisites.
Your game must meet these criteria in order to have a crowd sale:
- A Sanity Test must have been completed for the game, and the game must receive a passing score of 70 or higher.
- The difference between your retail price and the best sale price has to be at least $5.
- Your game logo must be a transparent logo that contains the name of your game only (for more information, please visit http://help.thegamecrafter.com/article/37-shop-images)
- You must attach a video for your campaign, and it must be specifically about your game.
- The game must be family-friendly. For example, it cannot contain the following:
- Exposed male or female nipples or genitalia
- Sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, masturbation, or prostitution
- Exposed blood, organs, or tissues from injuries or wound
- The words (or words constructed from) f**k, s**t, c**k, c**t, or n****r.
- Drinking, smoking, sniffing, injecting or otherwise introducing chemicals to the body for the purposes of being intoxicated
Do I still need to promote my game during a crowd sale like I would on a Kickstarter?
Yes. It is a crowd funding platform, so you need to bring the crowd.
Will The Game Crafter help promote the crowd sale?
Yes. It will be promoted on the front page of our site, on our blog, and on our social media channels. In addition, we give you a free week of both showcase and featured status for your game and put an "On Sale!" sticker on all your ads on our site.
We also, send an email to every customer who has added your game to their cart or wishlist before the sale began letting them know the game is now on sale. This may help push them over the edge to make the purchase.
Being on a site like Kickstarter gives me lots more publicity, why would I use Crowd Sales?
Kickstarter certainly has more eyeballs than The Game Crafter, however, that doesn't mean those eyeballs are looking at your game. You have to bring the initial crowd to Kickstarter and then once you get a significant number of backers, those extra eyeballs can magnify the effect of your initial crowd.
That said, we completely understand that Crowd Sales may not be for everyone. Kickstarter is an excellent platform, and we'll continue to use it ourselves in addition to Crowd Sales. We built Crowd Sales for those people who are looking for another channel. Some may have already done a crowd funding campaign through Kickstarter and then want to do a Crowd Sale to bolster their sales later. Some may not want the hassle or risk of running a Kickstarter campaign themselves. Crowd Sales are an excellent option for those use cases.
Are buyers encouraged to promote the sale?
Yes. They get a bigger discount if more people buy, so they are incentivized to do so. In addition there are social media links on the sale page, and they are prompted to share their purchase when they check out.