Massive Updates + Japanese Kickstarter?

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I’ve long made it clear that I appreciate Kickstarter projects not only for their content but also for their execution. I’ve pledged at low levels to follow along with ideas or to see how the process went. (One example of this was the Veronica Mars movie, although I was somewhat interested in the content there; still, my pledge didn’t earn me the movie.)

I think my writing (either here or in comments on other blogs/projects) also revealed my initial enthusiasm for stretch goals. They seemed like a fun part of the project, a way you could interact with an audience and really push the limits of what you could make with a project. (I think Project Eternity was the project I most enjoyed following, the project I spent the most on, and the project that was most successful at using stretch goals to raise cash.)

So I was a bit confused when Massive Chalice declined to stretch their goals (although they did offer to do more “Teamstream” livecasts once they hit somewhere around $1 or $1.5 million, I think).

It all makes sense now that Mighty No. 9 has come to a close. The constant updates have really deflated my interest in each individual post, so much so that I have yet to watch the first few episodes of the documentary or listen to any of the podcasts…and those are two things that I normally love. The 2PP documentaries for Broken Age are instant appointment viewing whenever the project updates.

For those that didn’t follow, here’s how the project worked: each day they added a different “type” of update each day. Video updates on one day, fan art featured another, podcasts on the next. One for each weekday, and occasionally weekend announcements. And these were not short updates. They were very lengthy. I generally scrolled through them to see what was up, but they definitely began to grate on me as the project went on. Surely, I thought, this is not going to be an effective way to raise money.

I’ve been proven wrong. The project managed to raise $3.8 million, over $4 million if you add PayPal contributions, putting it in on the Mt. Rushmore of Kickstarter video game projects with Torment, Project Eternity, and the Double Fine Adventure. (I’m not including Ouya and Bones, as they are games but not video games.)

The moral of the story is that this wasn’t a project for me. I’ve just never been a huge fan of Mega Man, but I do like following projects and I have an interest in video games/translation/Japan/Kickstarter IN Japan. There was clearly a market for updates at this torrid pace, and they succeeded well. They knew their fanbase and Kickstarted appropriately. Perhaps a less enthusiastic fanbase would have been turned off by such frequent updates. Interesting to think about.

Another interesting thing to note about this project is how they approached the Japanese audience. The Mighty No. 9 team did an INCREDIBLE job here. If you haven’t seen it yet, here are images:

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As you can see, they basically recreated the Kickstarter page in Japanese on their own website and explained, in Japanese, how to pledge. They even replicated the right-hand sidebar with pledge levels:

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I’m impressed. They had a lot of really excellent help on the English side of things (notably 2PP and 8-4, Ltd., a really solid translation/localization studio), but they were slightly handicapped by the lack of a Japanese version of the site and they totally overcame the difficulty.

I think this shows the incredible potential for Kickstarter in Japan. I would be surprised and disappointed if there is not a Japanese version of Kickstarter within the next few years. It’s a huge, huge market with lots of creative types and interesting payment systems. Just a quick example: I used to make payments for Amazon Japan purchases at my local 7-11 or other convenience stores by printing a payment slip or simply by providing the cashier with an order number. I’m not sure if that would work in this case—the Kickstarter model depends heavily on being able to “swipe” a credit card and ensure future payment—but they are definitely worth looking into.

I can’t wait to see what happens, and it makes me viscerally ecstatic to think about backing the creative projects of random Japanese people. I have a slight interest in Japan, you see.

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