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Less than half of Kickstarter's game projects have succeeded - report
Less than half of Kickstarter's game projects have succeeded - report
June 11, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Though Kickstarter is seen by many small and indie developers as a great way to finance game projects that might otherwise have trouble picking up a publisher, less than half of them have reached their funding goals.

The crowdfunding platform has received plenty of press in recent months after high-profile projects from developers like Double Fine, InXile Entertainment (Wasteland 2), and Harebrained Schemes (Shadowrun Returns) managed to raise millions from fans on Kickstarter.

But those successes might have overshadowed the many Kickstarter campaigns that have failed. Appsblogger scraped all of the campaigns posted on the service, and published an infographic showing that only 43 percent of the 1,729 game projects (includes board and card games) submitted to Kickstarter have succeeded.

Taking into account live campaigns that are still accepting donations, likely close to half of game projects were unable to hit their goals. That percentage would be higher than Kickstarter's average: half of the platform's 45,815 submitted projects have succeeded, while 41.3 percent have failed.

Games are the fourth least successful project type (out of 13). However, the Games category is the fourth largest in terms of money raised ($22.7 million), behind Design, Music, and Film & Video. And it's the third most popular in terms of backers who've pledged money to projects (449,562), following Music and Film & Video.

Appsblogger also found that successful projects in general tend to have shorter durations (average of 38 days, versus an average of 43 days for failed projects). The pledge target for the average successful campaign ($5,487) is much lower than the average for failed ones ($16,635).

As for projects that manage to not only reach their donation goal but more than double it -- as was the case with Double Fine, InXile, and Harebrained -- those successes are rare. Only 8.5 percent of funded campaigns have received more than double their initial target.

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John Tynes
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This is presented in a pessimistic light, but I actually think this is outstanding. Two years ago almost none of these projects would have gotten published.

Aaron Fowler
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I absolutely agree. If people believe in what you are doing, and you show them that you are at least capable of delivering it, they will support it.

Dave Smith
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only 43%?! are you kidding me? thats great.

Joel S
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"Less than half of Kickstarter's game projects have succeeded - report "


"Almost half of Kickstarter's game projects have succeeded - report "

Ron Dippold
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If I'm reading this properly it's 'failed to fund'. Which is certainly interesting, since Kickstarter semi-hides the failed to fund projects, but what I was really interested in was how many got funded then failed to deliver. I do realize that info is much much harder to get.

Rik Spruitenburg
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I agree. I know we will find out about the high profile ones, but if the average is $5,487 then we have a lot of low profile projects getting funded. How many ever produce anything? How many even ship the t-shirts?

Kim Simmons
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I think the delivery rate is where kickstarter's achilles heel for games might be. If people get suspicious and don't believe that any game that gets their funding will actually provide a game, it'll kill the naivity of the kickstarter funders and likely end the "golden age" of kickstarter's game funding.

Alan Burke
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43% success rate is incredibly high if you look at the ROI that these investors have. These investors have no guarantee that the game will actually get finished and most times simply receive a copy of the game for their investment. If the game takes a development turn that they don't like, they can't recoup their investment. The resale market for games is significantly lower than the purchase price, when such markets even exist.

All in all, I think this article shows the tremendous success of the Kickstarter campaigns.

Also, if you look at this another way, Kickstarter is a useful early warning tool on your game concept. For those 57% that can't get funded, they received invaluable information. The market, for whatever reason, isn't interested enough in your gaming concept to fund it. Maybe your game concept needs significant retooling if it wants to be profitable.

Frankie Kang
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Out of curiosity, how many console games even break even these days? I'm sure it's a lot less than 43% across the board.

The Le
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The problem is the blantant abuse by high profile companies that don't need the funding. Steve Jackson Games' OGRE is a prime example -- a multi-million dollar company asking for kickstarter funding is just bullsht. And to add insult to injury, they're releasing this August, which tells me they've been working on Ogre for at least 8 months now, well before they decided to abuse kickstarter to beg for money.

Kyle Redd
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I think you have a point, and yet, what do you propose should be done about it? There have certainly been many Kicksterter projects from small, zero-profile developers who were in the same position as Steve Jackson Games was - having a game that does not need additional funding but going to Kickstarter anyway. Are those smaller devs less malicious in their behavior?

Ron Dippold
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Well, if people really want to throw money at them then I don't see it as a huge problem. It's not a zero-sum thing. For some people, if they give $10 here then maybe they don't give $10 there, but I dole it out of the entertainment fund, which maybe means $10 less for movies.

Maybe SJG doesn't /need/ to Kickstart, but if they can Kickstart and people are happy to fund them and they supply what they promised is there really any harm in that? At least I think SJG can deliver, and I don't think their Kickstarter is causing others to go unfunded.

Andy Baio
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It's not abuse at all. Blockbuster projects drive significant money to smaller projects, as Double Fine's project did earlier this year:

Joe Wreschnig
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@The Le,

Did you actually watch the Ogre Kickstarter video? They explained exactly how long they've been working on it (since 2008) and how many copies they could do without Kickstarter (3000). Each Kickstarter milestone was associated with a specific thing they could fund in addition to their original plan - better components, more units, more scenarios, more copies, localization.

Tyler King
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I wouldn't call it abuse as many people who fund projects like this are really just pre-ordering the game, there is nothing wrong this. It's also nice as an "investor" to be able to invest into a game that already has a good amount of work done, it gives me a lot more confidence dumping money into a project. If anything I think more companies should be further along in their project before they go asking for money.

Duong Nguyen
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That's about the right odds, about only 1/2 of commercial projects also finish. Making a game or any product isn't easy even if your funded.

Edit: opps misread, still it's impressive percentage that get funding vs traditional methods.

Kevin Reilly
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That's a better rate of success than submitting to traditional publishers.

Mike Weldon
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Making games is hard, no matter where the funding comes from.

Kostas Yiatilis
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This is good news, it means that not everything is funded, meaning people do look at what they are funding. The issue would be if only half delivered, but then again with so many cancelled and failed titles in the traditional, publisher led, industry half would still be impressive.

Let's face it if a project fails and you are one of the guys that gave a thousand or 10 thousand bucks you will be bummed out, but the rest who supported by pledging 10$ or 25$, won't even remember they funded something a year ago...

Let's wait and see. I am pretty optimistic, when people are given their chance to work on their dream project, they have motivation to succeed, it might not be enough, but it's important.

Kostas Yiatilis
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Also considering the other article that talks about 20mil. being pledged on games through kickstarter, even if 10 games come out that is a record in comparison to the industry. They spend 50 mil on developing a new COD (and 200mil on promoting it), getting 10 fresh and unique games with half of that just shows what can be done with so much money.

Daniele Giardini
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Wow, Eric, I don't know how you can see it so pessimistically. I would've thought 10% of success would've been great, but: 43%??? Awesome! And "only 8.5 percent of funded campaigns have received more than double their initial target"... that looks a low percentage to you?
Seriously, I'm not saying this offensively. I just wonder why you seem so pessimistic. Something else must be in your mind about Kickstarter, and I'd be curious to know what. Maybe you should expand this article.