This article is based on a CGS community poll in which we asked everyone about their thoughts on crowdfunding updates.

Among the most important things when preparing a crowdfunding campaign is a decision about the structure of the updates and plans for their content, order, frequency, and theme. From a creator’s point of view, there’s always something new to try (and learn)!

Even our last two campaigns, Chronicles of Drunagor and CoD: Apocalypse, had a distinct feel in the way we communicated with the community. Part of this was caused by the experience we gained in the process, or even the fact that both campaigns were launched on different crowdfunding platforms. The focus of the game in question also directs the impression we want to leave the backers with. Therefore, for the upcoming campaign for Dante, which will be a game with very strong narrative elements, we strive to foreground storytelling among all other aspects.

We’ve asked our community what they like and expect from crowdfunding updates, and we’re excited to share the results. Over 800 people answered, and if all the responses were boiled down into just one word, it would be engagement. Let’s take a look at why.

Most people who responded read almost all the updates from the campaigns they are interested in. But much better than just reading the content that the campaign creators serve them is actively participating. This means having the ability to influence the direction of the campaign through, for example, choosing between two stretch goals or voting on what happens next in an ongoing story that is episodically revealed in the project updates. Active involvement, as opposed to passive consumption of content, is for many backers one of the crucial elements that makes crowdfunding campaigns memorable.

Considering the actual content, what is the most important to write about? Well.. everything! Even though most backers want to know mainly about the gameplay mechanics and the progress the project makes, information about the unlocked stretch goals and the lore of the game doesn’t stay far behind. Even though behind-the-scenes stories from the office seem to draw the least amount of interest, completely disregarding this topic could leave a third of the backers dissatisfied. Still, it is somehow surprising for us to see the stretch goals so low.

The results of the question above are a bit skewed toward reprint campaigns. These are grouped together under a single game since it wasn’t always apparent which one people meant. Also, many people wrote down the names of their favorite companies instead of games, so it might be even more interesting to think about which companies are consistently launching great campaigns instead of one single campaign that would be the best of them all. Looking at it from this point of view, it would be Awaken Realms, CMON, Chip Theory Games, Into the Unknown, Shadowborne Games, and CGS holding the prominent places in the chart (in no particular order).

At the beginning, we mentioned that it is engagement that ties the memorable campaigns (and the companies that make them) together. Let’s look at what this actually means according to the community responses.

Firstly, engagement encompasses the fun factor and entertainment, and many of the responses were centered around appreciating when creators make backers feel like they are part of the team, involving them in the whole process, sharing behind-the-scenes or personal stories, and generally making people feel like they are standing right next to the creator while they tackle issues in the development. This form of direct engagement and participation in the project seems to resonate with a lot of power. Having a story to unveil in each update, voting on art or stretch goals, listening to the community, and taking the time to respond to questions and comments are all vital parts of what constitutes a great campaign according to people.

However, it’s also about the quality of the presentation (of both pictures and text), having a campaign with a clear structure, and writing in a tone that is entertaining. Whenever a campaign made video updates and shared a lot of pictures, it was mentioned as a big plus.

Backers also expect creators to maintain consistent communication both during and after the campaign, even if there is no groundbreaking news to share, just to preserve a high degree of transparency about the state of the project, including potential delays or production problems. Generally, it is all about keeping backers informed about the overall progress the game is making (or lack of it) and being honest about what’s going on. Clearly describing the next steps in every update before the game gets shipped is also a great way to keep everyone in the loop, and the inability to do so doesn’t help the overall experience.

What about you? Are your expectations similar?

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