Today, popular board game publisher Awaken Realms (Nemesis, Tainted Grail) launched their newest crowdfunding campaign. ISS Vanguard is a sci-fi board game that will have players working together to explore new planets and keep their ship running. It has excellent looking miniatures (as expected from an Awaken Realms game) and promises a lot of thematic gameplay.
While a new campaign from Awaken Realms is already notable because their games seem to attract legions of fans and massive dollars from backers, what is interesting is that they didn’t use Kickstarter this time. Instead, they are opting to use Gamefound’s new crowdfunding platform.
For those not in the know, Gamefound is a free pledge manager that’s been around for a while. It allows creators to handle the after-campaign stuff (shipping, addons, etc…) from their Kickstarter after it funds. But recently, Gamefound decided that they wanted to get into the crowdfunding business and compete directly with Kickstarter. And as someone who’s been on the admin side of Kickstarter, I’m happy to see more competition as the interface and options for creating Kickstarter campaigns are severely lacking. So, here’s hoping Gamefound becomes a viable alternative.
Digging around more, it appears that Gamefound is also owned by Awaken Realms (going by who owns the domain name). So, what that means is that Awaken Realms not only has a campaign platform that does everything they want, but they also no longer have to give Kickstarter their % of the revenue. And since Awaken Realms campaigns usually bring in 2-3 million dollars, that’s a sizable chunk of their bottom line they get to now keep. Kickstarter takes 5% of the total, and 3% + $0.20 per pledge for credit card processing. Just going by their last campaign for Nemesis Lockdown, that’s over £413,000 they are saving!
However, something like this can also only work if the company is big enough. The draw of putting your project on Kickstarter is access to the legions of gamers browsing the website. To compete with Kickstarter, you need to be able to pull people from their site to yours, and a much-anticipated launch of ISS Vanguard is probably just the boost Gamefound needs. Not that they were small to begin with, they reported over 250,000 users last June. But if ISS Vanguard is successful, Gamefound will be opening their crowdfunding portion to other creators in the start of 2021. No word on the fees they will be charging. So even though their pledge manager is free, I’m not sure they are going that route for their crowdfunding platform.