On February 10th, along with the aid of Otomate World, Gloczus launched a Kickstarter campaign to push forward a chance to localize the otome game series Beastmaster & Prince, complete with all of its fandiscs. Even with the incredible support of over a thousand backers, the project failed to gain its needed funds…but why is that? Let’s evaluate what went wrong and how several problems could have been solved in order for Gloczus to have had a successful campaign.
- No prior advertising or Prefundia
Preparation is key to launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, which is something that the Beastmaster & Prince seemed to have lacked. Rather than trying their hand at advertising before the actual campaign launched, Gloczus decided to send over an announcement through Otomate World that they would be launching a Kickstarter campaign for an Otomate game…which they didn’t name. While that sparked a huge conversation in the otome gaming community, in the end, it didn’t really serve as spectacular of an advertising method as they thought it would have. The very next day, the campaign launched…when the announcement for that campaign was only made a day before. Not only did they not leave enough time for news to spread farther, it felt like the whole thing was rushed out in the open (which was evident with how the project was organized).
The Beastmaster & Prince Kickstarter campaign didn’t see much media attention. The site that was most vocal about the campaign was Siliconera, which wrote about the launch of the project and on why it wouldn’t have a Vita port. The only other site that wrote about the campaign was Anime News Network; they wrote of the launch and then on the failure of the campaign. Crunchyroll, despite recently posting a news article on the Kenka Bancho otome game, did not talk about the Beastmaster Kickstarter campaign at all. If Gloczus could have reached Crunchyroll to possibly make an article about the campaign, I’m sure it would have netted a lot more pledges, since Crunchyroll’s user base is absolutely MASSIVE.
Prefundia is a neat site that is used to advertise and build up interest in a project or campaign before it’s actually launched. Think of it as a kind of “draft” to test the waters with the audience and to gain feedback that will help shape the campaign before it goes live. A group can put up what they have of their project on Prefundia to see if it’s something that people will be hyped enough to back or support. People can then subscribe to get an early invite for when the actual campaign is launched. If Gloczus had a Prefundia page for Beastmaster & Prince, I have no doubt that they would have hit their goal. They could have spread word of the project, while gaining feedback to modify their project, to then finally launch the campaign on Kickstarter. Instead, the campaign was quickly rushed the day after the announcement with a whole lot of unknowns that brought a ton of questions and immediate feedback from otome game fans. It would have essentially killed two birds with one stone: the reach of news of their campaign would have reached farther, and they could have corrected and filled in gaps with more information for future backers. Prefundia has been used by many groups to launch successfully funded campaigns. One popular example of this is Sekai Project‘s Grisaia Trilogy that later went on to get funded.
The only other way that people found out about the campaign is through word of mouth; people posted about it on their Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook accounts to spread awareness of the campaign. Others found out about it through blog posts that otome game fans themselves wrote. Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is great, but when you have a project this big that requires a lot of money in order to make it a reality, word of mouth won’t be enough to help bring attention to it.
- The campaign was initially missing some vital information
At the start of the campaign, there was some very important pieces of information that wasn’t included. Yep, that’s right, it’s the ever-important cost breakdown information. Including this information is VITAL to the campaign, because it allows potential backers to see where their money will be going towards, so they don’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of. Not including this information is a severe disservice to the group managing the Kickstarter campaign, due to the result of both backers and potential backers asking for such information over and over, and dealing with any backlash that might happen, which happened to Gloczus. It’s essentially dealing with extra work that could have been prevented if there was a bit more organization and planning put towards the campaign.
Another piece of information that was missing is whether the games would include any voice acting. Now, I have to admit that I assumed that the games would already include voice acting, so I didn’t really think much of their omission of that information until people started talking about it more. I saw (and many of you did as well) a lot of people who were saying that they wouldn’t back the campaign if it didn’t have the original voice acting included in the localized version. For a game that was originally released with voice acting, it would have been really odd to localize the games without it.
Eventually, Gloczus provided the information that should have really been there in the first place.
- Lack of planning and bad timing
Kickstarter is a world where planning and timing is everything. Without these, a campaign is at a higher risk of failing. This project was ambitious from the get go, but it just really seems like it was rushed. Was it to meet some deadlines? Either way, it doesn’t seem like much consideration was put towards what kind of information a potential backer might want to know about before they put their money down for a pledge. Once they did receive feedback on what info people wanted to know about, it took them days (or a week) before we got the details. This happened for varying things, like the cost breakdown, confirmation of voice acting, add-ons and the confirmation of not having the Vita port. With a long wait time, people tend to lose interest or just even forget. It’s understandable that it takes time to get approval from Otomate before some things could be announced, but having this done before the campaign actually started would have saved them some time. Time is of the essence!
Speaking of bad timing, their Thunderclap campaign appeared too late into the Kickstarter campaign. Thunderclap is a unique site specializing in “crowdspeaking” that allows a single message to be mass-shared to rise above the noise of the social media networks. By boosting the signal at the same time in a flash mob fashion, it allows to raise awareness to a particular issue or cause. This sort of thing should have been present before the campaign began, or at the very beginning of it, so they could draw as much attention as they could to maximize the number of pledges early on. Having launched the Thunderclap campaign 3 days before their Kickstarter campaign ended did garner some attention, but at that time several people were even surprised the Beastmaster & Prince Kickstarter campaign even existed, so they didn’t have as much time to set aside money to pledge, which is something I saw a lot of people say.
- The rewards tiers were a mess and there were initially no add-ons
When the Beastmaster & Prince campaign first launched, the reward tiers were all over the place. Not only did some of them not include the game itself (which is the most important item!), but when the campaign launched, the highest tier was only at $140 with not many slots for backers to claim; within a day or two, all the $140 tier slots were gone. Everyone who saw the campaign knew that would happen, but it seemed like Gloczus didn’t think those would sell out so quickly, which is a huge underestimation on how much otome game fans want localized otome games.
Another issue was the lack of any high-costing tier for most of the campaign’s duration. A campaign like this really should have had tiers in the $1000 range that contained plenty of “big money” items, like perhaps a signed art print, or perhaps even exclusive items that one could only get by attending Otomate events in Japan. I’m sure that plenty of fans would have pledged more if any of those items would have been offered. However, that’s not to say that what they were offering wasn’t great: the pillow case, physical art book, tapestry, poster and the OST CD were all pretty desirable items! But items like memo pads and magnets won’t win over the people willing to spend a lot of money.It wasn’t until a few days before the campaign ended that the highest tier at $1000 was added, which included an exclusive mug and Glicee print poster along with all the goods from the other tiers. This tier should have been included way earlier than it was to have possibly secured more funds. I also feel like additional higher tiers should have been added with more goods to offer.
The ability for add-ons was completely absent in the beginning of the campaign, which wasn’t ideal. Add-ons make it so that backers can create their own specialized set by adding the items they want to most along with getting the game. So for example, if a person pledged enough to get the game, but the only extras they wanted were the OST CD and the artbook, they could have upped their pledge enough to include the cost for those items to pick later by using BackerKit. Gloczus eventually included the option for add-ons, which was a pretty good move on their part.
- The games were severely undervalued
The goal of the Beastmaster & Prince campaign is to not only include the game, but both of its fandiscs. That is A LOT of content! However, the amount that someone could pledge to get all of those games was ridiculous. For a mere $25, you get the first game, Snow Bride, and Ex: Another Story. If you think about the hours of gameplay those games offer, $25 is a STEAL. While that may be a good deal for whoever backed the game, it wasn’t the best business model for Gloczus. They really undervalued a game that had an MSRP of almost 5000 yen when it initially came out on the PSP. It would have been best if they did the first game at the $25 tier level, then tack on the first fandisc at the $35 tier level, and then have the full set of games at the $45 tier level. This would have given them more funds to have the possibility of reaching their goal amount.
- The launch of another Kickstarter campaign days before the Beastmaster one ended
This is the most puzzling act of all: Gloczus opened up a new Kickstarter campaign for the ChuSingura46+1 Steam port 2 days before the Beastmaster & Prince Kickstarter campaign ended. Not only does this scream “we give up on this other project,” but all the feedback that was given on the Beastmaster & Prince campaign was taken and used on the ChuSingura46+1 campaign to give it a a proper start. Not only did that campaign offer more information at the start, but it boasted better rewards as well. It’s like rubbing salt into one’s wounds, and it really hurt! Did Gloczus seriously think that we wouldn’t see this?
Once it launched, people immediately noticed the similar header styles in both campaigns, the talk of having experience with otome games (which has since been removed), and of course the most glaring one, Gloczus name on the campaign page. The most interesting bit is that instead of launching the ChuSingura46+1 campaign under the b2g studio brand, they launched a new brand called JAPAN CONTENT Inc.. Was it because it was another type of game that it warranted to be launched under a different brand? No one really knows the reasoning behind this, but the most popular one that people immediately thought of was that they didn’t want potential backers to see the previous campaign failures under the b2g studio branding. While no one can actually prove that to be the real reason, that line of thought is sound due to Gloczus actions of launching this other Kickstarter campaign. Super bad timing on this one, Gloczus.
What’s most curious of this whole act is that Gloczus CANCELLED the campaign for ChuSingura46+1 around 4 days ago because they recieved “outside funds,” so they decided to relauch the whole campaign with expanded reward tiers and a changed Kickstarter amount. So it went from rubbing salt in our wounds to a stab in the back…ouch! Why didn’t the Beastmaster & Prince campaign get this consideration? It had over a thousand backers, a lot of talk in social media, and a whole lot of support…so what’s the deal? Even with Gloczus saying that they’d relaunch the ChuSingura46+1 campaign with more rewards, there hasn’t been an update on it. Speaking of no updates, neither Gloczus or Otomate World has said anything regarding the Beastmaster & Prince campaign since it ended. This is not a good look.
With all these issues, it’s clear to see what damaged the campaign’s progress. But even with all the bad, Gloczus did listen to people’s feedback and responded by trying to apply it to the campaign, which was a good sign. The lack of response now, though, is not a good sign. People have been pouring out their support in the comment section of the campaign page for a relaunch of the project. I personally feel they should relaunch under IndieGogo with all the feedback they’ve gotten for a chance of possibly having the games localized. They know the otome gaming community is around, and they know we want more localized games. I recommend to speak as much as possible by posting in social media and e-mailing Gloczus, b2g studio, and even Otomate World to let them know that we will indeed buy and support Otomate titles. We want to play these games!
Even with the Beastmaster & Prince campaign failure, this is not the end for localized otome games in the West. Far from it! This is just a bump in the road that must be overcome. Yeah, it seems like a big bump, but this is when we must prove that we really wish to play and support these games. Supporting ongoing localization projects, like MangaGamer‘s Ozmafia!! game localization, or any indie game project will speak loads on how the community wants these otome games to be around. Pirating games IS NOT supporting the industry, and you shouldn’t do it. If you want to know how Japanese game devs feel about this, here’s the clearest possible picture:
The main point is that buying their product is supporting the chance of getting MORE of it in the future. It also of course pays for the amount of work they’ve done. Pirating is depriving the creators of their hard-earned money and depriving us ALL of a chance of getting more great games in the future. So while things may be sour at the moment, giving up on supporting otome games isn’t really the answer, especially when we might have a good chance of getting the Kenka Bancho otome game localized if there’s enough interest:
So not all is bad! Let’s stick through and support otome games as much as we can so we can possibly have more in the future.
Until next time, happy gaming!