April 18, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson
Though indie game developer War Balloon surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal for Star Command, an honest breakdown of its costs reveals that a fraction of those donations went toward the actual game.
Last October, War Balloon joined a fast-growing list of small companies that crowd-funded their game projects on Kickstarter, but that didn't mean the company was financially set to complete its anticipated iOS and Android title Star Command.
When its Kickstarter campaign ended, the studio counted $36,967 in pledges, almost double the $20,000 it initially hoped to bring in to fund the Star Trek-esque sim RPG. However, around $2,000 of those pledges failed to transfer.
Kickstarter and Amazon Payments took their $3,000 cut from that amount, and then the company spent $10,000 on producing the incentives War Balloon promised backers, such as posters and shirts.
With $22,000 remaining, it spent $6,000 on Star Command's music, $4,000 on setting up the company (attorneys, start-up fees, etc.), $2,000 on poster art, $1,000 on iPads, and $3,000 on its PAX East presence two weeks ago.
War Balloon was left with $6,000 after all that, which counted as income, so it gave up a third of that to taxes. The studio has actually taken on more than $50,000 in debt while working on Star Command, which releases to iOS and Android devices this summer.
In a post offering an update for those who backed the project, War Balloon said that if it could do anything different, the team would have not involved attorneys to register its LLCs and get operating agreements, as it would've preferred to handle those matters itself without spending extra money.
Offering insight to other developers interested in Kickstarter, War Balloon also warned that costs for rewards can get out of hand. "We just didn't fully appreciate the cost of printing 200 posters, shirts, and more than anything shipping," the team admitted.
[This article was written by Eric Caoili and originally appeared on Gamasutra.]