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August 22, 2019
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Crowdfunding and Video Games: 2019 Mid-Year Update

by Thomas Bidaux on 07/15/19 10:40:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

As is now the ritual, I have done a deep dive into the Kickstarter data we gather and put together some notes for you to look at how well video games are doing for the first half of 2019. As a reminder, I use the word “semester” for half years.

Video Games on Kickstarter in 2019 so far

The first half of 2019 was the best semester for crowdfunded games on Kickstarter since 2015. And while the numbers stayed within the same range, this is again a testimony to the place that Kickstarter has found within the industry. The total number of projects submitted to the platform has gone done, the lowest since the first half of 2013. The number of funded projects however has gone up. It is the highest semester for number of funded video games projects since 2016. The ratio of successfully funded project is 28%, the highest it has ever been since the launch of the Double Fine Adventure campaign and the first surge of video games campaigns on the platform. Fewer studios try to get crowdfunded, but a higher number of projects succeed, showing the maturity of the platform after 10 years, and the tail end of the potato salad effect. Looking at projects per tier of money amount raised:

  • Half the money raised in H1 was by $500,000+ projects.
  • A high number of projects (22) raised between $50,000 and $100,000 so far this year.
  • Half the projects have raised less than $10,000.

Looking at the share of the total amount raised each year depending on the currency of the project shows a very interesting trend for 2019 so far: for the first time, the projects in USD represent less than half of the total amount raised.

Notable video game projects

Looking at the top 4 projects of 2019 so far is quite interesting.

Subverse - $2,192,000 (GBP campaign)

  • Largest campaign in 2019 so far, it has an adult theme that drew 58,000+ backers. It is making the 13th most backed video game on kickstarter.
  • 53% of the backers are first time backers.
  • Almost 8% of the backers are from… China. This is the only project I have seen on Kickstarter that any significant backers from China.

Firmament - $1,433,000 (USD campaign)

  • The second campaign for Cyan Worlds, their first campaign had raised $2.8m.
  • With an initial very high goal of $1,250,000, it managed to reach it just two days before the end.
  • Considering how successful the Myst campaign had been, it is surprising to see 14% of the backers were first backers. I would have expected a lower ratio.
  • The total number of backers for firmament (18.4k) is close to the number of backers for Myst (19.3k)

R-Type Final 2 - $913,000 (JPY campaign)

  • The campaign only lasted eight days, making its performance even more notable. Shorter campaigns is a current trend for tabletop games, this is the first significant video game campaign trying this. I do not think this is actually a good strategy though, I will see if I can explain this further in a follow up blog post.
  • 60% of the backers are from Japan. Again, I have never seen a campaign do this before.
  • 59% are first time backers. The campaign manager had an excellent access to the hardcore, niche audience looking for this type of game.
  • It is the largest campaign in JPY on Kickstarter to date, across all categories.

Monster Prom 2 - $604,000 (EUR campaign)

  • The fourth campaign of the studio, this is the sequel to one of them, Monster Prom.
  • This campaign raised $570,000 more than the original. Clearly building on the community first established.
  • 30% of the backers are first time backers. Again, a higher percentage than often seen, showing the importance to bring your audience to your campaign.

Conclusion

2019 seems to be in line with the past years, possibly on a growing trend. What is quite striking, looking at the overall numbers as well as the main projects so far this year, is the fact that Kickstarter has grown out of being that very US-centric platform, with impressive numbers of backers coming from Asia these first six months

 

Post Scriptum

I also did a talk at GDC this year, about video games and crowdfunding. It is free to all on the GDC Vault: https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1025708/Game-Discoverability-Day-Crowdfunding-Your


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