As we mentioned a couple of days ago, we have some very big plans for the coming year or so for us here at Vita Player. While we don’t want to reveal everything just yet one thing that we do know is that some of it is going to be an uphill struggle for us. As you all know, Vita Player is a non-profit making website and for the last year has been funded from our own pockets. None of our growing team get paid for their work on the site and everything that we do is done in our spare time.
While we try to review as many games as we can on the site across a range of Vita-friendly formats, we seldom receive review copies unlike the “mainstream” press and this adds to the pressures faced by all of us here. If we want to cover the latest games, then it’s up to us to go out and buy them and with three of our team dealing with long-term unemployment and a fourth in temporary employment that can make things somewhat difficult at times so we have to pick and choose what we can and can’t cover!
Right now, the site has virtually no income to speak of (our Amazon adverts have generated very little for us to-date) but we still have running costs associated with running a website with continuous traffic and repeat visitors but we want to expand the work we are doing and enhance our coverage while still ensuring that we can maintain the standards we have done to date which is why we have launched this fundraising campaign through the community crowdfunding site Go Fund Me.
We’re sure that you will have questions about this campaign so we’ve tried to cover these below so you will know why we are seeking your help…
What do we need?
There’s no way of getting around the fact that running a site like Vita Player costs money. At it’s most basic level, we have our annual domain name registration that needs to be renewed alongside our hosting package. While this is all that we need to keep the site live, we want to go beyond this to make the site as good as we can for everyone which is why we are running this. The very nature of Go Fund Me allows us to receive donations as they come in rather than have us set a goal and then not receive anything until this target is reached. The benefit for us is that we can make use of donations straight away to improve the website and for those of you who decide to help us here at Vita Player, you will see a real impact that your donation has made immediately.
At present, our website hosting / domain name package costs us approximately £100 per year. This provides us with a near unlimited capacity in terms of storage and in handling visitors to the site. However, we would like to take this a step further and order additional domain names registered to the site. For approximately £30 more per year we can order .com .net .org and additional names for the site to increase our online visibility.
GamesPress is a videogames media resource site that we use to gather news and information for the site. We have a premium account for the site which allows us to obtain additional screenshots, news and images that we don’t normally obtain access to. The cost of this varies depending on our needs, but typically costs between £5 and £10 per month.
We have run several competitions on the website to win digital and retail games for PlayStation Mobile and PlayStation Vita but we want to extend this further. To date, these prizes have been provided by software publishers or our Site Editor but we’d like to be able to run a monthly competition offering a full retail game. To do this, we would like to set aside a competition budget of between £20 and £30 per month allowing us to purchase a brand new full price game to give away.
As every PlayStation Vita owner knows, storage for games comes at a premium. As gamers, we struggle to find space to store our games on and this makes reviewing games difficult. As larger games are available, we either can’t purchase them for downloading or have to put some reviews on hold as we simply don’t have the card capacity to have all our current reviews downloaded at once. What we want to do is to ensure that our team have at least one 64Gb memory card each and for those who specialise in reviews of smaller PlayStation Mobile games, additional 4Gb cards. At the current rate on eBay, we anticipate that we could import 5 64Gb cards for £400.
Games and PlayStation Network Cards
To enable us to keep up with games for review, we need to work on the assumption that we will not be supplied with complimentary review copies. Bearing that in mind, we need to look at ways of ensuring that our team have a steady flow of games to review. While we are striving to review the Vita’s back catalogue of games, to make the site viable we also need to cover new titles. In light of this, we want to aim to provide PlayStation Network top-up cards to our team on a semi-regular basis and if funds allow, occasional retail games as well.
One thing that we want to focus on with the website is to cover as many games as possible for the site and to keep costs down for our team. The best way for us to do this is through the use of PlayStation Plus. What we would hope to do is ensure that all of our writers have access to this so we would want to budget for all our staff to have annual PS+ subscriptions, at a total cost of £200.
A final bonus enhancement for our work… To-date we haven’t been able to cover any of the major UK gaming events and this is something we want to move into for 2014. Financially, this is something that is difficult for us as a team. Three of our team are long term unemployed with a fourth in temporary employment. Ideally we would like to be able to set aside funds to send one or two team members along to one or two events a year, covering basic expenses, to ensure that we can bring readers the event coverage that they want to see. While we can not put an exact figure on this, we would estimate that a typical show would cost no more than £200 for two of our team including travel and basic accommodation.
How will I know how my donation has been used?
Here on the site we will provide our site visitors with an accurate breakdown of all the donations we have received for the site – whether it has been privately, through Go Fund Me or other sources, anything we have received from advertising on the website and where money has been spent. You will be able to tell at a glance exactly how much we have left in the website’s “budget” and if we have surplus money available after essential running costs are covered, we’ll even open this budget up for you, our site visitors, to suggest ways we can use this money to improve the site!
Will I remain anyonymous?
Go Fund Me will let us know who has donated to the campaign and it is our intention – as part of the section on the website providing a detailed breakdown of where the donations are used on the website – to thank all our donors personally – but if you want to keep your donation private just let us know.
What will I get in return?
We can’t provide any goodies or gifts in return for any donations that you may be able to make towards the costs of running Vita Player. However, we do want to use all the donations to make the website bigger and better so you’ll know that your contribution will play an important part in this.
As I have said, all donors will be publicly acknowledged on the website, and we want to make the website as interactive as possible and depending on the level of your donations, we want to give YOU a direct say in the type of content that will appear online. If there are products that you would like to see reviewed on the site, we’ll let you guide the content on the site as one of our funders. Also, as our funding levels increase, we will invest more money into competition prizes and naturally these competitions will be open to all our site visitors!
How long do we need donations for?
Being completely honest, we want to keep the Vita Player website running indefinitely so ideally we want to keep this fundraiser running as long as possible. Some aspects of this campaign are more critical to the site than others so naturally we will prioritise if funds that we receive (if any!) are limited. However, if you do donate and want your donation to go towards something specific, please let us know and we’ll make sure that it doesn’t go towards anything else.
What if you don’t raise anything or meet any of the targets you have set?
Don’t worry, Vita Player won’t disappear overnight! We’re still committed to the website and bringing you the best news and review coverage that we possibly can for the PlayStation Vita but we will just have to work within the boundaries of what we can afford to do as individuals within our own personal budgets.
What if you exceed your targets?
We will look at investing the funds further into the website. As I mentioned earlier, if we have surplus money available after essential running costs are covered, we’ll open this budget up for you, our site visitors, to suggest ways we can use this money to improve the site! We would also like to use some of these funds to invest in the development of PS Vita games that are looking for revenue through crowdfunding means or assisting developers who are trying to bring their games to PS Vita or PlayStation Mobile.
I’d like to thank you for your time for reading this and we hope that you’ll be able to help us. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch and please take a look at the campaign at Vita Player Go Fund Me Fundraising Campaign. If you’re not able to donate, please share the link on Twitter, Facebook or any other social networks you are on to show your support so we can make Vita Player the best site we possibly can.
Site Editor, Vita Player