The massive YouTuber deciding to do a video playthrough of the horror game shot it from obscurity into millions of viewers.
Creator Joe Chang, however, hadn’t planned things that way, but he considers the bump a testament to one of the other reasons indie developers turn to Kickstarter: marketing.
"The plan for the Kickstarter was heavily around the marketing side of things," Chang explains. "We decided to approach a few different channels at once – reaching out to press for previews and to Youtubers at the same time we launched the Kickstarter."
Kickstarter, for Chang, became another tool in his arsenal rather than a focal point for making Phantasmal possible. It was accopmanied by his delving into the lengthy slog of contacting press and YouTubers one at a time.
"It was very much a scattershot approach and to just see who’d come back to us," he adds. "We were just very fortunate that PewDiePie was one of them."
"The vast majority (I’d say 98%) either ignored us or just said ‘no’."
Chang’s team, like many of the smallest indies, is made up of half a dozen people who currently have either full or part time jobs. Living expenses are their number one concern, and the Kickstarter’s modest ask certainly isn’t going to change that. It all helps, but Chang says that for him it was more about creating awareness.
"We were mindful that we weren’t Tim Schafer or any of these other guys," Chang continues. "We were nobody, so [the Kickstarter] was there as a marketing vehicle."
There is no silver bullet, and Chang and his team are still slogging through rejection after rejection one cold email at a time.
"A lot of [YouTubers] don’t even have emails," he adds, "so I couldn’t mass mail a lot of them. I’m still doing it. I’m still going through the YouTube channels looking for emails for thones that I don’t have listed already."
"But it’s cool. It’s the life of an indie I guess. We just have to work our guts out and just see where it gets us."