SA Crowdfunding Blog

Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00

Crowdfunding Success Series: Wasteland 2

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Wasteland 2, not too surprisingly, is a sequel to the video game Wasteland. The original is a very old game, dating back to 1988, when it was published by Electronic Arts. The videogame falls under the role-playing game category, one of the most popular videogame types in the world.

The man who served as the executive producer for the original Wasteland, Brian Fargo, owned the rights to the game, and decided to make it into a franchise. He started soliciting donations on Kickstarter to the tune of $900,000. In the end, he raised $2,933,252 to develop the Wasteland 2 project.

Part of the success story has to do with how the developers of Wasteland 2 decided to reward those who sent donations into the project. Wasteland 2 pledged to give five percent of the profits that they made back to Kickstarter. In addition to this, people who offered different levels of donations received different awards for doing so, giving people an immediate gratification incentive to participate in developing this project.

Why Did This Work?

Wasteland 2 was, and is, a successful project for many different reasons. Like some of the most successful crowdfunded projects, this one isn't an entirely original idea. Role-playing games are incredibly popular and the original Wasteland game was popular because it took that genre into entirely new territory. Wasteland takes place in a post-apocalyptic American Southwest. The vast majority of role-playing video games take place in medieval settings, and the original Wasteland expanded their appeal to those who aren't particularly enamored of fantasy settings.

Wasteland 2 also starts with a ready-made buyer base. Fans of the original Wasteland, for instance, will likely be very interested in picking up this newest version of the game. In addition to this, people who play role-playing games but who want to branch out into something a bit different than what they're used to will likely find that Wasteland 2 offers them just that opportunity.

Fargo had something of an advantage here that not all new businesses seeking crowdfunding will have. Because he owned the rights to the original video game, he was free to develop the concept however he chose. Because that video game was also already successful, he already had the foundation laid to build a new consumer base.

Take Away

Wasteland 2 offers quite a few interesting lessons in crowdfunding. To start with, note that people who did give to the project were rewarded according to the donations that they made. Offering something back right away tends to add an air of legitimacy to the project and gives people an additional incentive to do something that probably already makes them feel good.

One of the other lessons that you might take from this particular example is that owning the rights to something that is not immediately profitable does not mean that you aren't sitting on something that could be profitable with a bit of effort. Wasteland 2 was going nowhere but crowdfunding lent nearly $3 million to the effort of making it a reality. Aside from rewarding your donors, you might take from this not to give up on a project you know to be a good idea.

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