What's the Biggest Draw on Kickstarter?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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What's the Biggest Draw on Kickstarter?

We all know that Kickstarter is a very big deal when it comes to gadgets and the like. It's not hard to see new projects there most every day, from books to gadgets and even, sometimes, new food concoctions. But what may surprise some out there is that, when it comes to Kickstarter, the biggest draw of all is one that's near and dear to us all: video games.

In fact, video games is the biggest draw by a pretty wide margin, too. New statistics released from Kickstarter show that the company raised fully $920 million from crowdfunding efforts across all categories for 2013. But of that $920 million, almost one dollar in every $4.50 was raised in the games category (including board, card, and other games along with video), which pulled in $200.44 million. When it came to successfully funded projects, meanwhile, the site raised  $789 million total, with games coming in at $178.15 million.

By way of comparison, film and video pulled in $186.03 million, design netted $130.58 million and technology in general pulled in $86.84 million. Yet despite the impressive numbers of money raised by gaming projects, the odds of a successful gaming campaign on Kickstarter were just 35.08 percent, which was behind even music projects, which succeeded better than half the time at 55.24 percent.

It's somewhat unusual here that there would be such a substantial amount of money raised while so few projects are completed. Some believe that it may be related to overall placement issues on the site, in terms of which projects get media attention and which get declared “staff picks” by the wider Kickstarter market. Others believe it may have something to do with the layout of Kickstarter overall. But the differences in funding level are noteworthy in their own right; there's a lot of interest when it comes to games, and I'd say part of that stems from the triple-A industry as a whole.

The gaming industry is a business like any other, and as such, there aren't a lot of risks taken. Game companies make games they believe are likely to make money, and when one model becomes successful, other games follow along with that model in a bid to try and repeat success. Granted, there are alterations between different games, but many standard formulas emerge like the recent influx of first-person shooters. Smaller studios, though, are more eager to make a name for themselves, and are willing to try new and unusual experiences in a bid to draw attention, so needing cash, they turn to crowdfunding like Kickstarter. This in turn can allow those that get sufficient attention to offer up something different, get it funded, and even carry on to produce other such experiences. Gamers tired of the triple-A market's parade of the vaguely familiar can get something new here. But by like token, something new may have a much narrower appeal—which is exactly what the triple-A circuit is afraid of—so many projects may only go partially funded.

Still, it's interesting to note just how far games are going on Kickstarter, and how far independent developers in general are going. With the new generation of consoles now in play, there's a lot more room for the indie developer than ever, and Kickstarter's halls may see more traffic as well. It will be interesting to see what 2014 brings in indies, and what games emerge to match.
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