Kickstarter vs Gamefound: which one is right for you?
If you’re planning on crowdfunding your game, there are several options available to you, however, the choice really comes down to Kickstarter vs Gamefound. Kickstarter is the most established platform and one that most creators use to crowdfund their game, while Gamefound is the new kid on the block, competing for attention.
In this article, we will compare Kickstarter vs Gamefound in a number of different categories, including pricing, features, and others to help you make the best decision when it comes to crowdfunding your game.
Kickstarter was founded on April 28, 2009, as a crowdfunding platform meant to help new creators bring their idea to life. Supporters, known as “backers” could pledge money in order to receive a reward, typically a physical or digital version of whatever the creator was making.
While Kickstarter started as a platform for anyone with a dream, it certainly has changed over the years. You no longer see creators put up a simple video with them talking about something that they want to bring to life. Larger companies and more established creators now frequently use the platform and the bar has definitely been raised. You now have to have a market-ready (or nearly ready) product if you want to be successful.
They probably didn’t anticipate this at first, but games have become the biggest category on Kickstarter, with tabletop games as the largest subcategory by far. People flock to the platform to back the latest game and this has allowed creators to bypass publishers, who have traditionally been the gatekeepers in the industry.
Gamefound was founded by game publisher Awaken Realms in 2016. They had been using Kickstarter as a crowdfunding platform but saw a number of limitations. They also realized that losing 5% of their sales to Kickstarter for their service fee was cutting well into their profits. Gamefound started out as a pledge manager, just one of many companies stepping in to fill a gap left by Kickstarter. They found there was no easy way to charge for shipping and taxes, along with allowing late pledges following their campaigns. So, Awaken Realms created its own solution.
Fast forward six years and you will see that Gamefound has now transitioned from being strictly a pledge manager to becoming a full-service crowdfunding platform (and is well-positioned as Kickstarter’s biggest competitor). They started by launching one of their own projects, and slowly opened the door to some larger publishers, while they worked out the kinks. Now, as of March 2022, Gamefound has opened its doors to all creators. Just before this in February 2022, they announced they had formed a strategic partnership with well-known game publisher Ravensburger, which gives them even more clout.
Obviously, Kickstarter has a long history and track record compared to the relatively new alternative available in Gamefound.
When you compare the cost of running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter vs Gamefound, you will see that their pricing is identical. Both charge 5% as a service fee, along with just over 3% going to their payment partner, Stripe.
However, Gamefound also includes a built-in pledge manager, which can be used at no extra cost.
When it comes to pricing, Kickstarter and Gamefound are equal, yet Gamefound has the edge due to their free built-in pledge manager.
Size of audience
Kickstarter has been around for much longer than Gamefound and therefore has a much larger user base. However, Gamefound certainly knew what they were doing when they created their pledge manager for free, which enticed many creators to use their service. This allowed Gamefound to build up a decent-sized audience, and one that is specific to board games alone, compared to Kickstarter, which is a platform that creators can utilize for any creative endeavour.
Comparing Kickstarter vs Gamefound, Kickstarter definitely has a larger overall audience and users are very comfortable and familiar with their platform, so they have the advantage here.
Kickstarter has been around for a while but has been criticized for not listening to and implementing feedback from its users very quickly. Things like nested comments and preview pages took quite a while before they were put into place. Yet, their preview page is limited to just one image and a “notify me” button. Surprisingly, Kickstarter hasn’t implemented its own pledge manager type system, allowing others to proliferate. It seems like they’re leaving a lot of money on the table here.
One nice feature that Kickstarter has that I have not seen implemented in Gamefound yet is being notified of friends who have backed projects. As a creator, this could help give visibility to your project to other people who might have the same interests.
Gamefound on the other hand allows creators to put together a much more enticing preview page, including multiple images, text and videos. Also, they allow the creator to break their page up into sections.
Compare this to Kickstarter, which is just one long page that people have to scroll through (sometimes seemingly forever) to find what they’re looking for, with no shortcuts or easy way to jump to a particular section. I’ve already mentioned the free built-in pledge manager that Gamefound offers, which is a huge advantage. In addition, Gamefound allows you to offer a gift to people who follow your project, such as a free promo or a discount when they back your game. That’s a pretty nice incentive.
Gamefound appears to offer nearly all the features the Kickstarter has, plus many more perks.
I would definitely give Gamefound the edge here for features.
It’s interesting to note that Kickstarter announced earlier this year that their big plan is to move Kickstarter to blockchain. They’ve said that this has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies or NFTs, but rather it is meant just to build a stronger back end for the platform.
In comparison, Gamefound is working on more features that will be helpful to creators and their backers. They have already fully implemented the collection of VAT, including for regions outside the EU, along with regional taxes for other parts of the world. They are working on even more features to enhance what they already offer.
It’s interesting to see that Kickstarter is focusing on things that are behind the scenes that most people will never see, whereas Gamefound seems to be much more user-focused in its vision of the future of crowdfunding.
I feel that this gives the advantage to Gamefound for plans.
Final thoughts – Kickstarter vs Gamefound
While Kickstarter and Gamefound are similar, each offers its own advantages.
Established creators who already have a large audience may see similar results using either platform. Therefore, Gamefound, with its stronger features and built-in pledge manager may be more attractive to them.
But for smaller, independent creators, the size of Kickstarter’s audience and the relative newness of Gamefound may sway you more towards Kickstarter. Gamefound has only recently opened the door to all creators, so there’s not a lot of data on how well smaller creators have done yet.
It’s also difficult to say whether the crowdfunding platform itself would make a major difference in whether a game funds and how well it performs overall. You can’t exactly run the same campaign on both platforms and see which does better. This would definitely confuse backers and it would also be difficult to know which backers saw the game on both platforms and why they chose one over the other.
Ultimately, it’s your decision which crowdfunding platform you will use and hopefully this article has given you some insights into whether Kickstarter vs Gamefound is the best option for you.
Which platform would you use – Kickstarter or Gamefound?
Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
I need an artist to design a board for my game. Who do I touch base with?
Here are some places you can try:
Art and Graphic Design for Tabletop Games Facebook Group
Board Game Design Lab Facebook Group
The Game Crafter
Unfiltered Gamer Artist Page
Indie Game Alliance
One thing not mentioned in the above article is that the GameFound UI is absolutely horrible to use, its awkward to set up and use.
Hey, Glenn! I’ve only used Gamefound as a pledge manager before, not for crowdfunding campaigns, so I can’t speak to every nuance, but yes, there are some things in the interface that could be improved and hopefully this is on their agenda.
Thank you for your comment!