Crowd Sale Creator FAQ
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.
This article discusses Crowd Sales from the point of view of a creator, publisher, or game designer. Click here if you want to know more about crowd sales from a backer perspective.
Crowd Sales Creator FAQ
We know you have questions, so we'll do our best to answer them in the form of an FAQ.
How do I get started?
First you need to create a game in our system.
Once you have a game that is ready, click on the Crowd Sale tab to begin.
After you click on the "Crowd Sale" tab, you will be taken to a checklist. If any item on the list is not checked off, then you will need to make those changes to your game. If all the items are checked off, then you will be able to move to the next step by clicking on "+Create Crowd Sale."
On the next page, the Basics section, you will name your crowd sale, provide the link to the video you've created to promote your game/sale, and upload the ad image for your sale. The video must be specifically about your game. (Often a short how-to-play video displaying the game is a good idea.) The ad must be sized to the dimensions listed and should include the name of your game and potentially some images from the game. Overall, the idea is to get customers interested in your game.
Then, in the Description section, you'll enter your game description. The field will be auto-filled with the description from your game's Shop page.
Next, in the Game 1 section, you'll set up the pricing for the main game in your sale.
Here, you will set the initial discount for the game. This is the first discount that will be available to the backers of your crowd sale, even when less than 10 copies have sold. For example, if the retail price of your game is $25, and you set the initial discount to $2.00, the first backer of your sale will pay only $23 for the game, even if no other copies are sold during your crowd sale.
You'll also set the designer payout. This is the amount you will receive for each game copy sold during the sale.
Here's how it works: The total amount you're working with is the difference between the retail price of the game and the cost at 100 copies. From that amount will come three things:
- The initial discount
- The designer payout
- All of the tiered discounts based on the number of copies sold
For example, if your game's retail price is $25, and the cost at 100 copies is $15, you'd have a total of $10 to work with. If you set the initial discount to $2 and the designer payout to $2, the remaining $6 would be available for incremental discounts based on the number of copies sold.
As you make changes to the Designer Payout and Initial Discount, the costs will update.
If you wish to include any other games in the sale as bundled games, you can do this through the Game 2 and Game 3 sections. NOTE: Bundled games will be automatically added to the customer's crowd sale cart with a quantity of 1, along with the main game. They can remove the bundled games by setting the quantity to 0.
When you click on the drop-down list under "Game 2" or "Game 3," you'll get a list of all other games that exist under the designer. Click on a game name to add it to your sale
Note that bundled games must follow the same rules as the main game in regards to the logo and being published.
In the Timing section, you will set the dates and times during which your sale will run.
The Start date and End Date are very important. The system will automatically pick a date; however, you can change those dates to set the duration for your crowd sale. You can also set the start and end times, which are in the UTC time zone. Please note that you will not be able to run your sale for longer than a month.
You can check the current sales scheduled to run here: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/crowdsales
After you have filled out all the information for your sale, you will submit the sale for review at the bottom of the page.
You will then be contacted after the application is approved or denied with additional information.
How many crowd sales can I do for my game? If the first one doesn't go well, can I do another one later?
You may only do one crowd sale for your game, so please make sure you've prepared adequately and built a crowd before you run your crowd sale!
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.
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.
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 the initial discount without any bulk purchases. So if one person buys a game during the sale, they get up to $5 off the price of the game. 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. Buyers can choose to purchase the bundled game(s) without the primary game if they wish.
What's an "Add-On"?
Any games you mark as related (in the Edit Details screen) 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. There are no crowd sale discounts for add-ons.
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.
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:
- There must be at least a $3 difference between your game's MSRP and the cost of the game at 100 copies.
- 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.
- Before submitting the application your Designer Account will need to have the contact email address filled out with a valid email address.
- You must submit your crowd sale application more than one day before the desired launch date/time. Note that crowd sale applications are manually approved by staff members, so if you submit your application on a weekend or holiday, it will not be approved right away! We recommend submitting the application at least a week in advance to give yourself time to resolve any issues before the desired launch date/time.
- Your printed game components must all include proper bleed (for more information on bleed please visit https://help.thegamecrafter.com/article/391-bleed and https://help.thegamecrafter.com/article/39-templates)
- 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.