Welcome to our monthly analysis of successful Kickstarter videogame projects, this time focusing on October 2015! As with each and every month, there were tons of campaigns to keep track of. This article is devoted to covering all Kickstarter campaigns which completed at some point during the month of October having met their funding goal. This includes campaigns for video games themselves, as well as video game-related media (such as books, conventions, and that sort of thing). There were a couple really powerfully funded campaigns this month, but overall, it was a fairly tame timeframe. Although we do not have personally-generated statistics for trends of previous years, it has been proven by other data in the past that campaigns really do slow down at a certain point as November draws near. It makes sense, given the concept that consumer spending (at least in the United States) sees a tremendous increase around Winter to coincide with a variety of holidays. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of our favorite successes from October.
Note: All non-US $ amounts have been converted to dollars based on exchange rates as of this writing.
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan (Previous Coverage)
Days to Success: 28
RPGs are a fantastic genre, but it’s hard to ignore that so many of them seem to fall into very similar landscapes. There’s nothing wrong with sprawling fantasy, but why not draw from excellent mythology which already exists out there in the world? African mythology is extremely rich, which is part of why Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan looks so darn appealing. Of course, it also helps that the game itself looks beautifully animated and colorful. Players engage in real time combat with the husband and wife team of Enzo and Erine, which it in itself a distinct concept for RPG party members. As of this moment, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is only planned for Windows PCs in English and French, but they would really love to bring it to Mac and Linux users as well in the future. As of right now, we can expect the game to launch sometime around the second quarter of 2016.
Days to Success: 5
Tired of playing as a boring old human in video games? Home Free is one of those games that, upon hearing the pitch, excited tnos of people. Basically, players assume the role of a dog who has found itself lost in the big city. You’ll explore randomly-generated cities, find a way to survive the mean streets, and hopefully eventually make it as a street-wise pup. This cool concept is combined with a lovely colorful, polygonal art style which makes it all the more of an inviting game (in my opinion). Thanks to the quick success of Home Free on Kickstarter, the game will now include things like cats and an expanded city. As of this very moment, the hope is to have the game prepared for both PC and PS4 players in November 2016.
The Journey Down (Previous Coverage)
Days to Success: 14
As an adventure game fan, I was well aware of the name The Journey Down before this Kickstarter launched. The episodic point and click adventure title first came out in 2013 and was an interesting take on things with its duo of charming, funny protagonists. Despite cool themes and artwork, The Journey Down: Chapter Two took a year to arrive. Since 2014, things have been quiet. To some degree, I had felt that SkyGoblin simply gave up on their episodic series due to budgetary or other constraints. It definitely now appears money was a huge issue — after all, they launched a Kickstarter! I couldn’t tell if it would succeed, as the series doesn’t have as huge a following as other adventure games, but luckily my fears were quelled when the project succeed about halfway through its funding period. We should expect to see the game around September 2016.
Days to Success: 28
I’m going to say it right now, Mesozica is not on this list because it has a polished Kickstarter campaign in the least. When I saw the project page at first, I thought to myself “there’s little chance this will make it.” Why was I so harsh? Simple, it was a ton of CG dinosaurs with little else to support the concept of an awesome new tycoon game. Heck, their first tier reward of a “Twitch shout out” also made me roll my eyes. So why is this here? Because it succeeded off a cool concept alone — and a concept that I have an instant adoration for. Some of my earliest PC gaming memories revolve around playing DinoPark Tycoon. Once I became a bit more adept, I also fell for the Zoo Tycoon titles. The resurgence for tycoon games doesn’t seem to have happened yet, but it may be just around the corner. If done correctly, Mesozoica could manage to be a great new dino tycoon sim.
Pixel Noir (Previous Coverage)
Days to Success: 11
Huzzah, we’re highlighting a relaunch campaign in October’s set of successes! That always feels great. Pixel Noir first took a stab at Kickstarter in late 2014 but failed to generate its nearly $100,000 goal amount. This time, they dropped their estimate way down to $30,000 (which is about what they raised before). Guess what, they not only made that, but actually doubled it by the end. Their pitch had been tightened up and given a shiny new coat. This JRPG-inspired noir adventure not only looked cooler, there was also a gameplay demo available. There’s little doubt in my mind that these campaign tweaks are part of what helped it draw far more attention this time around. Pixel Noir is coming to tons of devices with planned versions on PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), Nintendo 3DS, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Android and iOS.
Here we are, time to begin taking a look at the numbers related to the Kickstarter campaigns of this month. As of late, Kickstarter has been fluctuating a fair bit with regard to its “total funded” amount across all successful Kickstarter videogame projects. In August, we saw the very first instance (in 2015) where a month went by and raised under $1 million in total. September luckily saw this bounce back up to a hefty sum of $3.4 million. Of course, as is usually the case, much of this was directly attributable to a single campaign. In the case of September that project was Divinity: Original Sin 2. This month strikes a balance between low and high funding with its value of $1,843,571. Folks who were paying attention this month will rightly assume that there were a few standout projects which ate up a large portion of this funding.
Which were they? The two campaigns in question are Battle Chasers: Nightwar and The Dwarves. I’ll admit, the massive success of both came as a huge surprise to me, though they really shouldn’t have. Battle Chasers: Nightmare looks to be quite the cool dungeon crawling RPG. Even so, its lack of name recognition which was what kept my expectations low. Luckily, it turned out to do exceedingly well with a total of $856,354 on Kickstarter (which does not count the money they’ve raised since the campaign ended). The Dwarves is a new fantasy RPG from KING Art Games. I know I’m totally alone in this, but I just did not enjoy their previous titles. They do definitely have a great level of quality, though, that much cannot be denied. In any case, instead of a point and click adventure it appears they’re testing their hand at an action game and many are excited! In total, The Dwarves raised $310,091 and is currently accepting pledges via PayPal.
There’s one campaign to take note of from this month that is being counted in the tally despite being canceled. That project is Highschool Possession by AJ Tilley. As with basically every other campaign of theirs, it succeeded with little issue, but then was canceled by the project head themselves. This is the second time they have pulled this tactic, with the first successful/canceled project being My Highschool Crossdressing Romance in September. The reasoning behind the cancellations may be different, but it’s just worth noting that this campaign is counted in the data round up alongside projects which hopefully will not cancel themselves down the line. You can read more about AJTilley’s campaigns here.
With those few campaigns given a bit of special discussion, now let’s turn to all the rest of the success for October. There were 23 different projects which made it this month. This is lower than September’s 27, but not monumentally so. All together, everyone was asking for a cumulative total amount of $1,187,929. That’s quite a lot, but we can see that they raised far over it with $1.8 million in total. Well, sort of. When you remove Battle Chasers: Nightwar and The Dwarves it’s more like a fair number of campaigns only just scraped together their goal values. Still, there were a handful of projects which managed to receive double their funding goal by the end.
Looking at the average values helps to explain the distinct funding stories a bit more. The average amount of funding received per project sits at $80,155 without any manipulation. However, it is important to remove the statistical anomaly that is Battle Chasers: Nightwar, if nothing else. Removing that one project drops the average funding value to $44,874. This is significant because the goal value between everything averages out to $51,649. But, to be fair, let’s remove the same project and see what the new value is. With it removed it drops to $31,270. There we go, so as we can see, there is still a pretty healthy average of around $13,000 over goal values for October. Of course, averages are just averages and do not tell a full story on their own.
Last month I noticed that there was a potentially dangerous trend creeping up. This trend was that there were three different Kickstarter projects which were deemed “low information.” In my belief, a low information campaign is one which can’t even offer up two normal sized paragraphs of text and two screenshots to show off some actual aspect of the game (aka: not stolen artwork from other titles or illustrators). This month there were just two of these campaigns, though even that is a bit irksome. Unlike most low information campaigns, both Mermaids VS Zombies and Who’s Your Daddy managed to raise $516 and $2,458 respectively. I’m really unsure how this happened, but hey, at least it looks like they’re both working on their projects (as is evidenced by backer updates). They just didn’t offer up particularly compelling project pages.
Here’s something I always find interesting to take a look at. Between all 23 successful campaigns for October, how long did it take for each to actually get funded? As is visible from the chart above, a few did well enough to get funded on day one, with 7 others still making it in around the first week. Of course, there were also a big chunk which languished until the final week. All in all, this isn’t very different from the trend exhibited in September. The most notable thing to me about the selection is that, despite 6 campaigns which ran for over 31 days, only one saw a very late funding. Usually the trend for long projects is that funding expands to the full length of their campaign, making it take even longer to succeed.
So, with the topic of funding periods taken care of, let’s take a quick look at the currencies which each successful campaign was funded via. As is still always the case, US dollars remain the most popular currency. However, a surprising amount of Kickstarters also succeeded with Pounds. Here’s the breakdown for your viewing pleasure, from most prolific to least: USD (11), Pound (8), Euro (2), CAD (1), SEK (1). It’s refreshing to see a continued variety of currencies because this often means that the projects themselves are based in locations outside of the US. Of course, this isn’t always accurate. After all, some projects using USD still suggest their development team is based somewhere entirely else. Very rarely do we see projects with US teams utilize non-$ currency, however.
Now it’s time to take a peek at backer stats. After all, without backers there would be no campaign success on Kickstarter whatsoever. As is depicted from the above chart, the project with the most backers in October was Battle Chasers: Nightwar with 14,175 of them. This makes a ton of sense considering how much the project raised. Up next is The Dwarves with 5,925 which again makes complete sense. The number stays fairly high for Home Free and For the King before drawing down into the 1,000s before quickly dropping off to much smaller values. In total, there were a maximum of 38,758 backers, down from a total of 42,713 from September. The reason why this number is certainly smaller in reality is because it is certain some backers pledged to more than one project in October. What about average amount of backers per campaign? That average is 1,685. It’s not that huge, but again, carries the weight one of major success which must be removed. Cutting off the outlier results in a smaller average of 1,117. That’s not bad, all told, but more backers is generally better. It’s also a lower value than September’s modified average of 1,378.
Onto taking a look at average funding in regards to backers… well, as best as we can currently ascertain. If we simply take a look at dividing the number of backers per campaign by funding goal we end up with a total average backer pledge of $43.86. Looking at the average backer values per campaign, though, it is notable that a few projects have superbly high average backer values, such as De Mambo’s $169.69 value! How does this happen? Simple, just look at the data a bit further. In the case of this project in particular, we see that there were under 200 backers in total, and that three backers pledged over £2,000 each. With just a few folks doing this it is very easy to totally throw the average out of whack. In any case, if we remove outliers such as this average we get a new cumulative average of $38.14. It’s not a huge drop, but it does already sound a fair bit more reasonable.
What about reward tiers? That’s something both backers and prospective project runners want to know about. We currently keep track of three tier sections: The lowest and highest tiers, as well as the lowest tier which includes a copy of the game (and is not an “early bird” tier). The average for lowest tier was $4 while the highest sat at $2,438. As for the average price of a game reward tier? That was $17, which is a few bucks higher than the $13 for September.
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 with inquiries and suggestions. 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.
Here’s a look at each successful campaign in a handy table to get a glimpse at (a small sampling of) the information we gathered to make this post possible: