Greetings, Chip Theory faithful!
Josh (Ghillie) here, doing my best to avoid writing what at this point could feel like one of the million other “What we’re doing about the coronavirus/COVID-19” messages. While those are important, and certainly justified, the truth of the matter is that like everyone else, we’re over here doing the best we can, with most of us working from home. We should note that thus far, everyone on the Chip Theory team (including extended family) is healthy, safe, and no worse for wear (aside from the cabin fever associated with working from home…and it’s only day three of that…yikes).
What we really want this message to be about is the future of Chip Theory, our upcoming Kickstarter, and our general unwillingness to let this pandemic get us down. Here’s what that looks like.
First of all, let me say that we are so thankful for all of your support. CTG, unlike many retailers and other indie publishers, is in a very strong and healthy place financially. Sales via our website, even during this first big week of what feels like catastrophic shutdowns, have continued to be quite strong, which has kept us upbeat and optimistic in the midst of all this social distancing. So we say with the utmost confidence that CTG will still be around when all of this is over. We appreciate the many who have commented or reached out with concerns for us and our employees. Thanks to years of prudent and financially smart decisions, along with a few lucky crit dice rolls, we are blessed to be able to weather a storm like this.
Second, we have a Kickstarter for new Cloudspire content and a Cloudspire reprint coming on April 14! There’s a ton of chatter around Facebook groups and the board game community regarding delaying a crowdfunding campaign during this epidemic. A quick look at trends shows games taking in anywhere from 30-50% less on average. Folks are even questioning the ethics/morality of asking for funding during a time when many are struggling to be able to work and purchase essentials. These are important things to examine, and examine them we have. At the end of the day, however, we reached one simple conclusion.
The show must go on.
We are officially moving forward with the Cloudspire Kickstarter on April 14, viruses be darned. For better or worse, we’re keeping our games moving forward, even if it means running our campaign from the safety of our homes. We’ll be extending the significant shipping savings now available on our website ($10 max USA, and $20 max Europe) onto Kickstarter for the first time ever, as well! Given the bundle discounts and fees that come alongside Kickstarter campaigns, this is a major step for us, and hopefully a welcome benefit for backers.
Our reasoning is twofold. First of all, Kickstarter/crowdfunding accounts for up to 50% of our annual revenue. We depend on Kickstarter campaigns to keep the wheels turning and our business healthy. Delaying the campaign delays critical funding for us to continue making games, paying our employees, and printing or reprinting valuable inventory for our website and conventions, which is obviously the other 50% of our revenue. For this reason, the show must go on.
Second, we’re gamemakers! This is what we do. We exist to bring fun, joy, wonder and entertainment to our customers. In our estimation, that’s needed more than ever right now with a news cycle flooded with bad news and fear. The only way we know how to beat back that bad news and fear is to keep on keeping on, making beautiful and creative products for customers to enjoy. We hope customers will view our decision to press on in this light, as opposed to seeing it as greed or in bad taste. If folks can’t afford to jump in on the Cloudspire campaign in April, the campaign will still allow us to print inventory that will be waiting for them when things settle down and all of our finances are in a little bit better shape.
We hope that all of you are safe, well, and doing everything in your power to #stayhome. This *will* blow over. Things *will* get better. We are *all* in this together.
– Ghillie, on behalf of all of us at CTG
In the meantime, how are we spending our time staying busy during all this quarantine/work from home business? We asked our team:
Josh Carlson: Slay the Spire. Which in fairness is the same thing I’ve basically been doing for the past year. Still trying to clear pesky Ascension Level 18 with the Defect…I…can’t…do…it!!!
Adam Carlson: Been teaching my eight year old daughter to play the Pokémon CCG, but I am the one getting schooled! Good grief.
Jeremy Scott (Support Specialist Team): Chipping away at my 750+ film watch list. Working through a bunch of French New Wave at the moment, also playing some Warhammer: Vermintide 2.
Ryan Howard (Editing/Writing): Editing podcasts and catching up on my unread comics collection.
Melonie Lavely (Pre-press/Project Management): Turning my Jamaica vacation into Quarantinecation 2020! It will be EPIC! No outside contact for at least a week. Lots of board games, video games, and naps…epic…
Ghillie (Annoying): I’ve been investigating the benefits of potentially sending in my Nintendo 64 for an HDMI mod to allow for 480p output to complete my HD Retro gaming setup (alongside my awesome FPGA retro consoles). The mod requires a lot of soldering which would make it really tough to do on my own, but sending it away to be modded is expensive so obviously there’s a lot of decisions to be made here. And don’t even get me started on the durability of N64 controllers/analog joysticks as it relates to the long term viability of N64 as a platform. On the other hand N64 is a notoriously difficult to emulate console so the odds of ever being able to perfectly play classic N64 games like Glover, Buck Bumble, and Superman via another platform feel very slim at the moment, but then again who even knows at this point.
Amanda Gehrke (Support Specialist): I am planning to start half a dozen craft projects, only to set them aside, thus adding them to my ever growing collection of half-finished projects…
Shannon Wedge (HR/Rules Specialist): I’ve been begging internet strangers to play online board games with me. Also finishing a video game. Literally any video game.
Andrew Chesney (Operations): I am currently plotting on how to break into Disneyland. The lines are very short right now. Oh and learning how to parent by teaching the dog if it doesn’t stop whining it has to go to the cage for a time out.