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How Jon Hare's Sociable Soccer went from Kickstarter flop to Steam Early Access


On 12th November 2015, Jon Hare launched a Kickstarter for Sociable Soccer, the spiritual successor to the classic football game he designed 25 years ago. Hoping to ride the crest of a wave of nostalgia for Sensible Soccer, Jon Hare asked for £300,000.

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Jon Hare, designer of Sensible Soccer and Sociable Soccer.

On 26th November 2015, just 14 days later, Hare canned the Sociable Soccer Kickstarter after just £32,498 was pledged. It was a complete and utter flop.

And yet, Sociable Soccer lives. In fact, it’s out very soon on Steam as an Early Access title. This fast-paced football game has survived the cancellation of its Kickstarter and the difficult questions about the audience demand for a Sociable Soccer-esque game it sparked. But how? Determination and, of course, money.

Hare today admits the mistakes he made with the Sociable Soccer Kickstarter. The short pitch video, below, featured not enough gameplay and too much Jon Hare talking to camera, he tells Eurogamer. It was all a bit of a rush.

“We started working on the game in the October, and we had to make a decision: did we go with a Kickstarter very fast, pre-Christmas, or wait until the January afterwards?” Hare says.

“Our decision was, because we had some momentum go early, which we knew was a big risk. We put the best video together we could with what little stuff we had.”

By day three Hare knew the Sociable Soccer Kickstarter was a failure. A Kickstarter expert had advised that if Sociable Soccer failed to get 20 per cent of its target in three days, it would fail. On day three, Sociable Soccer wasn’t even close to 20 per cent.

“Actually, we were a little bit unlucky on the second day was when that big Paris bombing happened,” Hare counters. “I was meant to do a big interview with Sky that second day to try to get those early numbers up. So we lost momentum there, but you can’t put it all down to that.”