Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Dec. 18th
As the year draws to a close the video game press has mined Kickstarter’s constantly updating stats page for a little perspective.
With the site inching towards a billion dollars pledged (current status: $921 million) the games category accounts for over $200 million of that total. Less than 10% of that amount was for games that didn’t make it and a little over 1%, $2.33 million, is pledged to games that are currently funding.
Games is a broader category than video games, however. It encompasses board, card and roleplaying games as well. That means projects like Onyx Path’s Exalted 3rd Edition (funded at $684,755 or 1141% of their target) are wrapped up in that total. Not part of the total: the Oculus Rift, which may prove to be the most significant contribution to video games that passes through the crowdfunding site. That device was listed under the Technology category and pulled in over $2.4 million.
But wait, there’s more to be drawn from the lifetime stats on the site.
The success rate of games isn’t that great: just 35.08% of gaming projects currently make it. Which means that games is one of the under-performing verticals when contrasted with the site’s overall success rate of 43.75%. Film & Video does better on success rate–39.83%–but is lagging in total dollars pledged, just $186.18 million. There are a lot more Film & video projects that have been launched than games projects: 31,817 versus 7,935.
The best “batting averages” belong to the performing arts, which is a shocking fact that warms my theater degree having heart. The Dance category is the grand champion of Kickstarter success rates, with 70.78% of projects having made their goal. Close behind is theater, with 64.36% of the project launched since the beginning of Kickstarter successfully funding.
The dollar amounts for Dance ($5.45 million) and Theater ($21.18 million) are a lot less than Films or Games, but the point of crowdfunding isn’t necessarily to be the richest kid on the block. The point is to build a sustainable infrastructure for create work, and by that measure 70 and 64 percent success rates are an encouraging sign that the crowdfunding model has a positive impact in those arts communities.
Does the model have legs is another question.
Missing from these stats are the yearly trends, although GamesIndustry International published an analysis that pegged the vertical as having a growth spurt.
Beyond outpacing other categories on Kickstarter, games are also growing year-over-year. In 2012, users pledged $83 million to game Kickstarters. With two weeks left to go, the 2013 tally stands in the neighborhood of $112 million.
While the later article doesn’t link to a source for the $83 million figure, that number is drawn from a “Best of 2012” deck that the crowdfunding site composed. What’s most shocking about the 2012 number is how much of it must have come in over the holiday shopping season. In early September of last year in blog post entitled The Year of The Game the site reported the year to date figures as $50,330,275. Which means that $33 million must have surged from September through December. On average the video game pledges have exceeded that pace.
This means that, at least for the most financially successful vertical, the model is continuing to bear fruit. This in spite of a vocal backlash against delayed projects and high profile projects that have gone belly up without delivering. The cultural shift that crowdfunding is creating, which moves the audience from the role of consumer into the role of patron, appears to be working for now.