Crowdfunding is a way for consumers and fans to pre-order a product during its development phase. Project owners that reach a predefined amount of funding within a limited period of time are granted their first customers while materializing their dreams.
The crowdfunding method can be used to develop almost every project that can come to mind. The relationship of the gaming industry with the crowdfunding is mostly based on the idea of it being a low-risk means of entry into the market for independent developers and publishers. But contrary to what you might expect, the success of crowdfunding campaigns for video games is steadily declining.
More games, less funding
The first and the only crowdfunding platform for game projects, Fig’s performance was quite disappointing in 2017. During the past year, $5.6 million was given to the game projects on the platform; In 2016, it was as high as $7.8 million.
There was a surprising increase in the number of projects that successfully completed their campaigns on Fig, while the amount of investment gaming projects were getting was falling. While the number of game projects successfully funded on the platform in 2016 was only six, in 2017, eleven game projects have been greenlit.
Fig’s investment and donations of $4.4 million in 2017 was made possible thanks to a high-profile project, the sequel to Pillars of Eternity.
In the shadows of tabletop gaming
Video game projects in Kickstarter, the world’s largest massive funding platform, remain in the shadow of old-fashioned tabletop games. The data compiled by Nico Partners for the first half of 2017 shows that video games on the crowdfunding site show a dull graphic.
Only 21 of the 50 most funded games on Kickstarter are video games and only five of them are funded in the last two years. Video game campaigns successfully completed in the first half of 2017 were $9.4 million, compared with $28 million in the same period of 2013.
In the first half of 2017, a total of 869 video game projects took place in Kickstarter. Only 179 of them reached their goals while 690 of them failed.
Gamers approach with suspicion
Crowdfunding campaigns are in three stages: before, during and after. The project owners who make the necessary preparations and form the business plan will collect the amount that they see fit within the determined period. If the target figure is reached during this period, the campaign is successful.
There have been many gaming projects that print the name of the massive funding history in gold letters and the campaigns have resulted in great success. However, some of them have turned into stories of surprise failures, either by not keeping promises to supporters or by experiencing unexpected problems during the development process.
Developers of Shenmue 3 funded in Kickstarter have asked for an additional $10 million after collecting the targeted $ 2 million. Another game project that collected money from supporters and didn’t deliver promises was Mighty No. 9. There is also Star Citizen, which collected over 150 million USD, and is not still finished.
Aside from the ones that could never be completed, there were projects that disappointed supporters. Successfully funded projects like Ouya, Godus, Yogventures, and so forth, didn’t live up to the standards the developers promised.
Game of the year was also crowdfunded
Launching a campaign with a $500,000 target on Kickstarter in 2015, Larian Studios has just gathered $2 million in support for Divinity: Original Sin 2 in 30 days.
Awarded as the GOTY by PC Gamer, Divinity 2 exceeded 1 million sales in November of last year, and even more important was the unforgettable game experience for the gamers. Original Sin 2 and other successful examples that will follow it can help gamers overcome their suspicions for the crowdfunding projects.
While Divinity 2 garnered positive reviews from the media, the crowdfunding success was not only due to the fact that it was a professionally handled project. According to Kickstarter data, supporters are more inclined to fund nostalgic productions and sequels/spiritual successors. We could say that the gamers are evading risks.