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Kickstarter success rate for games even lower than initially reported
Kickstarter success rate for games even lower than initially reported
June 21, 2012 | By Eric Caoili




Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has released internal data showing that game projects have one of the lowest success rates on the service, with only a third of them hitting their pledge goals.

That's significantly lower than the success rate previously reported by Appsblogger, which scraped data from Kickstarter's campaigns to determine how projects are faring on the platform (unlike Appsblogger's infographic, Kickstarter's charts do not include active campaigns).

It was previously believed that the success rate for the games category, which also includes board and card games in addition to video games, was around 43 percent -- a number of developers have pointed out that this is higher than what they expected, and can be a higher than rate than submitting games to a publisher.

The average success rate for all 13 project types on Kickstarter is 44 percent -- the only categories with lower success rates than games are fashion, publishing, and technology.

Kickstarter's data also showed that of the nearly 700 game campaigns that have hit their funding goals, 95 percent of them were targeting less than $100,000. Three developers have made brought in over a million on the platform so far: Double Fine, InXile Entertainment (Wasteland 2), and Harebrained Schemes (Shadowrun Returns).

Successfully funded game projects have so far raised $26.4 million on Kickstarter, one of the highest totals out of all the categories, behind design, music, and film and video.


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Comments


Carl Chavez
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If people would stop launching overpriced projects and have something to show, then their success rate would go up. For example, Starfarer, FTL, and Malevolence all had gameplay videos or even downloadable demos, and they all asked for under $25,000 so they could polish their engines. People are more likely to support a project with both tangible progress and a reasonable goal.

As Kickstarter's data shows, many of the high-profile failures were from projects where the asked amount was over $100k. If you're going to ask for over $100k and not even have gameplay video or a downloadable demo, then expect to fail.

Cody Scott
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on top of that ive seen a guy who wants to make an "indie console" and wants to allow it to play nintendo roms as well as asking for an absurd amount for his system that did not have the graphic capabilities of the n64. and would face a law suit right out of the gate.

i think the smart limit is show what you have so far to prove you are actually capable for you plan and then ask for something around $25,000- $45k. Use unity and if you are like me and refuse to use blender explain that you need the money for the proper software license.

generally ive seen the bad ideas fail while the great ideas succeed. Kickstarter even says show gameplay video and your actual product if you want to succeed.

Evan Combs
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There is much more to it than having something to show and a reasonable goal.

Carl Chavez
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@Evan: yes, of course. For example, it helps to get the word out about your project into a social network, and it really helps to keep the funders updated with news so they stay motivated for spreading the word. Another example is to have a member forum so people feel like they can contribute to the project in their own ways, and to be active in responding to their questions and requests. I'm sure there are other ways to improve one's success with Kickstarter funding.

Rather than just saying there's much more to it, perhaps you'd like to contribute some of your ideas?

Cody Scott
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@Evan I agree with everything carl just said. If you look at the successful projects compared to the failures. Most failures did very little to keep there backers in the loop.

The Le
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>>on top of that ive seen a guy who wants to make an "indie console" and wants to
>>allow it to play nintendo roms as well as asking for an absurd amount for his system that >>did not have the graphic capabilities of the n64. and would face a law suit right out of
>>the gate.

My understanding is that the technology that powers the NES and GENESIS are no longer copyrighted and therefore in public domain. So you could actually make a machine that runs NES cartridges legally.

Craig Timpany
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One third still sounds spectacularly high. Which other methods of project funding have a success rate that high? I wonder what percentage deliver the promised product?

Joseph Anthony B. A. Tanimowo-Reyes
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Actually, funnily enough, I looked over the less-frequented site IndieGoGo, and about 44.8% of game projects launched there hit their goals (with most failures not having any backers at all). Note that IndieGoGo even allows for personal things such as "help me repair my PS3" (which, of course, got nary a cent).

Jakub Majewski
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Joseph - that's true. However, how much did the highest successful game project on IndieGoGo collect? From what I've seen, most projects there don't ask for more than twenty thousand dollars. It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone tried - maybe they would have as much success as on Kickstarter, but I have the feeling that at this moment, Kickstarter has an unbeatable advantage, simply because these things snowball. Double Fine, Wasteland 2, these are projects which created huge interest in Kickstarter, and have hugely increased the probability that someone looking for a significant chunk of money will first look to Kickstarter.

Joseph Anthony B. A. Tanimowo-Reyes
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About $90K, actually. That said, what you say is true - most successes are small. But it's the best option for non-Americans who want crowdfunding.

Matt Cratty
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And of those 1/3 I cannot imagine that more than 10 percent will actually be worth the fuss.

THAT is the concern I have.

What happens when these funded games start releasing and 7-9 out of ten of them are disappointing?

Let's say that even half of them are disappointing, I still think that's going to create an arid climate for video game funding on the platform.

I hope it works out differently, and that all the really cool ideas turn out to be brilliant or even acceptable.

Michael Joseph
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but most of the funders are getting the digital download for half the release price so they're getting a deep discount and their funding the games that they want to see made. I think that aspect is too often overlooked. Kick funders are looking for botique titles that the mainstream publishing model is not providing [enough of]. Until that changes, I think kickstarter game projects will continue to have relatively good successful funding rates.

Jorge Ramos
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Kick starter was never meant to be a replacement for the publisher-developer model... but rather an alternative.

However, I do agree with others... seems most of the ones that did fail were those that didn't have some kind of thought-out plan, or a look that any work was done toward achieving the goal. That said, it's cool that Kick starter has helped at least some plans get off the ground and rolling toward release.

Daniele Giardini
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Gamasutra published 4 articles concerning Kickstarter, written by Gamasutra's News Editors. Two of them were focused on new alternatives to it, while the other two (this one and the previous) were incredibly one-sided. Maybe it's the terrible heat here that's confusing me, and I'm sorry if I'm being rough, but it's starting to look as Gamasutra is being payed by Kickstarter's competition to write articles against it.
I'm not a fan of Kickstarter. They're obviously just a business, and not benefactors. That's not the point at all. The point is that I like Gamasutra, and I think it deserves news that don't look like inverse-advertising. Leave that to the blogs.

The Le
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I would hardly call this article anti-kickstarter. This article falls under "factual analysis" than bias.

Rob Schutz
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Really interested to see the results of this survey - my feeling is that people donate more based on wanting to be part of the game design process and watch it grow than for the rewards/trinkets. It feels good to be part of a community and Kickstarter does a good job of giving a behind the scenes look - that makes people feel included and unique.


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