Every 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 August 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.
Devastated Dreams (Previous Coverage)
Raised: $32,253 of $115,896 goal
Holy moly, talk about a campaign completely not going according to your expectations. When developer Matt Gilgenbach ran his Kickstarter for Neverending Nightmares, it almost wasn’t funded. That, despite the totally creepy atmosphere, unique concept, and excellent artwork. I had expected the interest from that game to carry the next title, Devastated Dreams. Unfortunately, it seems even the huge boost of attention received by his previous horror release didn’t translate into a swarm of fans. Sure, there were nearly 1,000 backers to the Devastated Dreams campaign, but somehow it failed to really grab hold and get people to back. With the campaign left unfunded, the future of this next game is still undetermined. Without the funds it simply may not be possible to make — especially now that Gilgenbach is poised to become a father! Here’s hoping this is not the last we hear of Infinitap Games.
Foxtail (Previous Coverage)
Raised: $8,226 of $39,579
I’ll admit, Foxtail didn’t ever have the most comprehensive Kickstarter page out there. Aside from showing a few lovely screenshots and giving us a sample of what the point and click adventure would bring, it was pretty quiet. Even so, I had my fingers crossed to see this adorable little adventure make a name for itself amongst the competition but that didn’t happen. That’s not to say the project was a total loss. People obviously enjoyed what they did see, since 8,000 bucks funneled right into the project. Imagine what would have been the case if they actually had put more effort into the Kickstarter description! Or, if they didn’t have the confusion caused by the Indiegogo campaign also launching. The Foxtail team has pledged to keep backers in the loop with “everything” they do, which hopefully involves a relaunch in the future.
Pixel Ripped 1989 (Previous Coverage)
Raised: $19,900 of $62,122 goal
I do not currently own an Oculus Rift nor any other sort of virtual reality device. None of my friends do either. Yet, I found myself utterly captivated by Pixel Ripped 1989 since before it received that name change. I had believed this to be true for much of the Rift community as well, as many have tried it and waxed poetic about the whole thing. Somehow, though, that wasn’t enough to sustain a crowdfunding campaign for Pixel Ripped 1989. What caused this failure? Was it due to a different name? Was it the funding video? Is the virtual reality community simply less obsessively devoted as they once were? It’s impossible to tell for sure, but this is a definite disappointment in my book. Here’s hoping the team does return to Kickstarter once again, perhaps when the Rift has launched in consumer form to give them an even larger potential backer base.
Satellite Rush (Previous Coverage)
Raised: $12,370 of $18,000 goal
Smash TV is one of my favorite games, even now. There’s just something about the fun of a top-down shooter with hordes of enemies, and a TV game show aesthetic, that got to me. Satellite Rush looked to push many of those same buttons, only set in an alien spaceship. The colorful pixelart graphics looked to create a distinct flavor immediately, and the roguelike elements brought a whole different style to play over its retro inspirations. A lot of people wanted this game aside from me. After all, by the end it had raised over half the goal. Still, that’s not enough in Kickstarter land. As a post-campaign failure post revealed, Kimeric Labs haven’t given up on their title. They’re currently trying to increase their social media presence and even launched a Patreon to help them out.
Submerge (Previous Coverage)
Raised: $25,562 of $62,196 goal
It was quite the tough month for real time strategy games on Kickstarter all around. Submerge was not the only one in this genre to flounder in August, but it’s my personal pick for the most distressing of the failures. You see, this was a RTS with some truly inspired ideas. Taking place underwater, your seafaring vessel would have to survive against deep sea creatures all the while trying to ensure their oxygen didn’t run out while seeking resources. Of course, players could also go head to head against other players to see who would come out on top. As far as I could tell, this looked like a fantastic idea that would raise its Kickstarter funds in no time… but my predictions are far from infallible. In the end, they simply canceled their campaign after little interaction with backers. We may see Submerge again, but currently have no explicit statements from the developer to know for sure.
We’re back with yet another look at the failed Kickstarter video game-related campaigns for 2015. This time, we’re casting our analysis on August. As always, the question on everyone’s mind is how many failures are there, exactly? August saw an unfortunately impressive count of 126 (which counts plain failures, cancellations, and even DMCA takedowns). The number may seem astonishingly high for some, but only if you’ve not checked on our previous months. July actually had one more campaign with 127! However, unlike July, we no longer had the holdover from massive campaigns to draw people’s attention away from other projects.
My reasoning for why the failed count remains so high is because of an increasing number of developers launching low information campaigns and cancellations. It is not fair to simply take this high value of 127 and expect it to show the signs of danger. After all, when we look at the successful campaigns, it tells a different, less worrisome story. Last month, 31 campaigns succeeded while this month 34 did. This number has remained fairly similar over the past few months, with June situated between July and August with its 33.
So, now that we’ve mentioned the potential causes for a continuously high proportion of Kickstarter failures, let’s look into them a bit more. Low information campaigns are my description for projects which can’t even manage to show two screenshots or a few paragraphs of text about their game. It shouldn’t be so hard to do, right? Yet, month after month we see pages with nothing more than two lines of text and maybe a title card. In July there were 39 projects which I classified as low info. This past month the number rose to 53. Before these months, June held the high with 31. It makes sense that the number will continue to increase as more people become aware of Kickstarter. Still, it’s a huge annoyance when it comes to capturing the best data possible. With that said, it would be fun to compare low info campaign expectations with those of “legitimate” projects to see just how off base they really are.
Interesting to note is the fact that canceled campaigns have also increased, from 23 in July to 36 in August. One of these projects, Cross Reverie, was actually canceled because it received an excellent deal off Kickstarter. Everyone else, though, lost out. With 10 failed relaunches, it also appears that simply tossing your campaign out a second time (or third, or fourth, as is the case with a few) is not enough — but we could have told you that.
The most entertaining aspect about viewing failed campaigns is always watching for which Kickstarter will have the most outrageously unattainable goal. Each and every month there’s always at least one expecting a million bucks or more with a paragraph of text to supposedly lure in backers. August’s total funding goal is actually rather tame at a little over $8 million. Well, it is when compared to the absolutely record-breaking goal of $67 million from July (wherein one game asked for $50 million alone!). Luckily, no one copied them this time around. Instead, our pie in the sky creator asked for $2,000,000 to create Homeland. Aside from that, the second big ticket Kickstarter was none other than RED ASH – The Indelible Legend with a goal of $800,000.
This is a game which deserves a special bit of attention as it showcases a very interesting turn for crowdfunding. At the earliest days of Kickstarter, it was possible to create a project and leave gamers basically guessing as to what the heck it would actually be. Double Fine Adventure, at one time the biggest gaming success on the site, really says very little about the actual game with nary a screenshot in sight. All it did was capitalize on the brand recognition of Double Fine and Tim Schafer. In some ways, RED ASH – The Indelible Legend utilized a similar approach. Sure, it had something to show for the game, but what was on display was incredibly rough artwork. Again, the expectation was for Keiji INafune’s name to make it a hit just as Mighty No. 9 before. That appeal may not work anymore, as we’ve seen with this very high profile failure.
So, now that we know how much was asked for between all 126 failed projects of the month, let’s look at how much they actually managed to raise during their collective funding periods. By the end, total funding amounted to $800,998, although those funds aren’t going to be doled out. Interestingly, this amounts to more funding than was actually raised by the successes of August (which was around $600,000). Of course, we have to chalk a huge proportion of this up to RED ASH since they raised $519,999. With that one out of the picture the funding amount looks a fair bit bleaker at $280,999. That’s still higher than July’s actual total of $252,189. If we take a look at the average raised it’s pretty high at $6,357 but that’s also due to the influence of one major campaign. Removing it yields a smaller average funding amount of $2,248… and that’s still higher than July’s $1,986. Want to know which campaigns in particular raised the most money before failing? Just take a look at this handy chart of the top eight:
It’s now time to take a look at backers for each of these projects. After all, it is thanks to backers that anything ever gets funded to begin with! Well, not in the case of these projects, but in general. There were a maximum of 12,489 backers across all failed Kickstarters this month. With that said, the real number is almost certainly lower because backers may chose to fund more than one thing per month. It’s not fair to use this number though, as again RED ASH taints the picture with its huge reach. Removing those backers yields a smaller maximum backer pool of 5,939. This is about 1,000 less than July. As for average number of backers between each of the 126 failures, that number is around 99 by default. But, when you remove the outlier, this drops in half to 48. That’s actually not a huge surprise though as July’s count sat at 54. Prior to that, the number tends to situate itself in the mid 40s.
Let’s take another quick look at relaunches, as this trend seems to hold firm regardless of which month we’re on. The failed relaunches this time amounted to 10, and that number is weirdly consistent with past months. July saw 11, but June also saw 10. Initially, I had believed that we would see an increasing amount of relaunches as time goes on, but it seems that this isn’t true. There are definitely a few folks out there popping their same exact title on month after month, but the people who do this don’t appear to be increasing in number much. That, or some finally give up while others pick up the habit.
Here’s a look at which campaigns were closest to being actually funded. This does not mean they raised the most money, simply that they got shockingly close to reaching their goal. Disciples of the Storm came incredibly close with 81%, and a few others raised around 70%, but beyond that we can see just how quickly things decreased. Order of the Ancients was just 11% funded, and that’s only the 35th title! That means a huge chunk of the 126 projects could not even crack 10%. 13 didn’t raise a single dollar. Finally, let’s check out the split in regards to currency used per campaign. From most to least used, the amounts are as follows: USD (64), Euro (33), CAD (14), Pound (10), AUD (4), 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 August 2015. Be sure to check out our other month-end Kickstarter data recaps to get your monthly dose of analysis.