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Alumni News

Kickstarting your Coffers

September 11, 2012

Last winter Mighty Rabbit Studios began developing Saturday Morning RPG, a role-playing game based on cartoons from the 1980s. The studio in North Carolina had some funds set aside but game production is a long process, and eventually their coffers ran low.

In danger of having to shut down production, they turned to crowdfunding website, Kickstarter to fuel the last couple months of development – and people responded. Big time, says Adric Worley (Animation, 2010), Art Director at Mighty Rabbit.

In less than two months, 175 backers had pledged $10,362 – far above the studio’s initial $6,000 goal. Adric and his partners not only completed Saturday Morning RPG but are set to launch Episode 3 of the game this fall.

“The overall reaction to our game has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Adric. “Critically, we consider ourselves very successful.” Currently, Saturday Morning RPG holds a 73 per cent rating on Metacritic, great for a first game, according to Adric. It has also been given 4 ½ stars by the App Store.

Since Kickstarter is a rewards-based funding platform, Mighty Rabbit had set up incentive packages for their supporters, including a name-listing in the game’s credits, posters and the opportunity to be made into a game character. Rewards increased in value with larger donations. (It’s worth noting that Steven Dengler, the project’s largest Kickstarter funder, is a Canadian entrepreneur who founded, and looks for games and game-related projects to invest in.)

Crowdfunding helped Mighty Rabbit raise the cash and measure the success of their game quickly. “It gave us an easy way to directly reach our audience and assess their response. It's pretty nerve-wracking to work on a project for so long without a way to gauge how much people will like it,” said Adric. “We were posting new info every day so that donators could see how interested we were. The positive response helped psyche us up to finish off the last stages of production.”

Adric recommends crowdfunding for people who have a clear and solid plan as to what to do with the money. Sites such as Kickstarter and rival RocketHub cropped up mainly because a well-thought-out business plan doesn’t guarantee investor backing, says Greg Ball, Course Lead, Entrepreneurship with Sheridan’s Faculty of Business.

“Some great ideas may not get funding if they don't meet the strict criteria of venture capitalists, banks or government programs. Projects may be too small or unconventional for these traditional sources. It’s harder to determine ROI (return on investment) when dealing with artistic projects such as films, games or art,” he adds.

Mighty Rabbit