PAX East 2014: No better place for a Kickstarter campaign

Plush Rock

Gamers galore will flock to PAX East 2014 today through Sunday; tens of thousands according to the PAX website.  The event requires 100,000 square feet and three days to pull off.  Who could ask for a better venue to promote a Kickstarter campaign?  At least, that’s how Scott Hyman, chief executive of Protobird Games, figures it.

He’s been gearing up his campaign for the last four months. That time has been spent cultivating relationships with journalists, asking for advice, and building a community of advocates, as well as carefully researching past campaigns that succeeded.

“One thing anyone should consider before launching a project is to explore Kickstarter, find a project they’re inspired by, and back it,” said Justin Kazmark, a Kickstarter staffer. “Get a sense of the whole experience from start to finish.”

Andrew DeSilva, cofounder of RatDog Games is researching a possible campaign has studied the last 18 months of successful Kickstarter campaigns.

“I do as much research as possible,” DeSilva said.

Equally important is building a community for any crowdfunding campaign.  Slava Rubin, cofounder of Indigogo alluded to that in a best-practices in a speech at the Kauffman Foundation.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with Wired Magazine’s Geek Dad,” Hyman said, “as well as Geek Mom since our products are for kids.”

Those are two communities for the latest geeky stuff for kids and a good place to dive in.

The effort is paying off quite well for Protobird Games. They launched their campaign on April 2 and as of Monday, April 9, they have raised $10,000 of their $35,000 goal.

Their major push for the campaign is PAX this weekend, and Hyman is hoping that his conference strategy will pay off.

With such a crowd, and over 100 competing exhibitors, how does he plan to stand out?

“Amazing visuals,” he said. “We look great for an indie game, and our characters will be showcased around the booth. Three big banners of Nicodemus the dragon, Alexander the knight, and Nastajia the elf warrior.”

They are also bringing the three characters as action figures associated with the game for sale or via buying a perk as well as graphic novels.

“We’re fortunate to be adapting an existing property with a small loyal following,” Hyman said, “and we’ll have copies of the graphic novels available.”

And for a one-hundred-fifty dollar perk?  One’s own stuffed rock, among other schwag.

These products are all associated with their Kickstarter campaign.

All this planning and effort comes from only one of the hundred plus exhibitors — each arriving with their own stories, motivations, and passions.