One of the biggest categories for crowdfunding on Kickstarter has been gaming. In fact, outside of movies and film, gaming has been the biggest dollar category, with over 1,300 projects raising a cumulative all-time total of $82 million at the end of January of this year.
But according to some, the party may be coming to an end. As detailed by Dean Takahashi over at Venturebeat, Chris Taylor of Gas Powered Games recently canceled a Kickstarter campaign for a new title called Wildman after it failed to reach it’s $1.1 million goal.
According to Taylor, “Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out. It’s a numbers game. Someone has lightning in a bottle. This business is really, really tough. It’s turning into a lottery business, unless you work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and study gaming for decades.”
The key question to ask is whether Taylor’s lack of success speaks to the broader crowdfunding market or gaming in particular. I tend to think gaming is reaching the end of the wick a bit faster than other categories, in part because game funding thresholds are so much higher than other categories.
For example, the average amount of money raised on Kickstarter is $11 thousand per successful project. Compare this with $62 thousand for a successful gaming project, and less than $4 thousand for a successful dance project.
And while a lot more money is going into funding for gaming, there is still a correlation between lower funding thresholds and campaign success. The success rate in general for Kickstarter projects is 43%, but gaming projects only succeed at a 33% clip, while the lower-threshold dance category succeeds at more than twice the rate, 70%.
And not only are high thresholds harder to get over, I also think Taylor’s right about Kickstarter beginning to “wear itself out”, particularly for certain categories like gaming. I also think that game funding is just very hard as there is such an explosion in game app developers, and ambitious titles like that of Wildman just require too much money in the age of the iPhone app developer.
As Taylor goes on to lament, “There was a heyday in the 1990s where you could burst in the door of a publisher and you could get a contract. You blew your budget anyway, and they dealt with it,” Taylor said. “That has locked itself so tight. Consoles are going to just hit the wall. The guys who wrote these big checks — that’s just gone.”
Gone indeed. And as for Kickstarter, not gone, but certainly harder to come by than it used to be.