AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

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AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby code l name » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:44 pm

Now the campaign is over I think it's fair for us to look back and evaluate the performance of AJ over the past 1 month. Many of us fans who pledged substantial sums of money had many legitimate concerns during the campaign and I saw forum posting which catalogued many of the errors which occurred.

Let's have a look:

- Project started without a description of what Shenmue is. Later featured a still somewhat crudely made fan video as a fix.
- The Kickstarter Trailer - even though in early production failed to communicate what the series was about or excite anyone that wasn't already fan
- The Kickstarter Trailer featured a main character that was unrecognizable to the fans.
- Banners used neon colored dropshadows and looked extremely crude.
- The Website (shenmue.info) is an unusable mess, without any significant content.
- The initial reward structure was heavily flawed (with huge gaps between significant pledge points.)
- The final reward structure is heavily flawed with far too many entries, which created more confusion in the end.
- Adding additional rewards using the same Kickstarter account was impossible to the end despite the community pleading for add-ons.
- None of the Kickstarter Goals ever got explained on Kickstarter - which again posed a problem for more casual backers.
- There was no communication regarding building momentum to reach a certain goal, and no communication congratulating the community on having reached a certain goals at times.
- Instead what we got as "information" we had to aggregate between a Famitsu interview, a Reddit AMA and a Faq - ourselves, project management didn't.
- The AMA on Reddit was botched with the management misplacing an account password, or not setting up analytics properly, or not authenticating the account with reddits AMA team (probably) and having to switch reddit threads mid conversation.
- After concentrated confusion about what the backing goals where the Kickstarter Team released the entire list as a whole - without contextualizing the goals.
- In the first few days they managed to produce the rumor, that the project was mainly funded by Sony, then did not react to it. The rumor then got picked up by internet media.
- When everyone was complaining about their lackluster reward structure, they added very limited high roller rewards as a reaction, which mostly sold out within a day - producing some resentment in the process.
- Funding goals sometimes got checked off hours after they were reached - without any comments.
- Produced video interviews, which first were hosted on Kickstarter - but then switched to youtube - hosting two versions of each and every one of them at all times - splitting the audience. We had to rey on the Dojo to provide is subtitled videos.
- The first twitch stream "for the fans" was a -likeable- disaster, featuring an odd mix of QVC presentation, scripted Q&A, reading out loud FAQ questions instead of posting them on the site, and failing to read a chat - also the video quality was abysmal - because they hadn't bothered testing the equipment
- Halfway through the Kickstarter they introduced a Poll for reward tiers - which went live with half the price brackets (which its main purpose in gauging the audience) missing.
- To get participation they bundled it with a "who is your favorite character" poll - which was so useless, they gladly featured it in a 30 Minute segment within the celebration stream - one week after they released the results to the public anyhow.
- The celebration stream began late "because of technical difficulties", then featured a 20 minute echo fest after one of the translators (one of which had a really hard time at producing english sentences), or one of the segment producers, presumably took off their headphones and turned on their speakers.
- The celebration stream then cut out because of a "power outage".
- The celebration stream then came back on late, because of a computer failure after the power outage.
- Once the celebration stream was back - they couldn't get the audio to play on both the fan reaction segment and the fan videos segment - but went through with them anyhow.
- During the celebration stream, which they said multiple times, was set in their "studio" - there was a nice interlude of construction site soundbits - while the video sound wasn't working for them, so at least there was some atmosphere they could talk over...
- They announced paypal in a half sentence somewhere in the last third of awful celebration Twitch stream - but made sure, that it WAS NOT UP, when all the "New video game record on Kickstarter" and "Shenmue Kickstarter finished" news articles went up. In fact it isn't even up as we speak.
- No updates reacting to the Kickstarter finishing. At all - much less in this record breaking way.


Now the campaign was successful in spite of AJ's all around awfulness. The fans stood up and got it done but no matter how proud I am of the community, as a huge Shenmue fan I want to see the series reach it's full potential. These errors ensured that money was left on the table and we were not able to maximize the momentum and goodwill of the fans.

Shenmue 3 is trending on Twitter right now. Are they capitalizing on this with post-funding Paypal options. NO! And we may not see an update until Tuesday. In the world of the internet this isn't acceptable.

Suzuki, Cedric and co do also need to take a share of the blame. After all they selected AJ and frankly should have held them to much higher standards.

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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby zema » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:50 pm

Yes you are right AJ were terrible.
However, i don't think we should worry about the campaign.
It's done, it's past, lets move on and celebrate the funding of Shenmue3.
We should concern ourselves with giving more money to ysnet through paypal.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby punkmanced » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:51 pm

I agree entirely with the OP.

...That being said, I'm feeling pretty f**king happy about the $6.3M that were raised in spite of the shitty campaign, and I'm still confident that the combination of Paypal (SlackerBacker) donations and additional investments (obtained/leveraged following the KS world records) will be anything but negligible.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby phinal » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:58 pm

Awesome Japan are not awsome at all. They are unprofessional and unreliable. You have said it all. The campaign is now over, its just time to wait and celebrate.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby Jibby » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:59 pm

Crudely made fan video?! Well I never!
Just kidding, if I knew it was going to be featured, I would have put a lot more into it.
Although I'm not sure it's necessary to make this topic. It's over now and we broke records. We're getting a fleshed out Shenmue game and that's all that matters.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby Bambi » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:01 pm

I think it's definitely true that the KS did well in spite of AJ rather than because of it. The funding thus far was a success because of 3 things, the annoucement at E3, the fact that Shenmue cliffhanger has become the stuff of gaming legend and lastly this community and its voracious desire to fund the project.

I'm annoyed that AJ hasn't had the forsight to release the Shenmue Paypal options now and strike while the iron is hot but I have faith that the community both will pick up the slack once again.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby Mr357 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:02 pm

I still can't help but laugh at Joel Tess. Awesome Japan did poorly, but I hold no grudge against them.

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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby Shenhua-Nani? » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:03 pm

I have a feeling they weren't expecting such an esplosive reaction from the gaming world and thus set a low funding goal, and hired a low cost kickstarter team.

Can you really blame Them though? raise your hand if you ever thought Shenmue could break 2 kickstarter records and get such big exposure after 14 years in the coffin.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby code l name » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:06 pm

Jibby wrote: Crudely made fan video?! Well I never!
Just kidding, if I knew it was going to be featured, I would have put a lot more into it.
Although I'm not sure it's necessary to make this topic. It's over now and we broke records. We're getting a fleshed out Shenmue game and that's all that matters.


That was quoted from another user and that's not a slight against you. However Suzuki supposedly knew about KickStarter for last 3 years so this wasn't just thrust upon him.

The fact AJ had to rely on a fan-made video to explain what the game was I think speaks volumes to the fact they had zero media strategy or a plan in place.

I'm just glad they didn't use your video with that voice-over but that would have gone nicely with all their other awful dubbed videos.

I think for fans it's absolutely fair we look back at the campaign. No one is disputing the campaign didn't break records or that we aren't getting Shenmue III. The question is how much more could we have gotten with a better run campaign and competent people at the helm.
Last edited by code l name on Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby phinal » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:07 pm

Shenhua-Nani? wrote:
Can you really blame Them though? raise your hand if you ever thought Shenmue could break 2 kickstarter records and get such big exposure after 14 years in the coffin.

Many expected this.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby elfshadowreaper » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:12 pm

Sadly their resume will still read "Lead most successful video game Kickstarter ever." The Kickstarter performed very well but we'll never know how much better it could have been.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby Mr357 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:12 pm

Shenhua-Nani? wrote: I have a feeling they weren't expecting such an esplosive reaction from the gaming world and thus set a low funding goal, and hired a low cost kickstarter team.

Can you really blame Them though? raise your hand if you ever thought Shenmue could break 2 kickstarter records and get such big exposure after 14 years in the coffin.


They got the last word (or close enough to it) on Sony's E3 stage. Hundreds of thousands of people saw it and every big video game "journalism" site quickly covered it. Exposure hasn't been an issue; it was always interest.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby NeoShredder » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:12 pm

The reason I can see for Awesome Japan being hired is because Kenji Itoso, the new video director for Shenmue III, has had his previous projects, Coluboccoro, and a making of thing for his previous work, Santa Company successfully pitched and funded on Kickstarter campaigns run by Awesome Japan. Seems like that's the link here.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby punkmanced » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:20 pm

Jibby wrote:
Crudely made fan video?! Well I never!
Just kidding, if I knew it was going to be featured, I would have put a lot more into it.


LOL!
If it hadn’t been for you, there never would have been a KS video in the first place!

Anyway, I don't think anyone here holds a grudge against AJ, as people. Even Tess, who's become a legend in the Shenmue community (albeit for the wrong reasons), still seems like a good dude.
They're just a sh*tty company. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Re: AwesomeJapan - postmortem performance

Postby Riku Rose » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:24 pm

I think Awesome Japan actually hurt the campaign. Things mentioned above like the Sony funding should have been put to bed within hours and not weeks. It felt like no preparation had gone into making the campaign at all past writing up the Kickstarter page and interviewing 5 people. I honestly think you could have just put up a page with a title just saying Shenmue III and got the same amount of money.

The thing that leaves me thinking is how much more money could have been made if you had a competent team. If Yu had been on every E3 livestream and interviewed by every video game website (rather then just Japanese ones or that French guy). Had decent livestreams and let's plays every week. Just clearer messaging alone would have been better.

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