I suppose we all knew this deep down, but it’s startling to see it laid out in pretty graphs: 2012 has seen a massive, massive increase on games funding through Kickstarter. Eye wateringly huge. In six short months they have exploded from the eighth most-funded category in Kickstarter history to the second most-funded, and the first-most funded category of the year, having raised a staggering $50,330,275 in 2012 alone. I mean, just look at that graph. JUST LOOK AT IT.
And I do mean in 2012 alone. Look at 2011! Nothing! Pittance! Pennies compared to this year.
As with most things, it’s all Tim Schafer’s fault. The official Kickstarter Blog makes it clear that February’s Double Fine Adventure was the catalyst, creating an unstoppable juggernaut of money that is still trending higher. But has this all been a flash in the pan? We’ve no way of knowing how long it will carry on for. Still, Kickstarter’s own statistics show that people who fund games are more likely than any other sort of their users to fund multiple projects. I know I’ve funded at least five, and I don’t really intend on stopping if I hear of another project that sets me aflame with desire.
It’s a fascinating experiment. It’s worth saying again that no big-name Kickstarted title has released yet, so 2013 looks set to be the year of reckoning. It’s all so new and so untested, and at times it seems like the sky’s the only limit. Well, that and the inevitable failure to finish: Kickstarter themselves are at pains to point out the drawbacks of their own system. When comparing Board Games and Video Games, 47% of board game projects have been successfully funded while only 23% of video game projects have enjoyed the same success.
That’s a pretty large failure rate, though the difference is to be expected – board games cost a lot less to make than video games, after all. Then again, as Kickstarter says, just last week there were two games who both scored a cool million. Planet-smasher RTS Planetary Annihilation was one, and the other, board game category Bones, scored $3,400,000 over its stated goal of $30,000, which just goes to show how anything can happen.
The most important thing to hold onto, however, is the knowledge that for the moment, there exists a very real method of games funding on a scale unlike anything that has been seen before. That’s exciting stuff, regardless of the outcome.
We’ll end with a charming video of game pitches past put together by Kickstarter staff.