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Nowadays money is the stuff that dreams are made of - or in the least it plays a great part when it comes to the realization of dreams. This week it’s all about crowd­fun­ding plat­forms, which will hope­fully make the release of Schein pos­si­ble.

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Posted in Marketing & PR | Feb 12, 2013 | by Tiare Feucht­ner

Wit­hout having a publis­her or a spon­sor, it has become quite obvious, that the publis­hing of Schein needs to be fun­ded some other way. We have been con­tem­pla­ting the idea of crowd­fun­ding for quite some time, and have now deci­ded to hop on the band­wa­gon. For those who don’t know: Crowd­fun­ding is a finan­cing model, where many indi­vi­du­als con­tri­bute small mone­tary amounts to make huge — and some­ti­mes expen­sive — dreams come true (a more tech­ni­cal descrip­tion can be found on Wiki­pe­dia). It’s truly ama­zing to see how many awe­some pro­jects have alre­ady been rea­li­zed this way and it seems like such a great oppor­tu­nity — we just have to give it a try!

So I was cal­led into action to make it all hap­pen. Even though the trend is com­pa­ra­bly young, there are alre­ady quite many crowd­fun­ding plat­forms to choose from, and their num­ber seems to increase at an ama­zing rate. My main task for the last couple of weeks – or maybe even months – was to find the plat­form that is right for us. This meant brow­sing dozens of plat­forms, rea­ding end­less poli­cies and terms of ser­vice and set­ting up a couple of tes­ting accounts. The tes­ting accounts were rather des­pe­rate mea­su­res when the platform’s info page, FAQ and poli­cies just wouldn’t pro­vide enough detail about the ser­vices they provide.

The most import­ant issue for us was that our cam­paign should reach the whole world, so the plat­form nee­ded to be inter­na­tio­nal. Secondly, since we are based in Aus­tria and Ger­many, the plat­form nee­ded to allow cam­paigns from the Euro­pean Union. A third fac­tor is of course the incur­ring costs – the fees char­ged can dif­fer quite widely, and taxes take away ano­ther great part of the sum. After com­pa­ring many plat­forms con­side­ring these aspects, I want to share some of the most rele­vant details I discovered.


Kick­star­ter is the most widely known and most popu­lar crowd fun­ding plat­form, and encou­ra­ges fun­ding for all kinds of crea­tive pro­jects. They go by the all-or-nothing prin­ciple, mea­ning that if the fun­ding goal is not reached all fun­ders get their money back and you get not­hing – so not­hing lost, not­hing gai­ned. Crea­ting a cam­paign is free, but they charge a fee of 5% of all funds rai­sed. Pay­ments are made via Ama­zon, which char­ges ano­ther 3–5% for pro­ces­sing fees. The dura­tion of a cam­paign can be anything from 1 to 60 days.
The ama­zing reach of Kick­star­ter is actually rea­son enough to make this the first choice for our cam­paign. Howe­ver there is one very big dra­w­back: This American-based plat­form is prac­tically for Ame­ri­cans only. ..well, not quite. They have just recently opened up to the UK as well. You need to be a US or UK citi­zen with a bank account and resi­dence in the respec­tive coun­try, to create a cam­paign on Kick­star­ter. It really beats me why it’s taking them so long to open up for other coun­tries, but for some rea­son it must really be ter­ri­bly com­pli­ca­ted. Any­way, this unfor­t­u­na­tely rules out Kick­star­ter for Schein (unless we still find a relia­ble US or UK citi­zen who would rep­re­sent our game).

The second plat­form we con­side­red for a while is Start­next from Ger­many. We lear­ned about it at a Sub­o­tron event, where some people from Start­next were invi­ted for a talk about crowd­fun­ding along with a couple of suc­cess­ful Aus­trian game desi­gners (such as Cliff­han­ger and Cyber Arena). They see­med like very like­able people and their plat­form made quite a good impres­sion too.
Start­next is rather new and with a main focus on Ger­man speaking coun­tries, it has sub­stan­ti­ally less reach. Howe­ver, they tempt with the con­cept, that they don’t charge any com­mis­sion fees. So the only costs that apply are the Pay­pal pay­ment fees of 1.9–4%. And the most awe­some part is that if you don’t reach your fun­ding goal and all backers get their money back, you don’t need to pay the pay­ment fees eit­her. They also allow you to con­tri­bute funds to your own pro­ject, or put in funds in someone else’s name. Ima­gine how frus­tra­ting it would be, if your grandma gave you €50.- to sup­port your crazy endea­vor, and you had no way of adding it to your cam­paign, wit­hout her actually having to get a credit card (while in the USA it is abso­lu­tely nor­mal to have two or three credit cards, quite many people in Aus­tria or Ger­many don’t even have one)!
On most plat­forms you create your cam­paign page, get appro­val and start fun­ding. Not so with Start­next. They split the fun­ding pro­cess into 2 pha­ses: the pre­pa­ra­tion phase and the fun­ding phase. The fun­ding phase, which may once again be 1 to 60 days, is the stage where sup­por­ters can finance the pro­ject. But before that, in the pre­pa­ra­tion phase which is fixed to 30 days, you need to collect likes on your cam­paign page and you may only begin with the fun­ding phase, if you have enough likes. This is a great way to find out how popu­lar your pro­ject really is, and increa­ses the chance of reaching your fun­ding goal. Howe­ver only regis­te­red users can like your cam­paign — think of your dear grandma having to regis­ter first. Fur­ther­more this pro­cess requi­res one whole month of addi­tio­nal time, which is nowa­days a scarce and expen­sive resource.

The second most popu­lar crowd­fun­ding plat­form world­wide is Indie­gogo, and by having “Indie” in the name it seems per­fect for an indie game like Schein. This plat­form is also based in the USA, but it is inter­na­tio­nal and allows people from all over the world to create and fund cam­paigns. As with the pre­vious two, the cam­paign dura­tion may be up to 60 days, but unlike the others it offers two dif­fe­rent fun­ding moda­li­ties: Fixed fun­ding is the all-or-nothing prin­ciple as explai­ned above, and Fle­xi­ble fun­ding where you may keep wha­te­ver you get, no mat­ter if the fun­ding goal is actually reached. We think Fixed fun­ding is fai­rer though – wouldn’t it suck to con­tri­bute to a pro­ject which doesn’t get rea­li­zed in the end? You would con­tri­bute and get not­hing in return. With this model Indie­gogo char­ges a 4% fee of all rai­sed funds and once again the pay­ment fees for Pay­pal apply. They also allow making pay­ments in someone else’s name, so grandma’s con­tri­bu­tion can be fully appreciated.

Actually, all we need to do is set up our cam­paign pro­file and we’re ready to go! The final deci­sion of which plat­form will be our batt­le­ground still remains to be made howe­ver. And it needs to be made real soon.
Many of you have alre­ady con­tri­bu­ted to our deve­lop­ment pro­cess with valu­able feed­back, and we are con­fi­dent that toge­ther we can over­come the obst­a­cle of finan­cing as well. So sit tight and publish this game with us!

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