75% Of Video Game Kickstarters Fail

75% Of Video Game Kickstarters Fail

Turns out not everybody is Tim Schafer. Though the creator of Grim Fandango set Kickstarter records earlier this year, raising over $US3 million for his point-and-click adventure game, most crowdfunded gaming projects aren’t nearly as successful.

In fact, according to a Kickstarter representative who spoke to Kotaku yesterday, only about 25 per cent of video game projects reach their funding goals. In contrast, about 45 per cent of all projects reach their funding goals, the representative said. So gaming Kickstarters aren’t doing very well at all. Established games like Wasteland and Leisure Suit Larry may have reached their goals, but they’re more exception than rule.

In other words, Kickstarter ain’t a revolution in the gaming industry just yet.

Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/Shutterstock.


  • Be more interested to see numbers on % of ‘normal’ game projects that make it out the door.

  • To be fair, this period must have inspired a lot of half-arsed projects. It’s not so much the kickstarter way of funding as it is the under prepared pitches that doesn’t help projects pick up.

    • Agreed. I think there’s a lot of underprepared and inexperienced indie devs/studios who have jumped on the kickstarter bandwagon in the wake of Schaefer’s success with no plan, no marketing, and no real idea. They’re probably also significantly underestimated their costs and I doubt they’ll succeed – something at least Schaefer is prepared for, Even if they fail to put out a decent game, we still get a behind-the-scenes documentary out of it, something I think a lot of other devs will be able to learn from. I’m actually surprised the Leisure Suit Larry kickstarter made their target, because their page reeked of desperation. I liked LSL when I was too young to be actually playing it, but I don’t know if that’s really a game for today’s market.

      Anyway. I think you’re right.

    • I think it’s more this. So many games are just selling empty promises and don’t really have much in the way of tangible evidence to support their claims. Then, there are some that have a bit of concept art and that’s about it but still want a ridiculously high amount of money.

      They need to start to learn that you need to have something to sell people on the idea and unless you can use your pedigree or “fame” to sell the idea (ie Tim Schafer) you’re not going to get exorbitant amounts. It would certainly help if they went for lower amounts to part fund a project but otherwise they have the capital (or can secure the capital) to complete the project.

      I mean, look at that ridiculous Working Designs Kickstarter. 500k for a “deluxe” package of a game we’re already getting? :/

  • It’s not just videogames. I am producing a TV pilot, and am trying to raise money on Australia’s version of Kickstarter, Pozible. We’ve done an incredible amount of promotion for it and just can’t get barely anyone to pledge. We’ve got a LOT of people interested in it…. lots of people are spreading the word, but even those who are showing interest don’t seem to be willing to pledge themselves. It seems that in order to make crowdfunding really work, you really need some kind of celebrity involvement, or a very large existing fanbase, such as Tim Schafer. I also have a mate who produced a crowd funded feature in LA called Lust For Love, and they were able to make over a hundred thousand because the film is being made by a large number of actors who have appeared in Joss Whedon’s tv show Dollhouse.

    • I’ve never even heard of Pozible till now.
      According to their “like button” only 8K people like it.
      I think you’ll find this is a big part of your problem. Crowdfunding requires crowds….

      • We were planning to use Kickstarter, but with kickstarter you must live in the US and have a social security number, so we researched AU crowdfunding platforms and Pozible is the highest profile one is Australia. If you check out the page, there are a lot of projects that have made a lot of money off Pozible…

      • Yes, you are correct. There are Australian projects on Kickstarter, but to recieve payments from kickstarter, you must have a verified Amazon Business account, which requires a US address and either a US credit card or social security number. The only way you can use Kickstarter from Australia is if you know someone in the US with an Amazon Business account, or someone willing to set one up for you.

        @ZenMarx out of curiosity, what is the URL for your Pozible page?

    • It would be really hard to pull this off in Australia. I think peoples faith in quality Australian productions is at rock-bottom. Compounding that, we don’t have a philanthropic culture (we usually push egalitarianism through Governance rather than individual donations) and your pretty much boned from the start. Good on you for trying though.

  • Leisure Suit Larry only just scraped through, too. I wonder if things would have been different if they were creating a new game, rather than proposing to re-make the first LSL.

    I only have 1 friend who was genuinely interested in a new LSL, and he’s already bought the first game at least twice (the EGA and then again when he bought the LSL collection). He really wasn’t interested in paying for the same game a 3rd time, despite the modern updates.

    • Oh, I was mistaken. I thought the LSL drive had ended. $100k more than the target isn’t really “just scraping through”, and there’s still a little time to go. It’s not the huge success that DFA and Wasteland were, though.

    • I knew about Pozible because of one of the Show and Tell articles here on Kotaku having their project on it. Still, people probably just don’t realise that Australians can’t use Kickstarter without an American account so they just think that everyone is on Kickstarter and don’t look for alternatives.

  • Hadn’t heard of Pozible before. Didn’t know Kickstarter required so many hoops to jump through either though..

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