|The old guard got their shot early on, including the undelivered Nystul's Infinite Dungeon. |
It's kind of ironic considering how the spell works.
Backing the right Kickstarter derived games gives my store a unique flair other stores don't have. This is especially true if I have to buy deep into a Kickstarter and I get the game early or it's only available through this method. I can use my size as a competitive advantage, a differentiator.
|Waiting on my Pencil Dice with Ken Whitman|
My goal, as a supporter of their game, is to capture those customers from them, before they do. If I do it wrong, and announce a game offering a poor value proposition, I just used my efforts to drive customers to the designer. This obviously means that I'm trying to capture sales at the same time as them, while the campaign is going on. That's because I don't actually know if I want to back that game if I don't have customer interest, and with backer kits asking my to commit for more copies or thousands of dollars of add ons at the end, my ability to capture customers right now, before the game arrives, is incredibly important.
We compete for customers, while also acting as partners. That's as new economy as it gets! It's also a terrible business model for the game trade. The game trade is a poster child for bad business models. As a retailer, if you see some new technology, Print on Demand, 3D Printing, Kickstarter, and you immediately think how this will enhance your business, you're doing it wrong. New technologies disintermediate the middle men. Consumers make the same mistake. These same technologies won't create books printed in your living room or 40K armies banged out on your printer, they'll provide small press publishers the ability to create cottage industries where they sell you the weird, the unwieldy, and the wonderful when they couldn't have before.
So how do I make it work? When I sign on to a Kickstarter as a retailer, I don't sit back and watch my money work for someone else for a year (or forever) and then tell customers about it once my far too many copies show up on some random day. What I do is promote that Kickstarter while the campaign is going on. I announce it to my customer group on Facebook. I let them know a pre order with me is safer than with you, the publisher. I offer a 10% discount to offset the rampant, wink wink nudge nudge, tax evasion that is the Kickstarter pre order system. Then I get to watch that pre order money work for me, while staying up at night wondering if the stretch goals for Dark Souls will ever arrive and what exactly my liability is if they don't.
The publisher needs to understand we are at cross purposes. We are competing for the same customers. Their organized play or other attempts to get me to promote their game is so far off the mark to be laughable when I've got legitimate partners, without cross purposes. I will help you sell your game to my customers, but we are at odds with each other beyond that. Keep this in mind. Know that pimping your game with the word Kickstarter just tells me you're part of this special relationship that's only worth it for a tiny number of stores. For everyone else, the small stores, the distributors, and for a growing number of disillusioned customers, Kickstarter is the mark of death. But don't get all pouty about it. I may end up being your last friend in this equation.