Using Marketing to survive a failed kickstarter: Protoball Interview

1.Why Kickstarter- over any other site?

Because we’re most familiar with it. I’ve used Kickstarter in the past and we’re comfortable with it. We also thought we might reach a broader audience through Kickstarter, maybe some folks that don’t traditionally play video games would find ours interesting.

Looks suspiciously like Rocket League

2. What has been the biggest mistake of your game dev career so far?

I would have to say moments of impatience. Wanting something to be completed quickly instead of properly. I’ve learned through experience that it’s best not to take a Short Cut, and to be as explicit as possible when dictating a creative vision. No one will see it in their head the same way that you do!

3. Night in or Night out?

Night in, definitely! A night in with my wife and 2 dogs is better than a night out most of the time! Although I do enjoy going out for a nice meal and even nicer wines.

GOAL!

4. Explain Protoball for the uninitiated? And where are you at with it?

The shortest version is “Futuristic Basketball with FPS mechanics”. Players athletically manoeuvre around an arena trying to pass a Protoball through a hoop for points. The game is fast paced and rewards strategic team-work.

It’s kind of a casual competitive shooter in a way. For me, I wanted to make a game that scratched all the itches that competitive FPS games gave me but something that anyone could play with little practice. One theme we’ve tried to stick by is easy to learn but hard to master.

Currently, we’re in an open alpha and we’ve launched our Kickstarter. The core sport mode is working well and we’ve been play-testing it for the last 2 months, making minor, and sometimes, changes as we go. We’re very involved with the player base and we value their insights. We were players before we decided to become game developers!

Everything you SEE is a placeholder, all graphics and animations and VFX and… well nearly everything is being upgraded. This is a working prototype, not a final product! Articles: print, online or neither?

5. Do you prefer to read news online or in print?

I love print, so I’ll try to support it where I can. However, to be honest I consume way more digital articles. I hate to say it but… it’s convenient!

6. What in these days is the best way to market your game?

I wish I had a great answer for that one! We’re still trying to figure it out ourselves. I’ll admit that none of us are marketing majors or gurus. We’re mostly a team of businessmen, developers, artists, and enthusiasts. I will say that marketing is our weakest point.

So far we’ve found a good amount of support from the Twitch community. I was very impressed with PUBG’s rapid rise to fame, and the game’s own merits aside, I believe Twitch had a major role in that.

Mostly though, our Discord has been the best place of support. I really like it a lot because you get to engage with your player base. They get to talk directly to you, and you can see the conversation they’re having. I believe an active discord user is worth more than any follower number. Its a higher value metric for me. It probably helps that we have a fantastic, positive, altruistic, and pragmatic community. We’ve truly felt the love in our discord.gg/protoball

7. What is your policy on putting your game on new platforms? ie drm, player-base?

We’ll choose whatever option makes the most sense, and for us that means getting the game in as many player’s hands as possible. Our main metric is the player base.

8. How do you keep on track with development personally on a day to day basis- and what’s it like managing your team?

We use a myriad of tools to track development, but the two big ones are Hack n Plan, and Discord chat rooms. Managing my team is almost always a pleasant and smooth experience. Luckily I’ve built a great team of developers and we’re all very aligned in our vision for Protoball. I almost don’t even have to tell them what I need next, they’ve already thought of it as well. We’re almost to the point where we’ll finish each others sentences! 😊

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