After a successfully-funded campaign in 2016 for the BitLounger 16BITSN for the Super Nintendo, we immediately went back to the drawing board to get started on our next project.
Crowd-funded projects carry a number of risks to supporters, making delivering on promises made to our backers the most important component of what we accomplished. We launched, funded, ordered and shipped out backer rewards from our last project in 77 days!
Needless to say, that is something we are incredibly proud of and we thank all of our previous supporters for trusting us to deliver. There were two prevalent themes we noticed during the process, however:
1. That there was a desire for a higher-quality storage system that also displays your games
2. That backers wanted support for numerous systems, outside of the Super Nintendo
That lead us to a crossroads: It would be a really tedious and expensive process to introduce a storage tray on a system-by-system basis. Not only that, but many gamers want to display games from a variety of different systems. Our backers poll provided us an incredible set of data to work with for deciding which direction to go.
Hmm...What if there was a way to store AND display games from a variety of systems in the same tray?
That was our light bulb moment. Universal game cases have been around for ages, but we wanted something that acted more as a modern display, didn't require buying/printing artwork to look decent and was made from a much higher quality material. Rather than having a series of games in individual plastic cases, we wanted something that acted more as a conversation piece when placed on display.
We have been making prototypes in some form or another since 2013. Expensive custom foam inserts, 3D printed models, plastic prototypes, acrylic samples, you name it. We landed on the BitLounger XL System. After building numerous prototypes of the XL's 4-tray layout, we decided to also add a 2-tray layout as well, which is where the BitLounger L model came to be. With the removable, modular insert trays compatible across both units it makes it easier to adjust your display as your collection changes over time.
The insert trays are the key to what make the BitLounger L and XL special. With the modular design you can mix and match trays in any order you see fit. Want all NES games? No problem. Have an 80-cartridge Gameboy Color collection you want to show off? Have at it! The modular trays provide you the flexibility to create your own custom piece.
So what systems will this support?
As part of the survey sent out for our last campaign, we asked our backers what systems they would like support for. We also kept track of emails, tweets, comments and other social media shout outs that requested support for specific systems. The chart below details those results.
The results were overwhelmingly in favor of Nintendo systems. Taking into account support for Super Nintendo as well, we decided to set our initial funding goal at a point where we will launch with support for the following 7 retro systems:
Interested in other systems? No need to fret. our stretch goals provide options for additional systems. With a slew of Sega games taking the most-requested slots after Nintendo, we have added support options at the $8k, $9k and $10k funding levels.
What's it made of?
We decided to upgrade EVERYTHING for the BitLounger L & XL models. The base acrylic is almost twice as thick as the 16BITSN with the acrylic dust cover clocking in at a full 1/4" to protect your games. The insert trays are all custom laser cut to the contour of the cartridges, providing as snug a fit as possible without making it difficult to insert or remove the games (or scratch them). We've also decided to have custom neoprene inserts made to protect the bottoms of the cartridges after they are inserted.
The BitLounger XL's dimensions have been painstakingly designed to work seamlessly in conjunction with IKEA Expedit and Kallax storage shelving units for a snug, yet appropriate fit.
On to the fun stuff...
We've decided to launch this campaign with a significantly increased variety of rewards available, beyond the BitLounger L and XL Systems themselves. Once we started putting together a list of things we'd like to offer backers our need for a budgetary breakdown became readily apparent. With the founder being a Google Doc nuthead, that naturally lead to some pretty-looking graphs, which we've put together below for our backers to know exactly where their contributions are going.
One thing to note is that all R&D costs have been accounted for before starting the campaign, meaning 100% of net proceeds will be used for mass production and reward-related expenses.
While the whole purpose of funding is to bring the BitLounger L & XL System to market, we wanted to make sure that we offered pledge tiers at all levels. Frankly, we had a ton of fun coming up with a few products to help fill in the gaps! Below are photos of products that are included. We are currently working on finalizing our poster design, which will be added at a later date.
Retail Price Point
Acrylic is not cheap. Custom acrylic with multiple components is even more expensive. That being said, there is a reason acrylic is used in so many display products: It's durable, can be 100% transparent and has a polished finish. Cost for game cases with artwork run about $6/case. That ends up being between $144 and $480 for 24 to 80 games! While we don't expect people to shell out $500 on cases for 80 games, we did see an opening for value created at the MSRP of $89 for the BitLounger L System & $149 for a BitLounger XL System. We also realized that, while UGCs are the closest competing product, they don't really accomplish the same things. They both protect the games, certainly, but the BitLounger L and XL were created for the collector who wanted more out of displaying their favorites and to create a custom focal point in their collection.
Risks and challenges
At this stage we are relatively risk-free. We've done all of the in-house grinding and legwork, ordered samples upon samples, gone through numerous design revisions and quoted out a dozen suppliers. Upon funding, the only risk/challenge left is time. We purposefully started this project earlier in the year to set shipment of the BitLounger L and XL for the holidays a priority. Tiers that do not include a BitLounger L or BitLounger XL System will ship in September as we have a significantly shorter lead time with the other products. With that in mind, there is always the possibility of manufacturing or ocean freight delays. We are confident, however, that if that were to occur we would be shipping no later than January 2018.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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