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In his recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Snapshot Games' co-founder David Kaye talked about the aftermath of Phoenix Point's successful crowdfunding campaign, the ongoing stream of pre-orders that helps keep the company afloat, the peculiarities of the gaming industry, and his aspirations for growing Phoenix Point into a franchise. An excerpt:
Yet Phoenix Point has clearly risen above the noise. After a successful Fig campaign brought in $766,000 (smashing its $500,000 target), the firm has launched its own pre-order initiative that, according to Kaye, is currently delivering $100,000 a month. That's been helped by a launch trailer that was viewed by almost 1.5 million people, and a targeted Facebook advertising campaign.
"We've been more active than most indie developers on Facebook, with ads and things like that," Kaye explains. "We saw a huge difference in terms of how effectively you can acquire customers and drive pre-orders."
He continues: "There's never been a better time to find your audience. Because before, to find out who would want to buy your game and what your consumer is interested in, you'd have to commission a big research study and spend loads of money. Now I can go on Facebook analytics and I can see that, for fans of Phoenix Point, amongst their favourite TV shows is Babylon 5, for example. You can find a lot of interesting information about people that way."
With an advertising campaign that appears to be working, major revenue coming in and a lot of hype around Gollop's return to the genre that made him famous, what exactly is there to worry about?
"I am not the best PR spin guy, because I'll just tell you all the things that worry me," jokes Kaye. "This genre is a category that has been underserved, but you have to assume that that won't remain the case forever. People will come along and fill that gap... so we take nothing for granted.
In Julian, we have some real pedigree in the genre, and he is working hard to make a really great game. There's never been a better or worse time to launch a game, in some ways. You just have to be hyper conscious of all the things that could mess you up, and try to mitigate against those as best you can.
"Hopefully I don't seem super negative. I am very excited about what we're doing. It's just the realities of the environment we are in, the things that are going on out there. You just can't take anything for granted.
"We have a lot to achieve. We are going to be compared to the new XCOM games, but we have a lower budget and a smaller team. Yet we have to deliver, because we will be judged against [XCOM]."