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.
Raised: $103,834 of $675,000 goal
Okay, so, I have this weird obsession with the 1950s. Both the reality of the time period, as well as the aggressive media push at the time to turn the era into something it never was have always intrigued me. Left 4 Dead also happens to be one of my favorite multiplayer games of all time. As such, it only makes sense that Aberford excited me completely. This game of housewives versus zombies was simply too compelling to pass up, and I hoped others would feel the same way. Many did, but it appears to have not been quite enough as the team could not attain the vast majority of their goal. On one hand, I’d say that Left 4 Dead’s hold on people is long since gone, but that’s not true either. Just look at the recent release of Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide which is in many ways a modern version. What now? Aberford cannot move into full production without this funding, but Sketchy Panda Games are considering seeking other avenues of funding and may return to Kickstarter in the future.
Raised: $11,450 of $50,000 goal
A Wizard’s Lizard was a totally adorable top-down action RPG which was originally funded via Kickstarter in 2013 (under the name Crypt Run). With a nice-sized fan following, great gameplay, and adorable artwork, it seemed that A Wizard’s Lizard 2 should be a shoo-in for Kickstarter success. Unfortunately, it seems that the goal was a bit too high of an estimate when compared with the size of the fandom. That, and the pitch didn’t do well enough to entice folks who had never heard of the original before to fund a sequel. The developers ended up cancelling the project themselves with the conceit that they recognized it wasn’t ready for prime time yet. This is a hard thing to do, but at least the team is aware and will endeavor to present A Wizard’s Lizard 2 in an even greater way for a future Kickstarter.
Raised: $46,379 of $500,000 goal
I’m gonna be completely honest. From the minute this campaign launched I had a strong sense that it simply wasn’t going to make it. MDK and Giants: Citizen Kabuto are important PC games, sure, and they did something unique upon their release. With that said, I don’t feel that their legacy is still felt strongly by many gamers today, and in fact a whole generation have never even heard of them (as compared to other PC classics such as Half-Life and Deus Ex). THen there was the fact that they were asking for half a million bucks for something primarily due to it being a “spiritual successor” to awesome, niche titles. In the end, Rogue Rocket Games canceled their project with the recognition that 1) they did not get the word out to enough people and 2) they focused far too much on MDK/Giants. We may be seeing First Wonder return to Kickstarter later, or even make the jump to Steam Early Access in the future.
Raised: $18,189 of $20,000 goal
It’s always disheartening to see a cool-looking Kickstarter campaign fail. You know what is even worse? When a project just barely fails. Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age almost met its $20,000 goal. However, unlike most which will scrap up enough cash in the final hours, this one ended up just a bit short. Maybe the failure to attract attention had to do with its confusing amalgamation of genres? After all, the pitch suggested it would be a mix of “Diablo meets PKMN [Pokemon] meets Zelda meets C&C [Command & Conquer]” and I’ll admit, that’s hard to imagine. I’m of the opinion that a demo would have definitely been a good idea, but the time has passed for that. Developer BeautiFun Games will continue working on the project, and it’s possible they may return to Kickstarter later in development.
Raised: $25,189 of $57,000 goal
Oh, Witch Boy Magical Piece. I’ve previously written about my opinions why this game did not succeed on Kickstarter, but here’s a quick rundown. Basically, the concept of a boy’s love game with a heavy focus on crossdressing as well proved too much of a niche for much of the visual novel audience to get behind. In greater issues, the project itself had a very poorly laid out project page and there were not enough potential rewards right from the get go. Heck, even it’s status as a mobile game port may have pushed some potential fans aside. In the end, the project failed and Sekai Project have yet to post an official comment about what happens next in their backer updates. However, they have replied in the comments section and elsewhere that they will continue to pursue making Witch Boy Magical Piece happen sometime next year.
Hey there, it’s time for our latest edition of failed Kickstarter campaign analysis. October proved to be quite the fruitful month, with 23 successful campaigns, but of course there were a fair share of failures as well. This month 115 projects didn’t meet their funding goal. While that may sound like a lot, and it is, that’s actually a far smaller number than last month. September saw 142 failed projects which made it the highest count for the year thus far. October has not only gone lower than September, but lower than August’s 126 and July’s 127. Does this mean everyone is giving up on Kickstarter? Not at all! We are seeing projects simply thin out a bit during the Winter season which means less failures (or successes). My assumption is the number will pick up again, and actually grow, as we head into next year.
Last month, I attributed a stark increase in low information campaigns to the main reason for the inflation of failed projects in September. This month, we have 51 projects that I’ve deemed “low info” as compared to the massive 65 last time. Back in August, the number sat at 53, so it does appear that we’re lowering down again. As was stated above, the decreasing quantity of these types of projects is not likely a sign that people are figuring out Kickstarter is not all about free money for no work. It’s just that folks are posting less projects to begin with in this time frame. It’d be nice if folks did learn, or that Kickstarter implemented slightly stricter regulations, but neither is likely to occur any time soon!
Is there anything worth noting about the successes as compared to previous months? Perhaps, or perhaps not. Over the past few months the number has gone as follows: 33, 31, 34, 27, and now 23. That makes October quite the low month as far as Kickstarters which met their goals are concerned, but it isn’t overwhelmingly frightening just yet. What would scare me is if this number continues its decline once we are into 2016. But, that is not likely to occur, so let’s not sound any alarms just yet. In any case, let’s return to the topic at hand – failed projects!
During October there were 37 different projects which were canceled for one reason or nanother. One of these cancellations is related to a successfully funded project (Highschool Possession), but the rest are not. Notably, unlike most months, three of these projects in particular had special issues. Forest Heart had its funding suspended by Kickstarter. MineDig is currently the subject of an IP dispute with Mojang, the developer of Minecraft. Finally, New era: The Legend also saw its funding suspended. Luckily, none of these projects were particularly raking in big bucks to cause trouble for backers. September actually saw just a few more cancelations at 39, but without these extra issues. It’s incredibly interesting to see that more folks are making use of the cancel feature on Kickstarter. This at least shows that some folks are aware of the realities of funding enough to “know” they just won’t succeed by a certain point. As for relaunches, the 11 from this month is just one less than the amount during September. We know that a single relaunch was funded as well, so congratulations to Pixel Noir for being that solitary success story.
Here we are, one of my favorite data points to present each and every month. The total funding goal is a count of every failed project’s funding goals smushed together. For October, that number stands at $6,194,846. This is a mighty large number, but if you’ve been keeping tabs on previous articles then you’ll know this is actually miniscule with compared to how ridiculous things can get. On most months, there is at least one (almost exclusively low information) project asking for some sum over one million bucks which inflates this number to an extravagant degree. This month there was only one failed project asking for over a million. That dubious honor belongs to New Horizons with its $1.7 million goal. Hey, it might be bad, but not nearly as bad as some projects out there. For comparison, September had a total funding goal of $30 million. Even that doesn’t come close to the current highest value of $67 million back in July. Seriously! So, really, October’s count is quite tame.
After taking a look at what everyone was asking for cumulatively, it’s time to see how much money they actually raised before their projects all failed. All in all, these 115 projects almost raised $626,787 throughout October. That actually wouldn’t be such a bad amount if it weren’t for the fact that, you know, $6 million needed to be raised between it all. It’s also a fair bit more money than could have been raised in September which was sub $400,000. Who almost raised the most money? Horror game Allison Road was the top dog with $223,624 in funding. You may recall that this project was canceled because it was actually picked up by publisher Team 17. With that said, had the cancelation not occurred it appeared that the project was trending for failure. Next in line for funding was Aberford with its $103,834. Since we’ve already featured it above there’s not much more to add. In third place was a 3D RPG by the name of Tears of Avia. They raised $55,627 but would have needed to double that amount to actually succeed. You can check out the chart below to see the top eight failed projects in regards to which (almost) made the most money.
Now it’s time for us to turn our attention to backers. As all these failed projects now know, you need to get the word out about your awesome project to backers so they’ll actually pledge. October saw a maximum backer amount of 13,709. In all likelihood, the actual number of backers is smaller because some folks probably pledged to more than a single of these failed projects during the month. This is compared with the 10,443 potential maximum of September, which shows that there were some more folks around this month. Okay, so how about the average amount of backers per project? That number ends up as about 119 backers per project. It’s not a ton, but under the right circumstances should be enough people to fund a low to mid range project. Obviously that was not the case here. If we want, we can remove the campaigns with the abnormally high backer counts (when compared with the rest of the numbers) which are Aberford and Allison Road. Dropping out their combined 6,000 backers results in a new average of 62 backers per project. Not bad, though definitely a fair chunk less.
We’ve started to keep track of backer updates during campaigns to see if these have any relation to projects getting funded or not. It might or might not mean much, but here’s information for the month’s failed projects. In total, there were 376 updates across all 115 projects. This is compared to the approximately 240 from September, despite the higher number of projects in total last month. This, to me, shows that there were multiple projects that were more “serious” about their whole Kickstarter initiative. Or at the least, there were a few folks out there inundating backers with posts. For example, NoseBound saw 29 posts over its 30 day campaign. Healing Process: Tokyo saw 27 updates, which is also quite a high amount for both successful and failed projects. Outside of these outliers, the average number of updates per project sat around 3.
Up above is a graphical representation of what degree each project was nearly funded. Well, for the top 35, as you’ll find expanding the amount far beyond that leaves tons of campaigns at 1% funded, if that. In any case, we can see that a few projects were so very near to their funding goal but most were nowhere close. This is a trend we see repeated month after month and, as such, I feel safe suggesting that the trend will continue in this way for a great deal longer. That is, unless Kickstarter shakes things up in a new way, or perhaps another site becomes the dominant force in crowdfunding in the years to come. Since we chat about it in the successful campaigns analysis, let’s also look at the currencies correlated with each failed project. Of 115 projects, here’s the breakdown: USD (58), Euro (23), Pound (18), CAD (11), AUD (4), NOK (1). US dollar is still the strongest of the bunch, though we continue to see tons of alternative currencies in the failure pile. At least a few were also represented in October’s successful batch too.
Were there any that you wanted to see get funded? That’s it for the failed Kickstarter video game campaigns of October 2015. Be sure to check out our other month-end Kickstarter data recaps to get your monthly dose of analysis.