Let’s cut to the chase: having spent a long time manually scraping Kickstarter video game project data and following up each and every of the 366 successfully funded projects between 2009 and 2012, the data indicates that only around 1 in 3 have fully delivered their promised title to their backers. (Data scraping occurred over the last week of December 2013 and the first week of January 2014.)
If you add in the partial delivery rate – a title that has given only part of the game to its backers, such as part 1 when they promised a full game or have given them a mobile app that highlights a mini game or something – then about 1 out of 2 projects have delivered something video game-ish for their support. Which leaves the other half of projects with backers that are still waiting.
As a little bit of context, these the number of projects we’re talking about by year (only having five successfully backed projects is why 2009 looks so good):
Let’s go back a step and look at what things looked like in October 2012, when I first did this kind of analysis. This was the key chart then:
For a side-by-side comparison of the results from then versus now, you’ve got to add the fully delivery and partly delivered projects together, so that you see:
- 2009: 40% in October 2012 delivery versus 60% delivery by the end of December 2013 (which means only one extra project has delivered from this time period in 2013)
- 2010: 33% delivery then versus 38% delivery now (which is, again, only one extra project delivering something to its backers)
- 2011: 30% delivery then versus 42% delivery now (about 8 extra projects fully or partly delivering since the original examination)
- 2012: Can’t really compare the two results since the previous recording was just a part measure
2011 is an interesting case, since its increase in overall delivery includes 6 projects that partly delivered something, such only the Android version being released where an iOS version was also part of the Kickstarter pitch, or where only the first part of a multi-part title has launched (where splitting the game into different ‘episodes’ was a post-Kickstarter decision). Splitting a video game into separate parts or not releasing a mobile version that was part of the original pitch is something that appears to have increased in frequency in 2011.
What I find interesting in looking at these figures is that even though the number of successful Kickstarter video game projects has increased since 2010, the proportion of those delivering something has remained pretty consistent since 2010.
I also was interested to know if the level of funding was having some impact on delivery versus non-delivery – maybe lots of projects weren’t asking for enough money and then ended up running out of steam. If this was the case, you’d expect to see lots of undelivered projects at the (comparatively) low-end of the dollar scale.
This doesn’t seem to be the case.
The average amount of dollars backed among successful projects in 2012 is $138k versus $150k for unsuccessful projects, but the distribution above shows this result is heavily skewed by the projects that raised $1m and over.
I was also curious to know how much Kickstarted video games had ‘outstanding’ to backers (i.e. what amount of money had been received by these projects without the promised title being released). The overall results aren’t good – Kickstarted video games from 2009 to 2012 have more outstanding value to backers than they’ve delivered in dollar terms. Cancelled projects have been excluded from this analysis.
From 2009 to 2012, projects worth US$16.9m in backer contributions have delivered partly or fully on their pitch, while there is US$21.6m left outstanding in undelivered projects (as at the end of 2013).
To my knowledge little examination has been made of video game titles that receive this type of crowdfunding to see what the outcomes are. The above results, with only around a third of titles fully delivering their pitched titles to backers and more than half of projects are undelivered despite passing their promised delivery date, don’t inspire confidence. For those concerned about backing a video game title via Kickstarter, hopefully the above serves as some information around the risk of this development funding approach.
A number of these undelivered titles may be in alpha or beta status, on Desura or Steam Early Access. That’s fine, but it’s generally not what backers are looking for when they are promised a full title. (It should also be noted that a number of these undelivered projects also seem to have developers who have stopped talking to their backers and where the ‘official’ website no longer works.)
In looking at when titles are released versus when their Kickstarter pitch said they’d be done, it was pretty common to see delays of six months to a year in length. Although some delays are to be expected, especially on small and / or amateur teams, this kind of risk shouldn’t be underestimated.
If a developer thinks they only need to pay for six months worth of development via Kickstarter, but actually ends up with a project that takes 18 months to complete, that’s a huge gap. Even teams of dedicated volunteers splinter over time (such as was seen with the Embers of Caerus project, which was expected to have an extensive development timeframe) leaving project promises to backers in limbo.
What About 2013?
I’ve not looked at the successful video game Kickstarters from 2013 as I wanted to know how well Kickstarted video game projects have delivered, which requires time (as briefly discussed in my previous post). The best point to know how well 2013 projects have delivered will be at the end of 2014.
Advice From A Cynic
Following the above analysis, I’m pretty comfortable with not having ever backed a Kickstarter video game and I’m not going to start now. For those who would think about pledging to a project, here is some bits of advice to consider:
- Add at least a year to the final delivery date indicated in the Kickstarter pitch, then reconsider if you’d still want the game then. One successful project promised an RPG in a month back in July 2012. Its backers are still waiting for the full version of the title.
- Although I’ve seen forum comments sniff that “Kickstarter for PC projects, not iOS / Android / mobile projects” it appears that projects aiming to launch only a mobile game had a better chance at actually delivering something. This is probably because mobile games are often smaller and more self-contained, where PC projects may end up biting off more than the developers can handle.
- On that note, a lot of projects promise multi-platform release. Some deliver a title for the PC and iOS and Android and OUYA etc etc etc, but usually they focus on only one platform at a time. The length of time between the launch of the first platform and any subsequent launches can vary wildly. Just be sure that you’ll be happy if only the initial platform gets launched, such as only the PC version comes out while the iOS version ends up at a “complete stop“.
- Kickstarter project teams that consist of university / college students often seem to run into the “we’re really busy with our studies and work and stuff right now, but we promise we’ll soon get back to the project that we took your money for”.
- Be fully aware that you may not get any money back from a Kickstarter that fails to deliver or falls apart. Sometimes it just won’t be available (such as when the company files for bankruptcy) or you’ll have to spend a lot of time chasing up the developers just to get your $10 back.
I’ve done my best to provide a full and accurate picture of the data I collected. It’s my mistake if I’ve assessed a project incorrectly, such as if a title was fully delivered but I’ve missed that information, and I’ll update the data accordingly.
Also, I was only really interested in tracking if the main game promised was delivered to backers. There are plenty of ‘fully delivered’ projects that have backers chasing the developers over not delivering their pledge rewards, but that’s failure to deliver on a more individual level.
Later this week I’ll post up the data files so that people who are interested in going through it can have the opportunity to tell me how wrong I am.
Also, both Banner Saga and Broken Age delivered something too late in January 2014 to be included in the above list, but even together they only change the delivery rate results by about a percent.
UPDATE 19 JAN 2014: Oh, and to add something I probably should have recognised before – the most subjective part of this analysis will be whether or not I’ve correctly classified a project as fully or partially delivering. I’ve tried to go by what was promised as the backer reward levels, but there’s always a chance I’ve missed something, such as thinking the iOS version was promised at the time of the Kickstarter pitch where it was only an afterthought. My apologies for any mistakes in this classification process. Assessment can be difficult at times given that often key information is hidden behind backer only posts that are unavailable to me.
Greetings, I suspect Banner Saga also had a slew of broken promises to its name; though much less painful than some of the other Kickstarter fiascos. Nonetheless your data will be interesting analyze and blog about (with your express permission to talk about the data with all credit going expressly to you and your blog of course).
A very interesting study.
You’re welcome to examine the data and make your own conclusions from it – I aim to have it up in a few days.
Kickstarter continues to be something which I love in principle, but which in practice has so many flaws that it probably shouldn’t be used for videogame projects.
I think it has a place, but Kickstarter’s contribution would benefit if it was stripped of the hype around it. Yes, it’s a way of getting funding outside of publisher control, but the trade-off is you now owe your backers (and there are a vocal group who will want their money back if you don’t deliver).
Plus the focus is often on the high value Kickstarters, where most of these projects received $20k or less. It’s a funding platform with its own limitations, one of which being that the majority of these titles have development periods that drag out for extensive lengths and only half actually deliver at least part of the game its backers.
It clearly has a place, given that it exists. However, both as a developer and a potential customer, I strongly dislike the reality of Kickstarter. To me, it is essentially a mechanism whereby developers can shift the risk of development over to the customers, without any effective mechanics to ensure accountability the other way.
Stripping away the hype would go a long way toward making KS more palateable though, which is why analysis like the one you’ve done here is very worthwhile.
Agreed, and thanks for the comments.
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I’m on holiday for the next few days with no decent computer access. All queries will be answered when I get back.
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Wow. Very, very well researched and written. I guess I may need to follow up on that old article of mine (http://odiousrepeater.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/dragged-kickstarting-and-screaming/)…
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This is trying to critic Kickstarter as a mean for game funding because of it’s supposedly low delivery rate.
First off, if you’re going to critic such amount of people you should get your numbers straight. Some of those graphs literally don’t add up. For example in the Title Delivery Rate I believe (because it wasn’t explained anywhere) that the percentage that don’t add up is actually from the games that got delayed? In the Value Categories, how come those percentages don’t add up to 100%? The project is either delivered or not, unless you’re considering cancelled and delayed projects (again not explained).
And second. I said all that above as a critic to the study and because if what I said it’s true (about the percentages not being shown being from delayed projects) then the study is ignoring a lot of things. It should be of even longer term and consider the actual time the projects took to be delivered, comparing it with the time proposed and then have another section just about cancelled and projects that are on indeterminate hiatus.
This industry as a whole is full of delays. AAA titles get delayed all the time and indie titles just don’t get public delayed because there’s no release date to begin, and I bet they get the same, if not higher, delay rate.
No problems, I’ll explain further.
Overall, the overall ongoing project rate is 58% (which you get from 100% – 37% (full project delivery) – 3% (project cancellation) – 3% (formal hiatus)). Partially delivered projects are considered to be ongoing projects, since they have more to deliver. It’s arguable that projects on official hiatus should be classified as ongoing projects as well, but I considered those projects stopped for the moment and therefore shouldn’t be considered ‘ongoing’. If you wish to use a definition where the partial deliver rate counts as a ‘full’ project delivery, add that result to the above calculation – you still end up with about half of projects not having delivered to backers.
The Value Categories add up to 100% for their categories – blue with blue, red with red. At least as far as I can see – if I’ve made a mistake, I’m happy to fix it.
As far as the length of the study, I’m using the history of Kickstarter projects from 2009 to 2012, giving all projects an extra year (to the end of 2013) to deliver what they’ve promised backers. I’ve tried to exclude any project that was funded by the end of 2012 but said they’s need until at least 2014 to deliver out of the analysis. Basically nearly all of these projects have exceeded their original delivery date. You can consider the ‘ongoing project rate’ as the same as the ‘delayed project rate’ for the above analysis.
I’ve supplied the data I used in another post (http://evilasahobby.com/2014/01/24/kickstander-the-data-and-analysis-sheets/) that you can look at the dates and things in more detail if you’d like.
Over a longer time period it is likely that the above delivery rates will increase a bit, but I was a bit surprised to see that when looking at year on year results (admittedly on a small population for some of those years) the overall proportions remain relatively consistent. And in some ways I was being kinder to these projects by not looking at the proportion that delivered on time – I’m only commenting on the rate that have delivered at all.
I recognise that a lot of video games get delayed, but for AAA titles it means the dev studio has to seek more money (from investors / publishers) to cover that and indie titles often self-fund for that extended period. Delays to Kickstarted projects are a bit different since they’ve already taken money off their ‘customers’ (which the vast majority of backers are for video games). These projects are pitched that “we’ll be done by around ” and, as this analysis shows, they generally have a pretty poor history in delivering by that date. These studios then have to make up that shortfall with other sources of capital and / or make changes to their project specs. Would as many people have backed a project that said they’d be done in (for example) six months when it really took them 2 years or longer? Or if they’d been upfront and said they’d split the game into ‘episodes’ and / or have microtransactions in game?
I’m fine with people accepting that Kickstarted video games will be delayed; part of the point of this analysis was to look at delivery (which I didn’t believe had been done to date). If you can accept that only about 1 out of 3 projects will fully deliver on their title when you back Kickstarter projects over a three year period, that’s great. But I believe it is important for potential backers to know how well Kickstarted video games achieve what they set out to do, given the amount of positive attention a game gets simply for being crowdfunded. A title getting funded (and for $20k or less in most cases) is only a small step towards delivery.
(You can also probably increase your chance of receiving what you’ve backed by selecting projects with experienced teams and those that already have playable alphas / betas available. But my aim was to look at overall results, and even experienced teams have projects that fall over e.g. Haunts.)
Ooooh. If you’d consider digging a bit deeper (and I would understand if you wouldn’t), it’d be super-cool if you’d correlate the success rate with the perceived “seniority” of the developers. Also maybe see if there’s a greater chance that more expensive projects end up finished than less expensive ones.
Think that’d be doable?
Thanks for the link.
That’s an interesting idea, but not one I’ve really got the time to start! I’d have to go back to the beginning of the analysis and record some kind of ‘seniority’ or ‘experience’ variable.
I’ve released the data I used for this analysis (http://evilasahobby.com/2014/01/24/kickstander-the-data-and-analysis-sheets/) for those who are interested, but I think the above analysis would have some issues in that the experience of the project team might be a bit overstated for the Kickstarter pitch (e.g. when a dev says they worked on a title, at least some cross-referencing would be needed to try to confirm the role they played in that development – maybe they were key programmer, or maybe they were just casual QA).
This is really interesting since I am working on my Master’s Thesis about the same subject. Citing your findings can be used to validate my own findings, and especially since there aren’t many academic papers on the topic, it’s up to individuals like us to share the info. I’m ever so grateful for the data, and promise to put it to good use when doing my own number crunching 🙂
No problems – hope it is useful for you.
You might find this google spreadsheet useful. The guy who made it has backed 600 plus game projects and keeps details and comments on each one. I used it for a school presentation with his permission and it was super useful.
http://goo.gl/AiGW2 (google docs spreadsheet)
When I first found it, he barely had a few dozen. That was less than two years ago!
Thank you very much for that.
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Are Wasteland 2, Project Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera counted in the “total outstanding Kickstarter $”? Because just those three games make up half of the amount, and they are definitely coming. There are a few more really big ones that are most sure to be delivered.
Also, the reason < $20k seem to have a higher delivery rate could be that most of the big ones were post Double Fine Adventure, and being big, they take longer than a year and a half to finish.
Wasteland 2 is – originally promised launch was October 2013.
Project Eternity isn’t – promised delivery was in 2014.
Torment isn’t – it was successfully funded in 2013, which is outside of my data period.
Larger projects do take longer to deliver, but few projects appear to have accurately judged when they’ll deliver. I think this is an issue for backers to consider – that a high proportion of Kickstarter video games don’t delivery by their expected date and what that could mean to the overall likelihood of success for the project if delivery is 6+ months late.
DFA saw that title cut into two episodes in order to reduce the time for the backers to get at least part of the game; the delivery of the final half of the game is still to come later this year.
How can you accurately judge that you will get 400% funding?
I don’t understand the question. I did record the funding percentage in the data spreadsheet though.
In the case of both Wasteland and Eternity they also promised to deliver more if funds got over certain levels, this will always push back the delivery date. The other thing the bigger projects are doing very well is publishing progress, gameplay video’s and updates, even if they are not hitting delivery dates (wasn’t expecting them to) there is a good sense that progress is being made and I’m happy to wait for a polished product rather than a rushed out bugfest (also the reason I skip alpha previews).
In saying that the reality of any software development or creative project is that there will be delays, un-expected issues etc. Making an accurate estimate of dev time is notoriously difficult even for experienced developers. So delays don’t surprise me one bit.
I’m actually quite surprised that the delivery rate is as high as it is.
This is true – as some projects reach stretch goals, they expand what they are doing and indicate it is going to take longer to deliver. I simply took when the devs originally slated their release month, given that’s when backers are being told things should be close by then.
I’ve funded a few projects on Kickstarter, including Oculus Rift, and you absolutely must fund things with the following mindset. I am so passionate about the idea that I am willing to pay folks just to work on it, with NO EXPECTATION that they will succeed. This is the whole purpose of kickstarter, to give ideas with no hope of ever receiving commercial backing, a chance of success. Those who take kickstarters as a guarantee of receiving some product need to check their assumptions lol . . .
That’s probably a sensible attitude to have, but not everyone shares that view. A lot of people are funding these projects because they want a fun game (or actual outcome, depending on the project) and start demanding their money back / threatening legal action when a project fails to deliver.
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1/3 is an unbelievably high success rate for project pitch to completion. Higher than I would have expected to be honest.
I’m kind of surprised at the negative slant of the article with the actual findings. Most of what we are seeing is delays and disappointments on a similar level to otherwise published games. Those are pushed back all the time, or come out very buggy or under expectations.
A large number of the undelivered kickstarters (Project1 rpg for instance)have very dubious pitches to begin with – of course you have to be careful and not just back anything that sounds cool. You have to remember – you aren’t just backing an idea, but the person/people who are going to be in charge of implementing that idea.
And of course, what it really comes down to, is even if only 1/3 of projects make it, those are projects which probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
I think I’m more interested in data on projects (especially highly funded ones) which don’t deliver at all (go defunct), and it’s still a little early for that. Most of the higher profile projects that have been delayed still appear to be on the way.
If a AAA title is delayed or cancelled, the customer’s money isn’t at risk – they can get a refund. The rules aren’t as clear for Kickstarter video games, so that a project that fails to deliver may end up seeing all backer money disappear. As suhc, I think understanding the level of risk involved in being a backer is at least useful information.
It’s also not clear how many of these projects would have launched if they didn’t have Kickstarter to rely on and had used more traditional funding approaches. I don’t buy the “if not for Kickstarter, these games wouldn’t have existed” idea. Lots of indie studios put out games without using Kickstarter to fund them.
(Delete the other replies I did)
You know what, I think Project 1 did release.
Aug 19, 2012
Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1248367795/project-1-rpg-game
Fated Haven web: http://www.fatedhaven.com/
Big Fish Games: http://www.bigfishgames.com/download-games/14719/fated-haven-chapter-one/index.html
For this case I don’t think that the single dev is in the wrong here. But it seems that these people didn’t follow the updates or click the Update section?
*reads a little bit more* Hm, he did submit the game to Big Fish Games in 2011, and made a Kickstarter in 2012? That is another controversy though… it’s starting to look like fraud.
Yes, Project 1 released Chapter 1, but that wasn’t what was promised to backers – they were told that they’d get a full game in a month and that the title would release on the PC and XBLA.
It’s a partial delivery because something did go out, but not everything that pitch suggested. There are also several backers asking for refunds in the comments page of the Kickstarter.
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There’s a guy who has backed over 600 Kickstarter projects and has been keeping a spreadsheet of information about them for a couple years with a lot of detail. It says he keeps the ledger for personal tracking purposes, but made it public so others might derive data from it:
http://goo.gl/AiGW2 (google docs spreadsheet)
On the subject of level of funding having an impact on delivery – i.e. whether devs were asking for enough – it would be interesting to see data and conclusions based on successfully funded projects that have only met their initial goal + those that have achieved 10% more, 20% more, 30%, 50%, 100%, and so on VERSUS what level of delivery (partial, full, or more)
I think this could be more telling as to how off the mark funding goals are estimated. Example: perhaps those that have made 50% more than their initial goal always go on to release a full game. It would also be helpful for prospective kickstarter projects and backers.
On a different subject, I wonder, are your charts based on the definition of “delivered” that it is delivered within the same year as the devs announced delivery date at the time of funding only? If so, it would be interesting to see accompanying charts or bars showing the number of delivered projects regardless of time limit.
This would be important information as many backers wouldnt mind that something gets delayed. Regardless, it also paints the picture less dreary than a project not having been delivered at all. A lot of the numbers in “failed to deliver” may actually be categorized as delivered and skew the numbers. Also, many projects that have not delivered in 2012 may be delivered in 2014 or early 2015 – Star Citizen being one of them.
I’ve been thinking I should do another chart or two that look at the length of the delays. I can also look at length of delay by degree of ‘extra’ funding for these projects.
Now I just have to find the time to do it!
“I’ve been thinking I should do another chart or two that look at the length of the delays. I can also look at length of delay by degree of ‘extra’ funding for these projects.”
I’d be interested in that. Personally, if I do back a game and it gets 300% of the funding, I find nothing wrong in a 300% delay, provided there’s steady communication — because after all, using the most simple extrapolation possible, they *should* have the money to cover that (give or take).
I wonder if the results change a lot, if that is taken into account.
Yes, I plan to do a bit more of a look at the length of delays. Real life has overtaken my current ability to get into the data though.
How does this compare to delivery on non-video game projects? How does it compare to software vs. hardware Kickstarters? Is this a video game thing, or a Kickstarter thing?
Even though backing something on Kickstarter is ostensibly like being a very tiny venture capitalist, I personally consider it to be more like gambling than investing. Don’t put more money into the project than you’re willing to lose.
I think it’s a video games AND Kickstarter thing. It’s early days, but I believe that each Kickstarter category will have its own natural delivery rate. Video games are a lot more complex than some other offerings, so I suspect the delivery rate in this area will be lower than for others.
Some other analysis looking at the Design and Technology categories (http://www.appsblogger.com/behind-kickstarter-crowdfunding-stats/) that indicated only 25% of those project deliver on schedule, but it was expected that after 8 months delay an estimated 75% of those projects would be delivered. The vast majority of these video game projects with Kickstarter funding have an estimated delivery period of less than a year, but aren’t delivered according to that time frame and certainly don’t seem to be delayed only a few months – if that was the case, the results for 2010 through to 2012 would be a lot better.
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A recent Steam title (Planetary Annihilation) was priced at over double that of a triple A title for those wanting alpha access, The developers gave the reason as being because of the promises they’d made the kickstarter backers and not wanting to seem to be turning them over, It’s events like these that show how they’d clearly been promising more than they should of been in order to get backers money. The system is too open to abuse.
Unfortunately these kind of Kickstarted video games are very open to the devs changing the game specs a long time after they’ve received the money. There have been several projects that have changed to an episodic approach following successful crowdfunding (Broken Age is probably the most well known) and other projects that have decided not to release certain versions that were promised in the pitch (e.g. iOS, PC).
It’s also a system that possibly rewards projects that over-promise, since that is what get backers excited and more funding rolling in. Star Command is an example of title that sold people on a lot of potential features but left a number of those features out in the mobile versions with promises that these extra systems will be patched in later.
On the other hand, if devs don’t deliver, they get called scammers and people demand their money back. There’s not a lot of protection for developers either under the crowdsourced funding approach.
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Hey, I’d love to get in touch with you regarding your findings. I do a monthly column about crowdfunded games and run plenty of numbers myself. It’d be great to compare notes. Please feel free to email me: mikesuszek AT joystiq DOT com!
An email has been sent.
Thank you very much for this interesting analysis. I’m considering writing an article about this for a digital newspaper. Will of course provide all credit to you and link back to this page. I have a few questions, though.
Can you let me know the best way to get in contact with you? Thanks.
No problems – I’ll DM an email address via Twitter. EDIT – sent a message to your email because I forgot DM requirements! 😉
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What a brilliant, well presented and well researched article.
As a budding KickStarter, I have a lot to learn. But I have made the sacrifice of heading this project on a full time basis to ensure all backer expectations are met.
Check it out!: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/951664871/residuum-factor-neo-genesis?ref=home_location
In many ways I’m bemused that Kickstarter / crowdfunding often sees its developers acting like spammers, posting links up about their project everywhere attempting to drum up business.
Best of luck with your Kickstarter.
Moving forward, I’ll approve / delete other Kickstarter self-promos from the comments on a case-by-case basis.
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Does Wasteland 2 count as delivered or undelivered?
It’s undelivered at the time that I did the analysis. It might be in Early Access, but I didn’t count those as delivered since they still haven’t achieved their goal of releasing the full game to backers, which is the end goal of the project.
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Fantastic article, it answered questions that I have also had in looking at Kickstarter and gave me a lot of food for thought.
I did my own scrub through of the data provided and would like to write an article based on your research, but asking a slightly different question. I’d love to get in touch with you over it if at all possible.
Thanks again for making this information open to everyone interested.
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Any chance you can *compare* video game delivery rates vs. other KS? Unlike, say, a one-man shop casting metal miniatures, the labor cost of a video game is very high. Thus, when the money runs out, the development team members leave to paying projects. But if it’s just a small company, the owner is the labor, and he will work free until the project completes (delays pretty much given for boardgame and miniatures KS, but, unlike video games, the products are almost always delivered). In other words, if you have similar results with other types of KS, you results will be a comment on KS. But if you have different results with other KS, they will be for the video game specifically. Thanks!
Unfortunately for me to look at the other Kickstarter categories would take a very long time. Unless someone can come up with a way of automatically scraping the data. That’s the time consuming bit.
There was this look (http://www.appsblogger.com/behind-kickstarter-crowdfunding-stats/) at Design and Technology categories that estimated 75% of those Kickstarted projects would deliver following an 8 month delay on the original specified release date. I agree that the complexity of video game projects make delivery of the end product harder than for some other categories.
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I used to wonder how bad movies got made, before I read a book about the making of “Bonfire o/t Vanities.” Experienced director, star cast, but the whole thing nearly came apart (and was terrible.) After that I was amazed that ANYTHING as complex as a movie ever gets made; amazed that any product comes whole out the other end of that process.
Games are the same way; many games made by professionals with the support of publishers fail or get cancelled. I see no reason that kickstarter would be magical proof against failure.
People who think that publishers are a disease and kickstarter is the cure are probably all kinda of shocked, though!
One issue is that I think publishers never really worried about what gamers thought about them, so left all criticism leveled at them by game developers go unchecked. Which meant that it was only devs airing their grievances, rather than publishers firing back with the poor game development practises they had to keep dealing with.
There was an expectation that crowdfunding would sweep away the ‘problems’ of publishers, but all that it’s revealed is that devs hold a lot of responsibility for delays, communication issues, poor outcomes etc as well.
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From the kickstarter page:
” Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?
So if they do not deliver, a lawsuit to the ones that created the project would fix it and make them at least refund the bakers.
It is not a donation, it is a contract between Kickstarter, the project creators and YOU.
So start the lawsuits guys!
Yes, it’s very clear in those terms.
Of course, by the time they get to the point of the project failing, there’s probably no money left. It would then also be Kickstarter’s responsibility to block them from using their services again until the money from the first project had been finalised, but all that’s a long shot.
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I’ve programmed a few projects freelance that then get put on Kickstarter. As soon as they get funded, all 5 I stopped hearing from the project leads. I assume its just a case of take the money and run. Some try to keep up the illusion that they’re still working. Some release new materials that I was shown in private years earlier.
Its been 3 years since I’ve been programmer on a Kickstarter project. None of them have been released.
I think a lot of people think they can plan out a video game development cycle, only to find out that they can’t.
Ditto for ‘running a small business’, which is what taking on a Kickstarted video game is all about. Especially if they are commissioning freelancers.
Another one of the kickstarters that I programmed for said that he didn’t take the money and run, but rather he blew all the money setting up the business, getting lawyers, making the company official, making distribution deals without actually having a finished product.
What’s astounding is how many people give on kickstarter to projects with no experience at all. Do you have a game? No. Have you ever made a game? No. Are you an idea guy that can’t make a game? Yes! Here take my money!
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