Indie Game Developer Finds Success On AppbackrBy: Zach Walton - October 24, 2012
Kickstarter has become the go to service for indie game developers looking to fund their next project. Gamers have been more than happy to keep funding these projects with 2012 bringing in more than $50 million in funds. Now there are Kickstarter alternatives popping up for game developers who want to try something different. One of the more prominent alternatives to hit the scene is appbackr.
As its name suggests, appbackr is a Kickstarter for mobile apps. Mobile developers can reach out to players, investors and other interested parties to receive funding for their apps. As expected, a large number of the apps available are games, but there are productivity, exercise and other apps available for your funding pleasure.
So, how is appbackr treating developers? WebProNews recently had a chance to chat with Simon Brooks, Founder and CEO of SLIC Games, an indie developer based out of Louisville, KY. His first game, Gadzookery, is described as “Sentences With Friends,” and is currently sitting atop the most liked apps list on appbackr. It’s also the second most funded game with over $10,000 in funding.
Before any of this, however, Brooks was just living with his three pets – Lexy, Izzy and Chelsea. The first letter of his name combined with those of his pets formed what is now known as SLIC Games. He was also working on a Gadzookery prototype that he felt would be perfect for the “explosion in edtech gamification in the classrooms” as the game challenges players to create sentences from acronyms. For example, Brooks says that the word “YOGURT” can be turned into “Yummy Organisms, Gloppy Underrated Refrigerated Treat” for 57 points.
From this point, Brooks knew he had something so he turned to Kickstarter to fund his game. He tried it for two weeks, but realized that it wasn’t working for him so he pulled the campaign. He made the move back to a previous attempt with appbackr after he was endorsed by Paul Bettner, creator of Words with Friends, who had just left Zynga. The endorsement combined with limited exposure from Kickstarter pushed him back to trying his hand at appbackr.
It’s important to note that appbackr is a little different from Kickstarter. It’s actually more similar to Gambitious in that it rewards backers and investors with profits from the app. The process works a little like this: backers purchase wholesale copies of an app that’s in development. Funds from the purchases go directly to the developer who then finishes up the app and releases it on the Apple App Store or Google Play. Appbackr then counts the sales of said app and redistributes the profits between the developer, backers and appbackr themselves.
It’s also important to note that every appbackr and the returns promised are different. Brooks is offering a 54 percent return on all investments into Gadzookery. So far, the average backer has contributed $141.65 to the project with a few people even dropping $2,000 in funding. Those who fund the bare minimum of $10 can stand to earn $16 in revenue. Those who fund more will obviously receive more of the profits as the game goes on sale.
Brooks doesn’t get all the money immediately from those who back his project. Appbackr only releases about 65 percent of the funding to him immediately while the rest is kept until he pays his investors for their initial investment as well as any profits that are due to them.
In the end, appbackr is just one of many alternatives. Brooks believes that crowdfunding combined with the JOBS Act will help startups get the funding they need either through offering shares in the company or Kickstarter. He feels that appbackr will evolve to meet the demands of a startup economy that can now offer shares directly to investors.
With that said, Brooks is confident that Gadzookery will do well. He says that the combination of his app being “one of a kind” and “truly educational” will help set it apart from the pack. He also has the potential to tap into Dictionary.com’s 50 million plus user base as his game will be featured on their word games page.
Gadzookery has 74 backers with seven days left. He’s hoping to reach over $40,000 by that time. The iOS game is already a reality, but he hopes to receive more funding for an Android version of the game. He also promises a physical copy of Gadzookery to every backer if he’s able to reach the $40,000 mark.
Gadzookery is just one of many success stories that has become a reality thanks to crowdfunding. The real challenge for Brooks and other entrepreneurs is turning this first step into a new company. SLIC Games is meeting this challenge head on as Brooks is looking for other talented designers and developers to join his team. I know of at least a hundred people who may want to take him up on it.