A small crowdfunded survival game has become an enormous Kickstarter success thanks to the magic of Harry Potter. And also Google.
Day of Dragons from new developer Beawesome Games launched its modest funding campaign on 2nd September. It asked for $12k.
"Have you ever thought it'd be cool to play as a Dragon? How about online with other players who are also Dragons?" the game's campaign page reads. "Have you ever thought, it'd be cool to breathe fire, fly, survive as a Dragon? Welcome to Day of Dragons."
Over the first 48 hours, the campaign raised $1300. Things looked pretty good, although interest had begun to... tail off.
And then Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, from Pokémon Go maker Niantic, launched its "Day of the Dragons" in-game event. Suddenly, a lot of people were searching for the term on Google. And Day of Dragons' Kickstarter page became its top search result.
As industry analyst Thomas Bidaux noted, 7th September - the day of Niantic's event - saw Day of Dragons rake in $13k on Kickstarter, more than enough to hit the campaign's month-long target on a single day.
September 7th, Harry Potter Wizards unites launches the Day of Dragons event.— Thomas Bidaux ? ?? (@icotom) October 10, 2019
The KS campaign through SEO is the first result on Google... and raises k that day alone. pic.twitter.com/ObuKD0mm0T
By the time the month was up, Day of Dragons had raised $500k, 41 times its initial target.
It's fair to say the developer was happy by the response - though it has not publicly thanked Harry Potter for lending a helping hand.
"Thank you all so much for your amazing support to our game. Wow," lead developer Jonathan "Jao" Slabaugh wrote. "$500k?? That's unbelievable. We only asked for $12k! We never asked for this! You all are so incredibly generous. Thank you so much.
"I wasn't even sure if $12k was asking too much but that's what I needed to get three new dragons added to replace the current three, each of which was made by a different artist. This is our first game, we never thought there were so many people out there who shared our vision, our desire for a game like this.
"I didn't start this project to make money, I started it because it was something I always wanted to do. After my Dad passed away of cancer during Christmas of 2016, I decided to chase after my childhood dream of making a video game. A lot of friends and family thought I was wasting my time, I'd work 10-16 hours each day learning the engine and coding while time just passed me by with no pay. But I was determined to get it to a playable state, and release it on Steam in November in Early Access, then let gamers decide if it was a waste of time or not."
Day of Dragons launches on Steam in early access on 21st November.