[dropcap size=big]E[/dropcap]very month Kickstarter sees a great many wonderful successes. A few campaigns are lucky enough to be funded within days of launch while others stress us out with near photo finishes. Of course, there’s not infinite money and backers to go around so not every campaign makes it. This post is to honor some of the coolest-looking campaigns which fell short of their goals this time but might make it with a bit of campaign restructuring, further game development, and the like. Of course, as fans of crowdfunding we also see that many people simply don’t put time into creating a project. First we’ll be presenting some personally-selected stand out campaigns before delving into making sense of this month’s data.
Note: All non-US $ amounts have been converted to dollars based on exchange rates as of this writing. Please let us know in the comments if you’d like to see both currencies listed in future monthly updates.
Raised : $3,342 of $30,000 goal
Hack n slash RPGs are pretty damn fun, and Elventales: A Path Foreseen looked like it was forging a path toward something enjoyable. Its page presentation was filled with GIFs and explanation of basic gameplay systems. Still, despite some attractive pixel art and gameplay concepts it didn’t seem to differentiate itself enough to draw in more backers. Being unique is the name of the game on Kickstarter – so hopefully next time Elven Games will push more on the distinct concepts of Elventales.
Raised : $1,166 of $9,000
Here’s a bit of a surprising failure. Visual novels may be a niche genre, but fans tend to flock around any and all campaigns related to it on Kickstarter. So how and why did Irathian Chronicles: On Golden Wings fail? Honestly, it may be because of an update which discussed the developer having a sudden injury which would stop game development for a period of time. Transparency is of huge importance. Here’s hoping that when they’ve gotten better they will give Kickstarter another shot.
Raised : $4,807 of $40,032 goal
MMOs are pretty dangerous to run campaigns for due to the inherent expense involved in creating one. Had this game been of much smaller scope I firmly believe it would have been able to raise a bit more and succeed with a lesser goal amount. Why? Because Isles of Eventide has a great concept! Playing as animals surviving in a game is still a sorely underutilized gameplay mechanic and makes room for a lot of awesome aspects. Developer Leanne Froc stated that we might not have seen the last of this game on Kickstarter.
Raised : $4,483 of $110,000
Had it launched earlier in Kickstarter’s heyday I think RetroBlazer would have had no issue raising its required funds. However, it launched in 2015 – and aside the far “edgier” Strafe. With that said, this FPS looked phenomenal with bright pink and green hues, 3D art as opposed to pixels, and a distinctive futuristic Egyptian theme. Perhaps a small portion of the failure also had to do with a lack of social media push and little Kickstarter-based communication between the developer and fans. In any case, developer Hydra Game Works is not going to give up so we may see this game again soon.
Raised : $14,278 of $30,877 goal
Sol Trader pegged itself as a mix between Asteroids, Elite, and Dwarf Fortress which is basically the best way to get PC gamers hyped ever. And yet, the campaign stalled out at about half funding… Honestly, it’s as much of a mystery to me as it is to Think Code Learn. They’re currently continuing development, taking PayPal donations, and have promised to return to Kickstarter later this year.
February saw 70 failed Kickstarter videogame campaigns which is easily higher than the 28 successful ones. As per usual there was also a mix of exciting-looking projects with ones that barely offered any information at all. A paragraph of text (if that), no video, and not even any photos are no way to draw attention and funding. With that said, using incredibly generous constraints, I personally pegged 20 of these campaigns as “low info.” This means although they may not actually be reprimanded by Kickstarter, they’re providing pitches which are not poised to generate any attention whatsoever. You can read more about the low info campaign concept in this article. This month saw three campaign cancellations (Elventales: A Path Foreseen, Maestros of the Anthymn, and Meme CCG). Of these, two were pretty positive campaigns while the third fell into the little info camp. Finally, 2 of these failed runs were themselves reboots of previous campaigns.
In all, failed campaigns this month asked for close to $2 million in funding – $1,956,190 to be exact. How much was raised between all 70 projects? $67,173, or about 3% of total. Yikes, that’s not nearly what you want to hear when funding on Kickstarter. While many truly undeserving little info campaigns asked for $50,000+, the average funding goal was actually much more manageable at near $28,000. Still, average funding reached between all campaigns didn’t even manage to touch $1,000 although it got close at an average of $960. For reference, all campaigns except for Maestros of the Anythmn asking for over $150,000 were low info propositions.
The average funding to goal ratio sat at 5.4% which is quite low. It even being this “high” is thanks to 8 projects which managed to raise a few thousand bucks. But many, many other campaigns raised $5 or less over their 30 days on the platform. Why? Well, over half of these campaigns had 5 or fewer backers! Interestingly, only The World ended without a single backer. In average campaigns drew in 26 backers. Again, this number is increased by the relative “success” of the most popular failed projects. In all only 1805 backers pledged to failed projects this month. In the future, this number will be interesting to watch, as I have a feeling backers are becoming increasingly savvy about avoiding ‘obvious’ failing Kickstarters.
One trend which should be of interest (and checked) by potential backers of any campaign is previous runs by a project lead. If you look at this section and see that they’ve got a ton of failures under their belt consider why that is. Sometimes its due to an overpricing of projects or bad timing but other times is due to incredibly poor pitches which in no way highlight their potential games. Of the 70 campaigns this month, 14 were from project leads who had come to Kickstarter before. So 56 folks can learn from their formative crowdfunding mistakes and potentially succeed in the future. As for the 14 others? They should study up to ensure their future campaigns don’t continue failing.
Only ten projects included demos but those alone weren’t enough to push them to victory. That is only 7% of projects though, as opposed to 26% of successful campaigns which included demos as well. Although they’re not certain to help, it’s probably best to provide one whenever possible. Finally, there’s the interesting trend that 29 projects here were listed with non-US $ currencies, or 41% of total. This is a bit of data which feels incredibly noteworthy, although it’s hard to say yet why exactly it is. Just note that it appears if you’re not a US-based campaign the odds might just be stacked against you, unless your project is an absolute stunner or catering to an excitable niche.
Failure on Kickstarter is not inherently forever. Projects which gained at least a tiny audience during their run should consider coming back in the future. Keep an eye on Cliqist where we’ll continue to provide monthly lists and analysis of successful and failed Kickstarter campaigns! Would you be interested in seeing integration of IndieGogo data as well? Please post a comment here or in the forums to share your thoughts. You may help shape the future of our monthly update content!
Here is a list of all the rest of this month’s failed campaigns for completion’s sake. Were there any that you wanted to see get funded?