[dropcap size=big]K[/dropcap]ickstarter launched back in April of 2009, but at that time nobody could have predicted how popular it would become. Crowdfunding was still a very unknown thing to most at the time, but game developers were testing the waters. After small successes such as High Strangeness, it took a bit longer before the gaming populace would truly awaken to the concept. After Double Fine Adventure and the many multi million dollar campaigns that have since followed, it’s rare for folks to not have heard of Kickstarter before.

After nearly 6 years of the website being online over 1000 video game projects have been successfully funded. That is in additions to tons of non-gaming projects which see great success each year. But since we’re folks who love games it’s definitely worth digging more into these related numbers. How many games exactly did make it so far? And what sorts of trends have developed over that time, if any? Although this article won’t answer every question it will help you to be more knowledgeable about video game crowdfunding.

From 2009 until January 1, 2015 there have been 1286 successfully funded video game projects. This includes video games themselves spanning all genres and platforms as well as game-related media such as the GaymerX convention. In all this is a massive number, although the site has definitely grown to house more projects year after year. How exactly have things changed from 2009 until now? Well, for almost every year since it opened its doors the amount of successfully Kickstarted games have increased.

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Kickstarter campaign data from 2009 to 2014

When looking at the data it becomes really evident that things took off in 2012. You may recall this is when the massive media hype train for Double Fine Adventure kicked off. I fully believe that the immensely public success of that one campaign pushed crowdfunding into the limelight for many people. Tons suddenly backed their first project and many others were led to believe they could run a successful funding campaign. For a good handful of folks that appears to have held true! However, this data also shows that the impressive increases (339% in 2012 and 150% in 2013) did not hold constant. In fact, 2014 saw a few less campaigns. The decrease is pretty darn minimal but seems to suggest that “Gold Rush” period of Kickstarters is over with – at least until the next monolithic campaign strikes.

A sort of running joke that has been around about as long as Kickstarter is that backers are funding dreams – and games that may honestly never see the light of day. Certainly there have been many high profile campaigns which needed to extend their release date far beyond the initial window. Of course, this holds true throughout game development and is not simply a crowdfunding issue. But if someone still suggests that barely any campaigns have launched then they’ve got to take a look at these next numbers! Here’s a view of the games which have released after being crowdfunded thus far (both in full versions and Early Access via Steam). Early alpha and beta builds distributed to backers are not included in these counts.

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There are a good chunk of Early Access releases (57) but this is minimal when compared to the 461 fully released titles across platforms and digital distributors. All in all that means we’re still waiting for about 60% of games to arrive while 40% are available in some form. When you think about the 1000+ campaigns which have made their way through Kickstarter already this is a surprisingly high number. After all, it accounts for not just the super old campaigns but also the massive influx of goodies from 2013 and 2014. Here’s hoping that as time goes on the percentage remains around this point.

Again, please note that this doesn’t include those private alpha and beta builds given to backers via backer-only posts. There are definitely many campaigns at that stage in development right now that are not reflected via this pie chart. In any case, if it helps in understanding, so far only 15 campaigns have been officially canceled. As long as most (or hopefully all) of other projects keep on track then the vast majority will eventually launch. Of course, anything can happen which makes it hard to estimate just how many Kickstarter games end up being completed.

Since we’re talking about successful campaigns exclusively it’s worth considering how well funded (or “overfunded”) they may be. Every campaign we’ve gathered data for has at minimum 100% funding and the campaign with the most has 4153500%. How is this possible?! Simple – the funding goal was $1. If you leave in all campaigns with such itty bitty goals the average funding percentage between everything is 3767%. It seems ridiculously high and it is because of these skewed campaigns. Taking away every campaign asking for $25 or less we end up with a more manageable percentage raised of 219%. That’s still a pretty solid average all told.

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Top 5 most funded video games

How about the average amount of backers? In all, campaigns averaged a little under 1,835 backers per project. The lowest backer counts were 1 lone funder (likely family or friend) and the highest was 87,142. Can you guess what campaign this was? Yep, it’s Double Fine Adventure. Some close campaigns as far as backer counts (and also hefty campaign funds) include Torment: Tides of Numenera, Project Eternity, Mighty No. 9, and Wasteland 2. No matter the year it appears nostalgia fuels incredible victories as far as Kickstarter is concerned.

The one thing people want to know most about Kickstarter is all about the money. It can be a bit tricky wrangling up money amounts since many campaigns run in varying currencies. We’ve done what we can to convert everything over to USD so keep that in mind. The most funded campaigns were discussed in depth in a previous article, but for summary the most money received was $4,188,927 for Torment: Tides of Numenera. The following four campaigns were the same previously mentioned in regards to highest backer counts. But as a whole, how does funding break down?

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These are all pre-tax amounts

From the very first gaming campaign until January 1 of 2015 all gaming Kickstarter projects have raised $105,412,883 in total. That’s some 100 million bucks funneling into a ton of great games! Well, okay, some portion of the funds goes to Amazon Payments and others to Kickstarter themselves but it’s still a healthy chunk of change. Assuming the fees amount to 5% for Kickstarter and a max of 5% for Amazon credit card processing that leaves us with $94,871,595. So it’s a slightly less impressive number but still incredible overall! Somehow, tons of folks pledging relatively minor amounts of money has led to a very, very successful crowdfunding website.

Of course, looking at the amount raised only tells part of the story. We all know that a few cherished campaigns make the lion’s share of funds but what about everybody else? There are so many campaigns which barely squeaked by on funding despite low goals. In all, there’s a lot going on that a simple total doesn’t reveal. Although there’s still so many secrets hidden in the data here’s a look at how much was raised at different funding brackets.

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As is evidenced by this table we see that it is only a tiny selection of campaigns which have made the most via Kickstarter. Outside of that powerhouse $1 million + bracket, most every other campaign is situated below $500,000 raised. Although it makes sense that only a few super pricy campaigns make up a large chunk of overall funds it may surprise some to see campaigns from $99,999 to $5,000 making nearly 20%. Less surprising however is the fact that sub $5,000 campaigns – despite being plentiful – cannot even eke out 1% of total Kickstarter money.

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Previous table data summarized in bar chart format

Here’s one takeaway for prospective project creators: Campaigns between $5,000 and $49,000 appear to be successful most frequently. If you even dare ask for $500,000 or above you had better be providing something which is far more than just a concept and likely have some sort of brand recognition! With that said, keep an eye peeled as we provide more articles targeted at prospective Kickstarter folks in the near future.

There is so much information to pull from all these successful campaigns that we’ve barely scratched the surface. Not only are these things intriguing to look into, but many provide insight into the habits and trends of Kickstarter backing. If you’re a regular backer or, heck, a project lead yourself then this is the kind of information you should keep an eye on. Becoming a better informed crowdfunder is most certainly a good thing.

We at Cliqist are excited to continue bringing more articles like this to you in the future. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to know in regards to Kickstarter data ask in the comments – or peruse our forums if you’ve got a specific campaign-related request. We’d be happy to answer a variety of questions for you, our readers, in the next post!

Marcus Estrada
Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come.
Marcus Estrada

@BackerMarcus

Writer for @Cliqist - This is my new ''PROFESSIONAL'' account. Yay, crowdfunded video games!
Glad to see the BL visual novel Sentimental Trickster was funded. How about those #Kickstarter stretch goals? https://t.co/AEU8LaeD6M - 5 years ago
Marcus Estrada