Indiegogo’s Frontiers Failure

F2Frontiers is an Elder Scrolls-style role-playing experience currently in development by Lars Simkins, and the story of its journey in crowdfunding has as many twists and turns as the games it apes.

Simkins is a visual effects artist who has worked on Breaking Bad, Fringe, and The Hunger Games, and he’s looking to make his mark in the game world with Frontiers. He’s dabbled before, but it’s clear with the effort he’s investing that he sincerely wants this new project to pan out.

An $80,000 campaign was launched last month for Frontiers on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, but it wasn’t getting the traction Simkins had hoped, especially given that Indiegogo had reached out to him to help promote the campaign. According to a blog post from Simkins, Indiegogo had offered to personally tweak his campaign and assume a “hands-on” approach to ensure the game reached all the right media.

“I’m a total outsider without any press contacts and very few supporters,” Simkins wrote. “A crowdfunding platform that provides some of that [support] up front would give me a huge leg up even if the platform itself was less popular overall.”

In short, things didn’t seem to work out that way. Frontiers was featured on the first page of Indiegogo’s “Games” section, and was later featured in a weekly round-up, but it wasn’t getting the additional support from contributors that the increased coverage should have garnered. In addition, Simkins didn’t think there was any additional media exposure that was directly the result of Indiegogo’s efforts.

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Simkins composed a brief letter to Indiegogo to ask for guidance. He posted the entire correspondence in the aforementioned blog post, but highlights include some disarming frankness (“If the site isn’t capable of putting eyeballs on my project then I don’t know what I’m doing here”) and a seemingly last-ditch plea:

“Any idea how to make this the story of ‘The industry outsider who ran a successful gaming campaign on IGG’ and not ‘The guy who discovered that IGG isn’t good for gaming campaigns and abandoned it for Kickstarter?’ I’ll do whatever needs to be done as long as you can meet me half way. I’m out of tricks and the campaign has flat-lined. I’ve got a referral contest planned but let’s be real, it’s going to take more than that.” [sic]

With little follow-up after that, the Frontiers Indiegogo campaign was cancelled.

This week, Frontiers re-launched on Kickstarter. Simkins knows this doesn’t guarantee success, but he’s now seen first-hand the lack of gaming interest in the Indiegogo community, and thinks that is where the difference is. Starting with a more modest financial goal of $50,000, the Frontiers Kickstarter campaign already has well over half of its funding. With 26 days still to go, it looks as if Simkins and his soon-to-be crew will be able to rest a little bit easier.

  • Pombar

    This is an interesting if somewhat depressing case. I wonder if, had Darkwood launched on Kickstarter, it would’ve reached its co-op stretch goal that would’ve so vastly increased the game’s appeal. I guess Kickstarter’s higher profile and larger past successes with crowdfunding games is a much bigger factor for prospective crowdfunding devs to consider than some suppose.

  • mutant reggie

    Well, I hardly ever heard about Indiegogo, it was always Kickstarter this, Kickstarter that, and the Guiness World Record Gamer’s Edition only showed Kickstarter, and did not mention Indiegogo, so Kickstarter has more media coverage, so most people will only check out Kickstarter, but not Indiegogo.