Satellite Reign Sneaks Past Kickstarter Goal

By John Walker on July 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

After much gnashing of teeth and tearing of our sackcloth, the Kickstarter we all wanted but no one was funding has made it. Satellite Reign has reached its £350,000 funding. In fact, with three days still to go, it’s over the target by another £20k already. So there is to be a new cyberpunk game from the creator of Syndicate Wars. How was that ever a close thing? They celebrate with fireworks.

See, fireworks:

Of course, while we lamented the lack of funds pouring in, it was for a good reason. 5 Live Studios horrendously screwed up their reward tiers, and frankly they’re lucky to be funded at all. Starting game-purchasing pledges at £13, and then limiting it to only 1,000 people, was ridiculous. Making the regular price of the game £16/$25 just ensured that they were going to struggle. Firstly, it’s infuriating to someone just learning of the Kickstarter for the first time to discover that they have to pay more because… because of what? So that puts people off. Secondly, $25 as an entry price is really pushing its luck for a game that’s still ideas on paper. The daft thing is, if they’d put the entry tier at $15 and made it 5 or 10,000, and then the regular price at $20, they’d have been funded long ago, and right now be counting off the stretch goals. Hopefully others will learn from this – lower prices means bigger sales, more money, more profit, and that’s never more true than with Kickstarter of strong potential.

Any how, they made it to their goal, so that’s splendid news. Here’s a look at the engine as it is:

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90 Comments »

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  1. WarOnGamesIndustry says:

    The only reason I kicked in was the fact that I still play syndicate and syndicate wars ever few years. If I wan’t a die hard fan I never would of supported the game for price they wanted.

    • Guvornator says:

      I backed it for the same reason (and upped my pledge when things were looking a bit tight, meaning I’ve currently spent more on an imaginary game than I’d ever dream of spending on one that’s out now. is this a regular kickstarter thing?). What’ll be interesting is seeing how like Syndicate it actually is – While thematically it’s very similar, the gameplay descriptions seem to indicate maybe not so much…

      It seems more like a real-time (new) XCOM in a cyber punk setting, which I personally am fine with. However, if I’d pledged a shitload of money hoping for some good, old fashioned, trench coat & minigun fun, I might view the repeated use of Syndicate’s name in the promotional materials a little disingenuous.

      • Noise says:

        The theme is main pull of Syndicate in my opinion, the gameplay is ok

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        Considering the entire point of Kickstarter is donations to help see a project that would otherwise never see the light of day, be made, with actual gifts a happy addition. I’d say, say, that’s a kickstarter “thing”. I’m pretty poor and I’ve funded a ton of games. Ones I care about usually getting a limited edition level donation, so I don’t know how everyone else is having problems. I guys playing the lottery and going to the strip club outweigh seeing games that the mainstream publishers refuse to consider, getting made.

        • Guvornator says:

          Why do I get the feeling I’m getting a telling off here?

        • The Random One says:

          Pegasus, I agree with you. However, a low cost to get the game is, to me, the difference between “I’ll pay the whole $15 to play the game when it comes out” and “I’ll pay two or three dollars just to help a little and get updates and buy the game way later on, maybe when it’s on sale”.

        • Apocalypse says:

          I don´t think anyone had doubts about the game getting founded in the first place. And if you know that it will be successful its really just a risky pre-order. Regular backers are used to get a cheap copy of their game and $20 seem to be really the sweet spot if you are not Chris Roberts.

          Anything more and people seem to rather wait for the reviews before buying it. The kickstarter deals have to give you someone that you don´t get without founding the game, and if the game will be founded anyway than people want some goodies. The irony of this is that games that do so bad that it seems unlikely that that will be founded have problems to get the right drive either. So basically there is no good scenario for high entry prices for a successful kickstarter, you want those very early backers and you want a lot of them to go than for stretch goals and such with the higher prices and more extra goodies.

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        Harlander says:

        I’m not sure that “real-time nuXCOM” isn’t actually quite a good description for how Syndicate felt.

        That said, the more I think about that description, the less able I am to actually imagine how it’d work, so take that with a pinch of something.

        • Guvornator says:

          I mean the forthcoming one. The old one feels (nowadays) like herding entertainingly genocidal cats carrying miniguns. Which is good fun, obviously…

  2. lordcooper says:

    Isn’t it pretty common for campaigns to offer a limited amount of copies at a lower price? I think the intention is to rush people into backing at the start, hopefully making the project look more legitimate to future maybe-backers.

    • AngoraFish says:

      It’s a dumb idea though, and a stupid example of kickstarter group-think, because for everyone coming a couple of days late to the party it looks like they’ve missed the big sale, and the shop hasn’t even bothered to remove the sale price stickers from the stock.

      Ultimately everyone pledging to a kickstarter campaign should be treated the same as an early adopter, given that the difference between paying for the game 18 months in advance and 17 months and 28 days in advance is pretty marginal.

      Turning off early adopters by rubbing their faces in the fact that they missed the cheaper price by a couple of days doesn’t seem like a particularly good strategy for building goodwill amongst backers, yet backer enthusiasm is ultimately the only reliable way to get the word out about your brilliant new game idea.

      • lordcooper says:

        Oh, I didn’t mean that I agreed with the practice. I was just a little surprised that John seemed to be treating it as something new/rare.

        • JimboDeany says:

          I think he was trying to focus more on the fact that the second tier price was very high. I very rarely pay above a tenner for games these days so asking me to do it for one that may end up as a game that I don’t want seems a bit silly.

          I do however think that having an “Early adopter” tier which is cheaper makes sense but it needs to be a much bigger chunk of the Kickstarter total.

      • kwyjibo says:

        No, limited early bird backer rewards are there to get backers in early. It’s not just the money you’re after – it’s the audience (read: viral marketing). You need evangelists from the outset, lowering the price gets you that.

        1000 limited slots is probably too few. People risking their money on games that may never actually make it really don’t give a fuck about £3 though. It’s not like you’re targeting the cheap ass F2P market (which some Kickstarters actually do).

        Satellite Reign would have had more funding had they opened a US bank account. Dollar Kickstarter means that pledges can be made through a simple Amazon Payments login, and everyone has an Amazon account. Whereas Sterling Kickstarter means that everyone has to fish out a credit card and provide their details to Kickstarter.

        http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MikeDiskett/20130722/196705/support.satellitereign.com

      • DeFrank says:

        Yup. It’s exactly the reason I didn’t pledge.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I see the purpose of having an evangelizing crowd, but it’s still bad practice (especially with such a small group). It’s effectively raising the price for people on the fence, which means that you’re getting less money from people who are unsure about the game, and less money from people who would definitely back. I doubt the “I gotta get this before the price goes up” or evangelizing factor is powerful enough to make up for the losses.

  3. Bakuraptor says:

    Just a note, but it’s been funded to the tune of £370k, not $370k. It’s more like $600k, I suppose. But great to see it getting the funds!

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    Lars Westergren says:

    In other news, MotorGun (from the Interstate ’76 guys and David Jaffe of Twisted Metal) was cancelled this morning. THEIR mistake I think was to initially pitch it as an online multiplayer game, with a single player compaign as a remote stretch goal.

    After a weak first couple of days they added “After listening to our backers and our community’s overwhelming response we are adding a short single-player (i76 style) campaign to the game.”, but it was too late.

    Same mistake as The Big Blue people did, dropping words like MMO and F2P in there, they got $10000 out of a million before cancelling. Most pledgers are people with disposable income, i.e. older gamers, you want to capture their interest if you are doing a Kickstarter campaign, not aim for what the market is already saturated with.

    • Branthog says:

      MMOs are damn hard to pitch for crowd-funding.

      Successful (and even unsuccessful) MMOs cost so ridiculously much to produce. It is incredibly unrealistic to fund them via crowd-funding. When they’re running $50m to $300m to create a big MMO, even if you set world-record crowd-funding raising amounts of money, it would be nowhere near enough to make an MMO.

      So, when you encounter a project wanting to be the next successful MMO, you just think “huh.. I’d be throwing my money at a dream that will ultimately fail miserably, simply by probability”.

      Strapping “free to play” onto them only makes it worse. Not only am I backing a super long-shot, but now I’m backing something that I could just play for free, down the line. I usually say this is myopic thinking, because if you don’t pitch into games you want to see that need crowd-funding, you might never see them and won’t have a chance to jump in after it is done, if it never exists . . . However, it’s a reasonable stance when it is something as unlikely as an MMO. Even more, when it is for things in an F2P game that give you nebulous rewards. “Back at this level and get 400 store points and 600 loyalty points when the game launches!’. Great . . uh . . . what the fuck do those get me?

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        In other news, Shroud of the Avatar is looking pretty neat, and I hear Shadowrun Online is getting near the finish line ;)

        • Emeraude says:

          Compare the Shadowrun Online and Shadowrun Returns KSs, and it does seem to hint at MMOs having a harder time gathering funds.

          Would need more conclusive proof obviously.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Shadowrun Online had a huge freaking advantage over other kickstarters. They had at least one email sent to everyone who was interested in the universe and willing to use kickstarter. That’s ridiculously targeted marketing.

            I suspect that one of the draws of kickstarter is a sense of ownership in the project, and an MMO flies in the face of that.

    • Sian says:

      That’s exactly the reason why I didn’t put any money towards MotorGun. I don’t want a multiplayer-focused game with a small single-player campaign, I want a real single-player campaign and then maybe multiplayer. I didn’t even know there was a stage where single-player was a stretch goal, though.

    • kwyjibo says:

      The problem with Motorgun is that it’s a car shooter.

      Do you remember Ravaged? It was a successful car-shooter Kickstarter. It got released, and no one bought it outside of its 1000 backers.

      Auto Assault died after only 1 year.

      No one cared about the car-shooty bits of Rage.

      No one cares about David Jaffe’s Twisted Metal series.

      No one wants a car shooter.

      • Guvornator says:

        I have fond memories Of Death Track (the original, not the remake). The thing is, shooting stuff in a car isn’t much fun – there’s not enough maneuverability, so either you have to rely on automatic targeting, taking away player interaction, or have them swerving all over the shop in a desperate bid to hit a stationary target.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Road Redemption secured its funding and looks pretty interesting.

  5. ran93r says:

    The early bird backers is certainly a “thing” at the moment, I’m not sure it’s as responsible for the close call as you make out though. I jumped in on day one and went for one of the higher tiers, I suspect a lot of people who really wanted to see this get made did the same thing. I’m guessing there is either a lack of interest overall or that the mused changes to the Syndicate format made people stop and think.

    Good luck to them and I hope I don’t get hit by a bus in the next 17 months.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Per my comment above, I hate the limited price tier thing, but I agree. Running a quick calculator over the pledge levels for most kickstarters makes clear that well over 75% of all funds raised are coming from the higher tier backers, even where 75%+ of all backers numerically are pledging only for the lowest tiers.

      If one wants to blame something for the slowness of this one getting over the line, my money would be on some combination of the pound symbol on the pledge tiers and the fact that Syndicate Wars isn’t as widely well regarded as its predecessor.

    • laiwm says:

      It’s true that they’re making most of their money from the higher tiers, but the point is that the inclusion of a lower tier could have seen them carried over the finish line earlier on a deluge of smaller pledges. Just had a quick look at the Sir kickstarter & the lowest £10 tier was responsible for about 40% of their total pledge moneys, and that didn’t get anywhere near as much buzz as this did (that I saw).

    • InternetBatman says:

      I hope it succeeds, but I think the bigger issue is they’re asking for a lot of money with no recognizable name to ameliorate risk.

  6. Bull0 says:

    Yep, the biggest reason I haven’t funded this is the “early bird” business. It’s a kick in the nuts. Plus, while I don’t want to get in to “is kickstarter fatigue a real thing”, personally, I’ve funded enough for now and am going to wait until I’ve got a few in and played before I back any more. I don’t think this makes me a bad person.

  7. Cryptoshrimp says:

    *moans about creditcards, paypal and amazon for a bit*
    Glad it got funded though, excited to see what this’ll turn out to be.

    • Guvornator says:

      It should be pointed out that they are setting up a paypal account for donations, so they should get through a few of those stretch goals.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Hope so, I’m hoping for the destructible environments stretch goal.

        I can see how making the city-simulation deal with a whole building being destroyed could be a lot of work…

        • Guvornator says:

          There’s a reasonable chance it’ll reach that on Kickstarter. They’ve been going great guns recently and it doesn’t appear to have slowed after reaching the goal. A lot of people are,like you, pushing for the destructible environment.

      • Tuhalu says:

        It should also be pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Kickstarters add PayPal after they are funded. Nobody wants to be stuck sending money back if the project fails. Kickstarter isn’t IndieGoGo.

        • Cryptoshrimp says:

          Which is exactly why I think Amazon and PayPal should work together. It’ll take the burden off the devs and allow more money to be raised.

  8. ix says:

    I found a lot of their communication kind of grating, but I don’t know exactly why. Maybe it’s the “oh we’re these guys doing this fun thing together” while the whole setup of their kickstarter basically says “we’re in it for the money”. I may just be a little jaded with the whole kickstarter model though. I really don’t think game designers should be spending energy on getting limited edition art books and novellas made when there’s a game to finish. And the stretch goals I found somewhat uninspiring (localisation? really? do any of your backers actually want that?).

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    CelticPixel says:

    Hooray for videogames!

  10. Zorn says:

    I’m looking forward to this even more than to Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun returns. As much as I loved Wasteland 1 and the original Fallouts, there’s just something special to me about Syndicate.

  11. wiper says:

    John, you’ve nailed it on the head. It’s clearly the $20 (early bird)/$25 (normal) price point which is to blame. Obviously, this is the difference between Satellite reign passing its goal in its final week, while Warmachine: Tactics flew past its in a week, all thanks to Warmachine: Tactics having a, er, $20 (no manual)/$25 (digital manual) price point.

    Um.

    Alternatively, they made the crucial error of making a Kickstarter in pounds, and scaring away a good portion of prospective American customers, combined with the fact that they a) couldn’t use the Syndicate name and b) even if they could, the name itself isn’t as wide-reaching as we might hope, with the games being brilliant and influential, but never all that hot at the marketplace. Meanwhile, the relative lack of add-ons or higher tiers also limited the amount the more impulsive/well-off backers put in.

    It would have been nice to see the game explode past its goal, but blaming its failure to do so squarely on its basic price point is a little short-sighted, I feel.

    • Chalk says:

      Totally agree, most £ Kickstarters seem to suffer from the same problem. Both Elite and Godus were slow slogs, and they both were the types of games that I would have expected to get huge amounts of money…

      Warmachine is proving that people are still happy to fund KS games!!

      • gschmidl says:

        Yeah, the big problem with non-$ Kickstarters is that you actually have to enter your credit card details instead of comfortably using Amazon Payments, and as web designers know all too well, each additional click/effort you have to go through reduces the number of people who’ll continue; the more steps the more drastically.

        • suibhne says:

          Er, what? No. That didn’t happen for me, anyway, so it’s not universal.

          All that said, I agree that running a videogame KS in GBP is a boneheaded move that puts a barrier in the way of your primary audience. What I don’t get is why KS doesn’t do a better job of user-based localization, tho. This shouldn’t have to be rocket science.

          Anyway, I pledged early enough to get that tier, and I’m not sure I would’ve pledged otherwise. I think the low-end price tiers were just one tick too high, at least relative to most of the other KS products I’ve backed.

          Despite my lukewarm support for the campaign, I’m frustrated with the money they might have left on the table because I was really rooting for the “Environmental Destructibility” stretch goal. Every tactics game should tick that box, but that goal looks far out of reach.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            So why is it europeans have no issue paying for things in dollars?

            In any case I think the currency is dependent on the region, so I don’t think the developers “chose” to use GBP.

          • wiper says:

            Ninja Foodstuff: It’s not based on where you’re, er, based, but where you have a bank account (hence the fair number of British Kickstarters set up in dollars). The chap behind Satellite Reign has even bemoaned the fact that he didn’t go through the extra hoops to set up a US bank account, as that would have allowed him to run the Kickstarter in dollars rather than pounds.

          • dE says:

            Cultural. For the longest time europe, well not just europe, dealt with different currencies on a daily basis. So naturally, systems evolved to cope with that. It became part of the mentality and that hasn’t yet changed with the introduction of the euro either.
            The USA on the other hand never had to adapt. Transactions are done in $. Oil prices are based on dollar per barrel. It’s dollar all around. The USA is used to everyone doing stuff their way or based on what they say. They do have systems to cope with different currencies, but they’re not as standard and every-day fare as they might be for an european.

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            wengart says:

            In America I can travel over 3,000 miles and still be paying for things using the dollar. If it wasn’t for buying things online I would never need to use anything, but the dollar. It is annoying to deal with, plus many banks will charge a fee, and freak out (the card must have been stolen!) if you pay for things in another currency.

            Really I don’t think that was the issue here. The game tier was just really high for not having anything to show. I;m not going to put down $25 on a concept.

          • wiper says:

            Wengart: Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly the same for us, albeit the other way around: any US$ based Kickstarters are a pain because our banks charge fees for the transfer, and (initially) are wary of any such purchases. Oh, and then there’s the fun of having to make up a US billing address for Amazon payments in US currencies when you only have a debit card.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Having Kickstarters in dollars isn’t an American versus European (really just British since you can’t use Euros). The USA has a lot more people than Britain, larger market means more sales. That’s all it is. If you had a game that appealed to Chinese players, the Yuan would probably be a smarter choice than the dollar.

      • Tarn says:

        I recently ran a Kickstarter in UK£ and it more than doubled its goal, from £25k to £58k. The vast, vast majority of its audience is US-based. Just one example, of course, but it did make me wonder whether some of the moaning about the UK£ issues are actually from people who simply had trouble with their campaigns and needed something to blame. Not in all cases, obviously.

        From everything I’d read I *expected* the pound thing to be a problem, but in the end it wasn’t at all – which surprised me as much as anybody else.

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        Hypocee says:

        Well, ‘people’. Tabletop minis players, i.e. money fountains. Not sure it counts.

        (says the guy who backed Relic Knights for a silly amount)

    • Bull0 says:

      Is Warmachine Tactics a good example, though? Bearing in mind that’s an audience that are used to spending hundreds of their dollars/pounds on models, rulebooks, etc, $20 for a Warmachine game will seem like pocket change to some of them.

    • Tuhalu says:

      I’m going to agree that the price point argument is wrong and back it up with some number from the biggest hitters so far (all the ones I can remember that went over $1M, I may have missed some).

      Double Fine Adventure, Shadowrun Returns and Wasteland 2 all put in at $15 for the base game and got an average of 17% of their funding from it. Project Eternity went for $20 early bird and $25 for everyone else and made 25% of their funding from it. Torment – Tides of Numenara had price points all over, but $20 early bird, $25 base game, $28 with more stuff early bird and $45 packed with Wasteland 2 for 32.3% of their total funding. Star Citizen, counting only the Kickstarter, did $30 early * 10,000, $35 sorta early * 5000, $37 not really early * 4966, $40 base game * 2010 for a whopping 35% of their Kickstarter funding. Massive Chalice went $20 base game * 20,286 for 33% of the total funding.

      Satellite Reign went for £13($20) early * 1000 + £16($25) * 5816 for 28.3% of total funding so far (the numbers have no doubt changed a touch in the time it took to type all this).

      Looking at those numbers, the earliest big budget games hovered around $15 a head at the low end, but the newer games have been averaging $20 early-bird, $25 unlimited at the low end. None of those games were hurt by that increased price point. With the percentage of total funding coming from the lowest tiers increasing in the later games, it’s fairly clear that this price point got them more money, not less.

      And of those big hitters, wasn’t it only Star Citizen that had any in-engine stuff to show off from Day 1 of the Kickstarter? It’s a bit weird of John to essentially be arguing that having more to show than some of the above “big hits” of Kickstarter is somehow not good enough to get the crowd-funding effect going.

      • Deano2099 says:

        That percentage data is pointless as the higher tiers are not consistent across projects. A game with really appealing higher tiers is going to make less of its money from the base tiers and vice-versa, regardless of price of those base tiers.

  12. Azhrarn says:

    it being a KS in pounds (and all that entails), rather than dollars didn’t help either, but either way, very glad to see it getting funded though. :) Looking forward to getting my copy in the mail once it’s done.

  13. BTAxis says:

    For some reason I can’t shake the feeling that this project isn’t going to live up to people’s expectations. Of late there have been several stories about kickstarter projects that ran out of money, and it seems to me this might be another one of them. They’re basically still at the drawing board stage, so there’s a big margin of error when it comes to predicting development cost.

  14. Guvornator says:

    Mike Diskett wrote about why he thought it was a close run thing here http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MikeDiskett/20130722/196705/A_Letter_from_the_trenches_of_a_Kickstarter.php . What’s interesting is he doesn’t mention any of the things John does, although that’s possibly because at that stage it was looking a bit iffy and they didn’t want anything like bad PR.

    • kwyjibo says:

      The project has never looked remotely “iffy”.

      http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/5livesstudios/satellite-reign/#chart-daily

      Whereas the extra barriers from using Sterling are clear and can be quantified. Pricing is clearly not. Why not make it $10, or $5, or pay-what-you-want.

      I do think that limiting the £13 tier to only 1000 was a mistake, when you compare it to the breakouts of Project Eternity and Torment. But they priced it at $20 and $25 too. They had fewer backers, and yet pulled in more money than Double Fine.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Why KS for all their greatness don’t take Paypal , or amazon or google wallet from the UK is beyond me

      Held payments, basically—PayPal don’t support “verify the ability to pay, but only maybe actually take payment later”. Oddly the explanation seems to have gone from the Kickstarter FAQ. Baffling.

  15. Ansob says:

    Yeah, I very much doubt that the game being at $25 (which, you know, if the game is going to be $30 RRP should be what it’s priced on KS) is why it so very nearly didn’t make it. The real issue here is that they used the UK KS platform, which requires CC details, doesn’t take Amazon payments or anything like that, and is in a foreign currency for Americans.

    If they’d used the US platform they probably would have fared a lot better. As it is, it’s disappointing we won’t get the good stretch goals (new factions and co-op). It’s especially daft that they use a UK KS since AUD and USD are essentially at parity right now.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Surely if the game is going to be priced $30 RRP, setting the KS minimum funding level at $15 or even $20 is actually a huge incentive to fund rather than just wait and buy on release. And if you NEED the money to make the game that’s well worth doing.

      If, on the other hand, you can already afford to publish through traditional channels and are just doing Kickstarter for the publicity and potentially extra cash, offering the game at 50-70% of the retail price is commercial suicide. You could just make it with your own money and earn nearly twice as much.

      The choice of price point tells you a huge amount about the true motivation of a KS to be honest.

  16. Commander Gun says:

    The UK site combined with the early bird special put me off for this one.
    The early bird might not be that bad, if you reward those guys with a vanity item or something like it. Now though, it seems like you actually ‘punish’ the people who join the party a bit late.

  17. Infinitron says:

    The purpose of “early bird” tiers is to give the illusion that the minimum tier for getting the game is lower than it actually is. “See, it costs just $20, not $25! Oh, the tier has run out? Well that’s your fault for being late.”

    In other words, it’s like how everything has a x.99 cost. Psychology.

    • Branthog says:

      Actually, it’s more about getting the words out and making a project look more popular. You want to build early momentum — not have a ton of people just waiting until the end before bothering to pitch in. If you have a limited tier for a few bucks less, you can get that rush of people that might be interested enough to pull the trigger. A project that looks like it has some momentum is more likely to both get more coverage from outlets *and* get more people to say “huh, this seems popular . . . I think I’ll actually back it, too”.

  18. Jimbo says:

    I think the two biggest problems were 1) not being on US Kickstarter, and 2) whenever they talked about their spiritual successor to Syndicate it left me wondering if they’d even played Syndicate.

    I didn’t back it because the pitch smelled like Syndicate Invisible Wars to me.

  19. greywolf00 says:

    As I’ve said before, I’ve noticed games that raise money in pound instead of $ seem to struggle in comparison.

    “The daft thing is, if they’d put the entry tier at $15 and made it 5 or 10,000, and then the regular price at $20, they’d have been funded long ago, and right now be counting off the stretch goals.”

    This is a prime example of why a business degree is the most overhyped and overvalued degree on the market today. A vast majority of business is common sense. A business degree teaches people to read earning/loss reports and make decisions based on black and white numbers while doing nothing to address the fact that those numbers are influenced by gray information.

    Sure, you have to sell 20 copies at $5 as opposed to 10 at $10, but chances are you’ll move more than that, thus making it more profitable. IE 25 people are willing to buy it at $5, that’s $125 compared to the 10 @ $10 = $100. People are just too afraid to risk having to move increased quantities of the product instead of maximizing profit on each unit sold. Don’t get me wrong, you always want to strive to find the optimal point of units sold to profit per unit, but I think too many places over price their product to compensate for people that won’t buy instead of pricing the product to appeal to a wider market. Marvel Heroes ran into a similar problem. A lot of us were telling them during the Beta their prices weren’t going to move large amounts. Lo and behold, they recently revised their entire pricing model. If you have a quality product, you can move it in bulk and be fine.

    • Branthog says:

      I back a ton of things. I’ve backed about 600 crowd-funded projects, in fact. There are, unfortunately, a number that I don’t back because the level I would want to back at (where I get the title I am backing) are sometimes ridiculously out-of-whack when they’re from the UK.

      One example I had is that off-road-truck simulator thing from a few weeks ago. It looked clever and the graphics and gameplay were compelling. Unfortunately, the price in USD came out to be nearly $40. I’m not paying $40 for a game that would (for me) just be a “hey, that looks neat and I’d like to support that and give it a shot” and is from a company I’ve never heard of. If it had been $15 USD (probably the most common get-the-game-support-level even for the biggest projects with big names behind them and well-known franchises and studios), it would have been a no-brainer, for me.

      I think they met their goal, in the end. . . but just barely. If they had a more reasonable price-point, they probably would have blown way past it.

      It is also important for people to remember that they are not setting the “price we want to sell this game at” in their projects. You are trying to enticing early supporters into FUNDING YOUR PROJECT. Whatever it takes. Instead, you see a lot of projects that have this attitude of “if you’re not willing to pay full price for this game up front, then screw you!”. The result is, they don’t get their project funding – period.

    • suibhne says:

      Maybe the degree programs you’ve seen – in which case they should be roundly avoided. But as the recent recipient of a US business degree, I’d like to point out that most of my program was based around dealing with “gray information”, including exactly the sort of pricing problems you outline as anathema to business programs. A lot of the training should prepare graduates to engage with the uncertainty of low-information environments; indeed, if MBA programs failed to do this, I’d agree with you that they offered little value.

      I’m also not sure why business degree programs are even relevant here. Did one of the developers talk about their KS tier logic emerging from their MBA training?

      (Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to defend all MBA degrees, and I certainly wouldn’t bother defending all MBA students. But categorically blaming all MBA programs for ignoring exactly the kind of stuff they typically cover, to one degree or another, strikes me as a bit off-point.)

    • tnzk says:

      I dunno greywolf, you’re a prime example of why a business degree should be considered by just about everyone.

      The examples you’ve given are so binary they’re absurd. Furthermore, there are many factors that go into the amount you are charging for a product. While there are unique issues when it comes to digital goods and digital distribution in this area, Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software gave a pretty simple explanation of why he charges relatively high for his games through certain channels. Jeff has allegedly remained profitable since his early years, whereas big publishers selling their massive games have been barely making ends meet, some even notoriously collapsing.

      The Satellite Reign campaign has not been perfect at all. It’s obviously rough, and they’re damned lucky to have got it funded. But laying the blame almost solely on a $25 reservation for a copy of the game wouldn’t be right.

  20. Iskariot says:

    I really hope this will a true and worthy successor to my favorite tactical cyberpunk game.

  21. mtomto says:

    The idea looks good, but the prices are ridiculous.

    20$ for game
    55$ for Beta + game
    90$ for Alpha + Beta + game

    I would pay 20$ if they threw in Beta access, but 55$ lol… not going to happen. That’s AAA prices, and the game doesn’t look like a AAA game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vesuvius says:

      This, this was my experience too.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Thinking on it, it is as if they were too confident that trying to revive Syndicate (and the people on it) would be enough to pull in pledges. It seems a bit arrogant, even. I think if they’d lowered the prices a bit and tried to entice potential backers a bit more they’d have gotten more pledges. A few times I’ve upped my pledge on a project on which I might not have backed at all at a higher initial price point.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      That’s basically the same tiers as Planetary Annihilation, who garnered 2.2M dollars.

  22. Emeraude says:

    Wish I could back that – especially in light of being relatively satisfied with my Shadowrun Returns donation, but some problem made it so I had to spend most of my yearly income in one month. Thankfully, insurance will reimburse me a chunk of that, but up till then I’m left with no liquidities.

    Anyway, glad the project made it, just saddened we’re probably not going to reach some of those stretch goals.

  23. Blue_Lemming says:

    I do enough testing during the day, and tbh i’d be happy with paying 16 quid in advance, so far this model of buying games works for me. Plus i have a soft spot for Syndicate (its just behind my ear).

    Its a little bit naff that i don’t get beta/alpha which worked so well for Don’t Starve and seems to be working for Arma 3. Then again a legion of free testers(varying in quality) is possibly something they didn’t want (have you seen the Arma 3 bug tracker?!)

  24. Deano2099 says:

    I’m not convinced the whole pricing/currency thing wasn’t a red herring on their part, as to why it wasn’t close to being funded. For me there are two questions when it comes to choosing whether to back a KS or not: 1) does the game look interesting? and 2) can the people involved deliver it?

    The reason old big name developers returning to old genres do well on KS isn’t because of nostalgia, it’s because we know these people can deliver games, because they have done in the past. Here’s what the Satellite Reign pitch says about the people involved:

    “Our core team consists of five dedicated industry professionals with many years of experience. Not only are we all industry veterans, but we also have a long history of working together, allowing us to make games like a well-oiled machine. Some of us have worked together for nearly a decade! Collectively, we have worked on a wide range of genres and notable titles including the Syndicate series, GTA IV, Darksiders II, Star Wars, L.A. Noire, and many more.”

    That tells me close to bugger-all. They worked on some big games sure, but doing what? QA for all I know.

    The game itself looks great, but there’s no pedigree there, there’s nothing in the people involved that tells me they can make this game. Now maybe if I dig and research I’ll find out that actually they probably can, but that’s more effort than I should need to make.

    There’s no point having a great game if no-one has heard of you, the people making it. You have to sell yourselves as much as the game, because people are not dumb.

    • Premium User Badge

      wengart says:

      I think it was very likely the price of the game. $25 is a lot to ask for when your game is still in the concept stage. I would have jumped at $10 or maybe even $15, but $25 just a week ago would have almost bought me Bioshock Infinite. A well reviewed, complete game.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Well I guess they feed into each other. $10 for something interesting from an unproven team is probably worth the risk. On the other had, I’d happily back $25 with Tim Schaefer or Jane Jenson as their companies have actually put out games before, and have the infrastructure in place, and know for sure how much stuff will cost – so I feel comfortable I’ll actually get the game, and given the history of the developers, that it’ll be at least a decent game. There’s far less ‘risk’ involved in that.

      • tnzk says:

        I know some might argue semantics, but to clarify, they’re asking for a $25 investment, with their thanks being a gifted copy of the game upon completion, if it is completed. Therefore, it’s not $25 for a copy of the game, which is a different type of transaction altogether.

        Unfortunately, backers seem to think it’s a pre-order service, and developers certainly don’t help dispel that notion with investment tiers that look like real price points.

        One of the factors people are underrating here is whether or not people want this type of game. Since it just got past the mark, it’s obvious people do, but it’s not an uber-success, so it’s also obvious there’s a narrow demographic for this type of game.

        To put it in perspective, GTAV could be sold at 50 quid or $70 USD and people would still line up to buy it because it’s what’s popular.

  25. Optimaximal says:

    I’m very happy this has succeeded, but I refuse to back the KS campaign!

    It’s not an issue with the low-end reward tiers/price of entry for a free copy, but its the stupidly insane amount of expensive trinkets, art books and other physical guff that they’ve commit to produce which sucks the lifeblood out of the money they’re raising.

    Someone above mentions ‘it’s more like $600k’ when pointing out John got the currency wrong. Knock KS’s fee off and you’re looking at $550k/equivalent. Knock the value of all the high-level rewards and you’re possibly even at $450k/only-just-$500k.

    I backed the Defense Grid 2, StarCommand (KS #2) and Wasteland Kickstarters and apart from some token DLC from the former, it’s been nothing but sparse updates in amongst constant bleating of ‘yes, your T-shirts/USB keys/Graphics Cards are in the post! By the way, we’re starting a new KS to cover our shortfall caused by all your T-shirts/USB keys/Graphics Cards!’.

    Kickstarter is a bit broken when the only way to stand out from the crowd/guarantee funding these days is to offer expensive computer hardware paid for via the fund itself (or a restrictive sponsorship agreement if you’re lucky).

  26. Premium User Badge

    Hypocee says:

    You can pat yourselves on the back, RPS (unless it goes pear-shaped of course). I’ve never gotten around to playing Syndicate, the price point is beyond impulse, and I didn’t have time to vet the project before it ended. I backed purely because of your sustained shrieking and apparent trust in these people.

  27. Werthead says:

    Nice MISSION ACCOMPLISHED screen. Though my inner nerd would have approved more if it had been followed by WELCOME TO THE DAWNING OF A NEW EMPIRE.

  28. jonahcutter says:

    $20-25 seems like a perfectly reasonable price for their background and what they’re offering. I don’t get the hullabaloo about that. Sure you can get on-sale AAA games for that. But those AAA games aren’t even worth that sometimes. I bought Tomb Raider for $25 I think, and felt it sucked so bad I never finished it. I bought Bioshock Infinite at release, and the more I think about my experience of that game, the less I’m sure it’d be worth it at even half off. And then there’s Hitman Absolution… that travesty is a $5 bargain bin buy.

    Though I’m not really fond of the early-bird trend on KS, I don’t see it as that big of a deal. Especially when the difference is a few dollars. It may seem to punish people who maybe just found out about it late. Of course, that’s true of KS in general. Some games don’t allow you various levels of access after the KS has closed. Others do. I would of loved to get into the Maia or Sir, You Are Being Hunted alphas (and would of happily paid largely unproven devs for it), but I never knew about them. So now I wait, even though it would have been a pretty simple thing for their devs to open up alpha access to everyone post-KS.

    Sometimes you just miss opportunities.

    The Satellite Reign alpha/beta access prices are pretty damn steep (though you do get two copies of the game for the alpha price, still expensive though). There it seems pretty likely more of the people who had already pledged the base amount would have bumped up to the $30-40 range for alpha/beta.

    I think there’s some other factors at play here too. SR chose a difficult time to launch on KS. Various summer sales were wrapping up and the Steam sale was kicking off. It also used pounds instead of dollars, which can make a significant segment of my fellow Americans reluctant to participate.

  29. engion3 says:

    Oh goody goody gumdrops! I was hoping this one would be backed.

  30. WrenBoy says:

    How was that ever a close thing?

    It was never a close thing. It was obvious from the first couple of days that this would easily make its target.

    Its now obvious that its going to make 500K plus. Not even close to being close.