What the hell did you do with our money?
In honor of tax day, we thought we would give some insight to our backers (as well as potential kickstarters) to how we spent the funds we were given at the end of September. Hopefully it sheds some light on why money disappears so quickly for game development.
Our kickstarter earned $36,967 after asking for $20,000 so that was incredible.
To begin with, we didn't get all of that. We lost about $2,000 to no-shows, just people that pledged and the funds did not transfer.
That got us down to $35k, and kickstarter and Amazon Payments take their portions, which got us down to right around $32,000.
Now, right off the top you had $10,000 for prize fulfillment. That includes printing the posters, the shirts and shipping everything (thanks Australia). If we had to do it again, we would have probably had the price point a bit higher for the t-shirts and posters, as those turned to be a very large expense. We also would have included the cost of a 3rd party fulfillment house - we just aren't equipped or skilled in that area, and it was (still is) something that we struggle with.
After that, we had $22,000 remaining. From there:
Music - $6,000
Attorneys, startup fees, CPA - $4000
Poster art - $2000
iPads - $1000
PAX East - $3000
Leaving us with around $6000, which is income, so that was taxed (piece of advice to other kickstarters - spend that money before the end of the year).
So were right around $4000 remaining and even that cursory math isn't working as there are other things that weren't big tickets but sapped the coffers. There's odds and ends etc, so that goes rather quickly as you can imagine.
What would we do different? Keep the attorneys out of it. We got a little nervous after we recieved all the Kickstarter money and wanted to make sure our business was set up correctly. We registered our LLC's, got operating agreements etc, but in hindsight a nice piece of napkin paper probably would have done just as well. You plan for the worst (we all start hating each other and people start leaving) but if anything the team has gotten closer, so it seems like a lot of wasted money. If we could take it back we would. Maybe we will get another attorney and sue them.....wait.....
Rewards are something to watch out for as well. We just didn't fully appreciate the cost of printing 200 posters, shirts, and more than anything shipping. Shipping is a) expensive b) a pain in the ass when you have tubes and c) time consuming. None of those things are productive. We don't resent having sent that stuff off - we think the posters and shirts are awesome and we are super proud of them and it seems like everyone loved them, so thats great. But they were a lot of work.
So that gets us to the present. We have still taken a lot of debt on ourselves (over $50k), and hopefully this can help give insight to other kickstarters and would-be-developers on what to expect. We promise to keep this stuff open as possible and if you have questions, or feel like telling giving us a piece of your mind for the way we spent the money, hey, we're all ears.
Tell us your thoughts.
All that said though, its been great and the game would not be where it is if it wasn't for kickstarter. We're extremely confident were going to hit our summer release date and that never would have happened without you guys. We have made a game we're really, really proud of and you guys should be too. We have always felt an obligation to make your investment worth it, and hopefully we dont disappoint.
The Warballoon Team
pledged of $20,000 goal
seconds to go
Sep 6, 2011 - Oct 6, 2011 (30 days)
Pledge $5 or more
––––– REDSHIRT PLEDGE LEVEL ––––– MP3 MUSIC: Digital download of the original soundtrack to Star Command including all-new original tracks created by Marius Masalar, as heard in the the kickstarter trailer.Estimated delivery: Nov 2011
Pledge $25 or more
––– MIDORIAN AMBASSADOR LEVEL –––– In addition to the Redshirt Pledge Rewards you will also receive: EXCLUSIVE ROOM: Doctor Leach’s Klebaticus Chamber SUPER INTERGALACTIC PROMO CODE: All updates and upcoming DLCs will be free to you. Updates like new uniforms, races, rooms and areas to explore. This also includes planned expansions like "Away Teams" which allow you to visit the surface of planets and "Alien Command" allowing you to build and take command of an alien ship! PHONE BACKGROUNDS: Access to exclusive downloadable iphone/android backgrounds featuring the Star Command Characters so you can rock your new favorite game. FUN STICKERS: Help star command crew members beam onto a street lamp near you SC BUTTON: Star Command button/pin, so you can always tap it and say 'two to beam up.' (MP3 MUSIC+EXCLUSIVE ROOM+SUPER INTERGALACTIC PROMO CODE+PHONE BACKGROUNDS+FUN STICKERS+SC BUTTON)Estimated delivery: Dec 2011
Pledge $100 or more
–––– STARSHIP COMMANDER LEVEL –––– In addition to the Redshirt and Midorian Ambassador Pledge Rewards you will also receive: SHIRT: Trendy Star Command Uniform POSTER: A high quality printed poster utilizing the Star Command's unique pixel art style MAP: A high quality printed map of the entire Star Command galaxy, including races and other fun secrets signed by the SC team. (MP3 MUSIC+EXCLUSIVE ROOM+SUPER INTERGALACTIC PROMO CODE+PHONE BACKGROUNDS+FUN STICKERS+SC BUTTON+SHIRT+POSTER+MAP) Outside of US & Canada add $15 for shippingEstimated delivery: Dec 2011
Pledge $1,000 or more
–––––––– FLEET ADMIRAL LEVEL ––––––– In addition all of the above rewards you will receive: IN-GAME CHARACTER: Your likeness (or a friend/family member of your choosing) will be featured in the final game as an enemy captain / admiral / guest star CREDITS: Your name will be put in the special credits of the game (MP3 MUSIC+EXCLUSIVE ROOM+SUPER INTERGALACTIC PROMO CODE+PHONE BACKGROUNDS+FUN STICKERS+SC BUTTON+SHIRT+POSTER+MAP+IN-GAME CHARACTER+CREDITS) Outside of US & Canada add $15 for shippingEstimated delivery: Dec 2011