[dropcap size=small]E[/dropcap]very month Kickstarter is full of wild successes, and depressing failures. While some are always going to have that massive fan push behind them to see hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding others barely make it to the finish line. Due to the nature of Kickstarter, there’s simply not enough money to go around to fund every worthwhile campaign. The purpose of this post is to shine a light on those campaigns that had the chops for success, but for one reason or another failed to make their goal this time. Given campaign restructuring, additional social media pushes, and more they might make it in the future! Of course, anyone who has browsed through Kickstarter pages recognizes that many projects simply don’t have any effort put into them.
Curious about successful and failed Kickstarter campaigns and their data from previous months? Check this tag to see all our posts for 2015 so far. First, let’s shine a light on some of the cool campaigns of July that unfortunately failed to attain their funding goals.
Note: All non-US $ amounts have been converted to dollars based on exchange rates as of this writing.
When it comes to visual novels, I’m used to playing as a guy or gal who finds love along the way between one of multiple potential characters. However, that’s usually done with at least a bit of decency — everyone in the world is apparently single. That wasn’t the case in Boyfriend Stealer! Instead, as the name implied, you were a young college student looking to find a guy between a variety of dudes who already happened to be boyfriends. The cheeky humor and anime art style definitely kept the tone light, though there was no doubt this “predatory” protagonist might have scared off a few visual novel players. With a lack of attention, not to mention a lack of advertising/backer update pushes from the developer themselves, Boyfriend Stealer was eventually canceled after making just about 25% of the goal. Although successful on Steam Greenlight, there’s been no official word whether this game will see the light of day.
Given how many 2D pixelated titles I see on a regular basis, it’s always something of a shock (and a pleasant one at that) when an independent developer showcases a 3D project of any sort. When that project happens to be a horror game, I always get a bit more interested as a lover of the genre. The Alone in the Dark-inspired horror title looked pretty dark in creepy, although much of the displayed screenshots and video were incredibly ponderous. Yes, that slow pace is integral to “classic” horror titles, but mainstream horror tastes have unfortunately moved on in most instances. It’s hard to say if Song of Horror failed due to a lack of press attention or simply a lack of terrifying presence, but at the end of the day they couldn’t manage to draw over 500 backers. Protocol Games will return to Kickstarter after they’ve gone through these key points: Created a demo build, secured some external funding (to lower their goal), and improve their pitch. Expect to see the game on Kickstarter again around Halloween.
Here’s one campaign I was superbly unhappy watching fail. Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ was a mix of visual novel and dungeon crawler made by folks who no doubt have an outrageous love for both genres. Mr. Tired Media, comprised of previous NIS America staff, have presumably played even more games from both genres than I ever did! Great artwork, an oddball/amusing concept, and a generally large, rabid fanbase of visual novel fans on Kickstarter wasn’t enough to push this game to its $50,000 goal, though. The team attributes some of their own campaign’s failure due to timing, reward structure/pricing, and the generally unfinished look of the RPG sections presented in screenshots. Despite the lack of funding, they’re promising to continue work on Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~. Whenever the game is complete they’ll be set to launch on Steam thanks to a successful Greenlight campaign.
There’s a heck of a lot that seemed cool about V.Next. From the hacker protagonist to gameplay which was personally reminiscent to me of early 90s PC adventure games, it was no doubt a cool world and storyline waiting to be unveiled. So, what resulted in them barely gaining $10,000 of support with a far larger goal? Unlike some projects, it’s easier to look back in hindsight and see what exactly went “wrong.” The biggest red flag in my opinion was that of a promise to release 18 episodic entries into the game over as many weeks. As short as they may be, even Telltale Games requires months to toss out the next in any one franchise. This was a huge project for anyone to take on, let alone an indie developer like SyncBuildRun LLC. In the end, they canceled their Kickstarter when it was apparent that funding simply wasn’t going to happen. They’ve promised “to make something” but are unsure what form that will take just yet.
And here’s another visual novel project that I had really wanted to see succeed. Wingdaria Destiny looked, in my opinion, to be doing everything right as far as compared to its peers. Lovely artwork, unique characters, and a heavily-branching storyline definitely got me excited enough to do an interview with the developer, after all! Unfortunately, not all stories have a happy ending their first time on Kickstarter. Luckily, they realize this, and aren’t left too broken up about the failed campaign status. As for now there will be more work put into Wingdaria Destiny, an expanded demo will be created, more reward tiers may be decided on, and then they’ll finally launch another Kickstarter campaign whenever the time is right. The visual novel is already Greenlit for release on Steam, so at least that’s one roadblock out of the way.
Here we are, yet again taking the time to check out campaigns which failed on Kickstarter over the course of a month. This time we’re looking at July. What’s the question everyone, from backers to developers, want to know? Just how many projects fail on Kickstarter, anyway? For July 25 the answer is 127 video game campaigns failed which sounds like quite the impressively distressing number. This is more than May and June’s tally of 108 each. Is there any reasoning for the increased failures? There’s a few potential reasons here, such as the fact that we have just recently made our way through a very expensive funding period (Yooka-Laylee, Shenmue 3, The Bard’s Tale IV, etc) which may have sapped the discretionary spending out of consumer’s wallets for a little while. It could also be the case that said massive and July-ended campaigns simply took all the attention away from anyone else trying to Kickstart their titles.
I’m not necessarily of that belief specifically because of the funded value. Last month 33 projects were funded and this month 31 were, so there’s very little variation there. Instead, we’re going to have to look elsewhere to discern why there was a slightly marked increased in failed campaigns during July. Luckily, we’re going to cover enough data in this article so you may make your own educated analyses about funding. First off, it’s important to address one number in particular on the quick stats image. This is of course the “low info” section.
Low info, to me at least, has been used consistently to refer to video game campaigns which offer a superbly bare page. This means that they cannot bother to show even two screenshots/artwork of their game and similarly can barely eke out over a paragraph discussing said project. Whenever I come upon such a project, it simply must be marked as a low info one. After all, people utilizing Kickstarter in this manner are not doing so with any actual potential of raising funding (unless they get their friends to back them — or it’s asking for something like $10). That’s why these ones get specifically noted, though at this time they are still used in the overall calculations. This has the potential to change, but may be in 2016 since we’ve already made it through half the year gathering data in this way. In any case, the number of low info campaigns increased slightly from June’s 31 to 39 now. So far, this makes July the month with the most projects of this type.
One of my favorite portions of these failed Kickstarter analysis posts is sitting down with all the data and seeing just how much money all these projects actually asked for. While some goals are totally fair, and just unfortunately missed their mark, there’s almost always one or two projects asking an obscene amount of money for no apparent reason. This week we’ve got two names to enter into the history books of “hilariously terrible” goal amounts. The winner, if you could call it that, is game. with its tremendous $50,000,000 goal. For reference, the most-funded Kickstarter of all time, Pebble Time, raised a little over $20 million via Kickstarter. It’s always possible to make even more money later, but asking for $50 million outright is impressive in its outlandishness. Next up is Virtual Tourism which asked for approximately $11 million. The sad thing is I really would love for someone to make an excellent digital/virtual world tourism program, but this certainly wasn’t the Kickstarter for it. Both are record-breakers in their own right, but hopefully we never see the likes of game. inspiring even higher funding goals!
That’s enough about what people hoped to raise. How much money actually exchanged hands to try and fund everything? Between all 127 campaigns, a total of $252,189 was scrounged up. That’s not a horrible amount by any stretch of the imagination, though it is half of the total raised for failed projects in June. Between everything, this results in an average of $1,986 per campaign. Unlike last month, there’s no one campaign really screwing up the average by nearly getting funded with heaps of cash. As such, this average is accurate enough to show that a ton of projects never quite got off the ground. Of course, multiple failed to get a single dollar tossed their way (this is true almost exclusively for low info campaigns). That’s not to say no one gained the attention of backers. A handful of campaigns raised healthy amounts of money but they simply weren’t enough to reach their funding goals. Check them out with the below chart that showcases the eight campaigns which received the most money.
If not for the backers, nothing would get funded. As such, let’s take a look at backers and their contributions to all the failed campaigns of July. For this month there was a maximum of 6,865 backers for all these projects. It’s worth noting that the actual number is no doubt smaller considering a backer is allowed to pledge to as many things per month as they can afford! That’s less than the 9,000-some backers from June. Then again, June also had two pretty huge campaigns in STARFIGHTER INC. and Voxelnauts. The same isn’t true here, and because of this, we again won’t need to tweak averages much at all. The average backer per campaign of all 127 is just about 54. Some projects can make it with just a small bit of support like that, but most are going to require more. It’s worth noting this number is more than the adjusted averages for June, May, and April (which all hovered somewhere around the low to mid 40s).
As always, some of the projects on Kickstarter in July were relaunches. There’s nothing inherently long with doing a campaign relaunch in and of itself. After all, many successful campaigns have been secondary ones! However, the issue is when people habitually re-post video games without doing much of any additional work to their pitch or actual project. For July there were only 11 failed relaunches, which is super close to June’s count of 10. One of these is of special note. One Final Breath had a campaign cancellation this month on July 10th only to launch yet another on the same day for a far lower value and was funded. I won’t consider removing it from the failed list because this is meant to track each and every instance of a project launch. Even though another campaign succeeded, this canceled campaign simply wasn’t.
Curious to see how close the “best” of the failed campaigns were to actually getting funded? Take a look at the graph above which shows the 35 top video game projects. The way that it trails off into close to 0% territory at just 35 shows how many campaigns little to nothing at all. Finally, let’s take a look at what types of currency were used for all these projects, as there’s usually a lot more variety in failed than successful. Here’s a list form most commonly used to least for July: USD (65), Euro (27), Pound (17), AUD (7), CAD (6), DKK (2), NZD (2), SEK (1). Have an idea about what we can do to make this information more pertinent or simply visually appealing? Let us know and we’ll consider utilizing these suggestions for future posts!
Were there any that you wanted to see get funded? That’s it for the failed Kickstarter video game campaigns of June 2015. Be sure to check out our other month-end Kickstarter data recaps to get your monthly dose of analysis.