Ever since Double Fine raised millions of dollars for their Kickstarter campaign last year, the site has become a popular breeding ground for indie development crowdfunding. But Thomas Bidaux, CEO at ICO Partners, wanted to know just how successful Kickstarter is and has finally revealing his data analysis during the Independent Games Summit at 2013 Game Developers Conference.
The short answer? Only 30% of Kickstarter campaigns for video games reached their goal in 2012, which means that well more than half of the pending projects weren't funded at all, with pledges promptly returned once their time limit was reached. And from among those successful 30%, only a fraction of them actually came out with a delivered product so far. So the true success rate will likely be even lower than that.
That said, Bidaux highlighted several factors that contribute to a fully funded Kickstarter campaign. First, it needs to set the right goal, not aiming so high that people become skeptical that the set price point will ever be reached. Having an existing fan base and PR reach helps tremendously, as most donators are impressed by campaigns that collect a substantial percetnage of their goal within the first three days. They want to invest in an ultimately successful campaign, after all.
Donators as an audience tend to be niche gamers who want to see a title in a particuarly underappreciated genre, like fighting, roguelikes, or adventure, that is neither too mainstream nor free-to-play nor "games for kids." They also want to see the progress of the campaign as it unfolds, which means uploading screenshots and videos that will keep them interested and optimistic.
Overall, Kickstarter has brought in over $42 million to independent gamers. That might not sound like much given that's only 10% of Ubisoft's developmental budget from 2011-2012, but Kickstarter is growing and the money it can provide is a godsend to projects that would otherwise remain unnoticed or nonexistant. So though it fails most of the time, it looks like Kickstarter is here to stay.