Kickstander: The Data and Analysis Sheets

There are two ways of releasing findings online – the smart way or the dumb way.

The smart way is to release only the findings, but not the data behind those findings. This protects you from criticism and prevents mistakes from being found. All that exists are your findings and since no-one else has your data, it’s harder to argue about any mistakes that you’ve made.

The dumb way is to release your findings and your data. This means that anyone can look through your data and find mistakes that invalidate all of your work. It’s more honest, but opens you up for a potential world of pain.

Green binary numbers spinning off into the distance.

All the excitement of this, but in spreadsheet form! (Image sourced from: Wikimedia Commons)

I’m going for the dumb way because I’d rather that we get the discussion of Kickstarter video game delivery rates correct than hide my work. I’m sure that there are some mistakes (for instance, the conversion from Google Docs to Excel screwed up a lot of date information that I’ve done my best to fix, but maybe I’ve missed some) or that some backers or developers will feel that I’ve incorrectly classified their project. All that I can say for those cases is that I tried to get it right.

A lot of Kickstarted video game projects make it hard to work out their status. Hiding all project information behind backer-only updates or not posting up a link to your finished game on your ‘official’ game website didn’t make this process easier. Plus any caveats at the bottom of my other post on this information.

Anyway, here’s the data. There are two sheets – the Data, which is the list of all projects, and the Analysis, which shows how I got to my findings.

At the very least, the list might be of interest to those wondering the status of some projects, or those wanting to have a wade through the drama of the projects that were cancelled and how backers reacted.

11 thoughts on “Kickstander: The Data and Analysis Sheets

  1. Pingback: Kickstarter Research Highlights Low Delivery Rates of Game Projects

  2. Hi,
    we did the same kind of research ! I was intrigued too by the exact panorama of the Kickstarter video games and their real distribution.
    Here are the results of my research:
    and it’s commented on this forum: (in French !)
    I have an app. total number of 206 games fully released on ~750 projects. So far 55 projects of 2013 have been released. I think we don’t have the exact same datas as we differed on the standards of what was a “video game” and what was “released”. And I may have not been as exhaustive as you.

    We both have seen the people keeping silence for one year and more, the dead websites, the endless alphas… and the reality of what is a “Kickstarter independant video game”: I think Kickstarter is an interesting platform for EXPERIMENTAL games. Many of those games are far from ideal, rough, but they often have brilliant ideas. And they are made – when they are – with a lot of heart. Whoever played the so-cuuuute Duck Quest will understand (yes, Duck Quest has been released) !

    • Thanks – that’s interesting to see.

      I think you may have found the same issues as I in that it can be tough to classify the status of a project, especially when the developer behind it goes silent or seems to be stalling.

      I don’t think Kickstarter is a great platform for experimental, innovative games because those are high risk and hard to pitch to the public. It’s much easier to grab an old franchise and whip up nostalgia while basing your design on something that already exists.

  3. Was there supposed to be a second link for “the Analysis”? Or is that part of the data doc? Looking at the data alone, I feel like the success rate is pretty reasonable. The games that fail seem to fall into the category of “obviously doomed from the start,” for the most part. I feel like anyone foolish enough to give money to a project like “Patch Notes: the Game” (for example) maybe needs to learn a lesson about fools and money.

    • The Analysis sheet is the second tab (at the bottom of the page where one tab says ‘Data’ and the other says ‘Analysis’); it just shows the calculations for some of the figures I used to create the charts.

      I think that it is very difficult to pick a project that is obviously doomed – enough people thought it would succeed to successfully hit the funding cap (assuming no funny business behind the funding) and some projects have a very polished Kickstarter pitch that makes the project look very good.

      You have to take project’s at their word that they have an working alpha, or have several experienced programmers involved.

      • (Haha, is there a kickstarted app that can teach me to read? Sorry about that.)

        I dunno … looking through the canceled list, the pitches do not look polished at all. I can honestly say I would never in a million years have backed any of those projects marked with a C. First off, anything with a goal of under $10K is not worthy of consideration, for MANY reasons. And I probably wouldn’t touch a project with videos that feature nothing but a talking head unless it’s from an established studio.

        I guess I’m just skeptical that any amount of number-crunching can actually prove anything conclusive about kickstarter. You might as well be tabulating the results of successful transactions on craigslist. Obviously there are shady people out there, trying to take your money and run. And there will always be plenty of gullible people who will play into the scam. That’s just the nature of the Internet.

        But for the most part I think the pitches with what I consider decent proposals and realistic goals are earnest people trying to make legitimate attempts to complete their projects. I guess the picture will be clearer as more of these incomplete projects either wrap up or fall by the wayside.

  4. Pingback: Kickstander: Another Look at Delivery Rates | Evil As A Hobby

  5. Some that I know are released (Guncraft) have no short status. The fact that all don’t have short status is confusing as to whether there was something overlooked in those cases or not.

    And while true that several haven’t delivered, it also doesn’t seem that there is a differentiation between delivery date not reached yet, and/or whether a product was released at all, i.e. the state of early access as iterative development and a missed deadline is very different than vaporware and the same.

    And I very much agree with Ryan’s assessment. There’s no safety net on Kickstarter. And in the beginning, I don’t think that many backers looked down to see that fact. By doing due diligence and taking a very realistic assessment of the projects at hand, I’ve received very few duds. And even of those received, because I look at them as what they are- speculative- I have little in the way of emotional attachment. Perhaps a bit of disappointment that the final goal was not achieved. But none of the vitriol that many attach to this highly speculative investment platform.

    • Looks like I missed Guncraft as having launched.

      I agree that there is no safety net when it comes to Kickstarters, but a lot of backers don’t think that – they think they either get a game or get their money back (or have the right to sue the developer for their money back). Part of the point of this analysis was to provide some numbers around the risk of getting a result from projects where funding had been crowdsourced. Kickstarter got a lot of hype in video game circles for all the good things it would lead to – I wanted to know some numbers around these positives being delivered.

      • Fair enough- and it is good to look at the numbers, and shine a light on this nebulous part of the process, i.e. going from funded to released.

        Personally, if I was compiling the list, I would look at the number of projects in early access also. One of the difficulties that I’ve run into in my support of different projects is the process of the alpha/beta. Since the genesis of early access, that pain has become a lot less. Of course, the level of polish of early access is all over the board. But that’s a bit different. But there is a definite difference in my mind between a project that has very little measureable forward progress, and a project that is in active development- it’s just taking longer than thought to smooth the edges. Many of those that are in early development are in what the industry has of late considered release state, which is sad.

      • In retrospect, not having included a distinct alpha / beta / Early Access client released to backers classification was an oversight. If I do this again, I’d definitely include that development shadowlands as something separate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s