March was an absolutely wonderful month for Kickstarter projects. Over the span of 30 days there were 35 video gaming campaigns that succeeded! Some were lucky enough to raise funds hand over fist, while others barely made it. No matter what, each met their funding goal and that is always great to hear. So how did April follow up? In all, 17 campaigns found success. It’s a bit of a let down, even though the campaigns which did succeed are pretty darn lovely. This drop off feels significant, though. After all, it’s a little less than half the amount of campaigns! What changed this month? One aspect that stood out was a lack of many super funded campaigns. But, we’re not at the analysis portion yet! First, here are the highlighted campaigns for April.
In another time I almost feel like Atom Universe wouldn’t have succeeded – but thankfully it did! The game itself is an online, virtual reality theme park for folks with a PC or PS4. So, why was the timing perfect for this campaign? During its funding period a very niche, but loved virtual reality MMO was shutting down. PlayStation Home, which had a devoted fanbase on PS3, finally closed its doors – and Atom Universe provided a brand new opportunity for fans. Since there is no PlayStation Home equivalent on PS4, it fills that niche nicely. And, hey, people just really like theme parks (but can’t always afford their monumental costs). Here’s hoping that their funds are enough to handle this epic undertaking.
Okay, by now it should be pretty obvious that I am a big fan of visual novels. As such, of course one had to be highlighted in this roundup. Cursed Sight by InvertMouse just looked especially up my alley. It seems that many others loved it too, as it was funded to 309% by the end. Most visual novels seem to have it good on Kickstarter. Thanks to an inbuilt audience looking for more they’re willing to fund most out there that look anywhere from average to awesome. Developer InvertMouse has also already made a name for themselves thanks to three previous (and successful) Kickstarters as well as distribution of said games via Steam. Not all prospective visual novel developers have the same name recognition, but there’s still room for more to kick butt on Kickstarter like Cursed Sight did.
It’s always great to see a campaign come back from a failed attempt and find success. A few did so this month (such as visual novel Change!). Then there’s Holobunnies, which is an adorable new 2D sidescrolling adventure. The question worth asking is how did they turn their campaign around from last time? Well, they made a major change of cutting their funding goal in half (which, by the way was the amount they basically raised in the original Kickstarter). So, by lowering the required amount of funds, and then managing to get many of those backers to come back they saw success! There’s definitely nothing wrong with lowering your goal to a more potentially viable amount, as long as you can actually still make the game at that price!
Indies Crash E3 is a phenomenal idea and I wish it weren’t something that required Kickstarting to happen. Basically, the team behind the project intends to bring a small pool of indie developers to E3 when they otherwise wouldn’t have the option to show off their upcoming or recent releases. How are these teams selected? Basically, it’s up to users to vote for their favorites. With that said, the implementation this year has folks playing a Cookie Clicker-like game to award points, which really is more annoying than it is fun. In any case, the idea is solid which is why I’m pleased to see they’ll be back at E3 once again.
I admit it, I’m a Jackbox Games fan. The You Don’t Know Jack series has been fantastic over the years, and the more recent release of the Jackbox Party Pack (with standout games Drawful and Fibbage) just sealed the deal that these folks know entirely how to craft great multiplayer-centered party games. Although there wasn’t much actually shared about Quiplash, the basic premise does sound fun. Then there’s the potential of involving up to hundreds of players in some respect, which seems smart given this age of streaming. Given the rabid Jackbox Games fanbase, it also makes sense why they raised double their goal. Now to see that this technical project comes to fruition just as promised!
Now it’s time to have some fun with April’s Kickstarter data. First off, here’s the biggest shock of the month. In total, $471,959 was raised between all successful campaigns. In March the number was closer to $4 million. February? It saw $2.5 million. So the trend had been going up – a lot. It makes sense that wasn’t sustainable for multiple reasons. For one, there were a few campaigns each month which simply blew everything else out of the water. Crowfall was March’s biggest hit while February saw over a million pledged toward Shadowrun: Hong Kong alone. When looking over April’s list of games there just isn’t one that stands out in a similar way. There are established indie names, but certainly no folks known throughout the entire industry. There are no sequels to other big titles, either.
As such, April may have just proven itself to be one of the best months for indie developers to look toward when it comes to expected funds raised. After all, the vast majority of crowdfunders are indie in every sense of the word. They didn’t create a multimillion dollar phenomenon 20 years ago and also don’t own well-established brands – only Quiplash from Jackbox Games bucks the trend. So what does the funding data tell us? We see that, on average, successful campaigners asked for $15,043. This number falls right in line with the one I’ve continued to mark as a good high spot. Only few teams should attempt to push higher than this unless they’re absolutely certain the campaign is something to be reckoned with.
How did average funding fare? On average, folks came through the process with $27,762. Of course, averages are just that and do not tell the entire story. As it turns out, seven of the 17 total projects raised over $10,000. The rest fluctuated from the low of $410 to mid $6,000s. The big winner of the month is Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander which walked away with closer to $200,000. If we remove this single campaign the average funding value drops to $17,766. Do you see how averages can really make things seem different than they really are? We’ve placed a table with every successful campaign at the end of this post so you can see for yourself just how much funding and attention each game received this month.
Here’s a piece of information I’ve been keeping an eye on that most others are currently ignoring. Just how long does it take a campaign to go from launch to successfully funded? If you’ve felt that more are taking longer than usual, then you’re not wrong. In the past few months we’ve seen many make it in the final few days – if not the very last (such as Dungeons of Aledorn). This has happened again in April, although most did not find themselves in as dire straits. In fact, we saw a nice boost in day one funding, but not all of these are shocking. After all, two of them, Roguelands and Teatime Samurai, asked for only $250 and $1,000 respectively.
How does it compare directly to last month? March only saw one day 1 campaign via Infernax with its tiny $10 goal. So, in a sense, this month is healthier when it comes to day funded. But if you really consider it, the change isn’t very substantial. Most of these campaigns for the month were asking for far less aggressive amounts than in months’ past, March included. As such, by default it is “easier” to raise funds because the goals are all almost all lower. Following in this trend, campaigns being funded from 21 – 30/31 dropped down from 19 last month. If we converted that to fit in with the amount funded this month, it’d be 54% of all campaigns for March versus 29% for April. I personally would love to see this become the typical percentage of last week successes because it is outrageously stressful to see cool campaigns reach their goals so late in the process!
The simple truth is that nothing would make its way through Kickstarter if not for backers. So let’s turn to looking at the accumulated backer data for April. In total there were 12473 backers (at maximum) in the fray. This serves as a maximum value because many backers fund multiple campaigns during the span of a month. March’s max backer count was much larger at 66k, but again, last month also received nearly $4 million in funding. The average amount of backers per campaign with no adjustments is a hefty 734. If we remove those few 1000+ backer campaigns (Dungeons of Aledorn, Quiplash, Halcyon 6) the average is trimmed to 228. That’s a perfectly respectable amount of backers! For reference, Atom Universe managed to raise $38k with only 280 backers. That means things averaged out to a surprising $136 per backer! Okay, so a few folks probably dropped a pretty penny on the campaign, but sometimes that push is all you need.
But since we’re on the topic now, let’s take a closer look at average backer values for April. The average between all campaigns (itself an average taken as funding amount divided by backers) results in $56.88. Considering most video game projects have a standard, most backed tier somewhere around $15-$30, this is an impressive step up. Of course, a few select campaigns went far and beyond. Beyond the already-mentioned Atom Universe, Forgotten Trail averages to a mind boggling $263 per backer. That almost certainly guarantees that there were some really nice (and well off!) relatives or friends helping out, as two people backed at $10,000. Removing the few biggest values takes the average backer value down to $31.89, which seems far more realistic.
The question now is: What does all this tell us about May, if anything? After collecting campaign data and analyzing it for the past few months one thing is clear – you simply cannot predict what the next month will hold. On a yearly basis it does seem possible to know which months will be the most crammed full of projects, but that’s as clear as the crystal ball gets right now. Honestly, who would have expected that after the continued gaining early on that April would see such a slide back down? We can never predict when the next seismic campaign will launch. For example, May already has the massive Yooka-Laylee! But that’s what makes Kickstarter, and crowdfunding at large, so exciting.
There is always more information to generate from Kickstarter video game campaign data, but these are just the most notable tidbits to us. If you’d like to know something else (more specific to one campaign, or other stats) then please let us know in the comments or even our forums. We look forward to continue sharing monthly wrap ups throughout the year! You can review analysis and wrap-up articles from previous months using this link. Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming 6 month mega post as well.
Here’s a look at each successful campaign in a handy table to get a glimpse at (some of) the information we gathered to make this post possible: