Kickstarter Made Less Money, Funded Fewer Games In 2014

Kickstarter Made Less Money, Funded Fewer Games In 2014

Kickstarter’s had a mixed 2014: cancelled games, shady goings on but also successes and feel good stuff. Numbers don’t lie however, and this year less games were funded and less money was spent. A lot less.

This presentation from consultants ICO Partners has been looking at projects “that ended between the 1st of January 2014 and the 30th of June 2014” and comparing them to last year. It’s a slightly speculative report as it’s doubling six months of this year and comparing it to all of last year, but there are some noticeable differences. As the author Thomas Bidaux points out: “we don’t get near the numbers we had in 2013.”

Here are some of the key bits:

  • “446 funded projects in 2013, 175 funded project for 2014’s first half. Projecting for a similar number of projects in the second half, it would mean that there were only 20% fewer funded projects in 2014. This is a decline certainly, but not a terrible collapse.”
  • “Looking at total amount of money pledged might be a bigger concern. 2013 saw $US58m pledged towards video games, whereas the first half of 2014 stands at $US13.5m. If 2014 second half is comparable (something that is not easy considering you need a similar number of big hits), 2014 would be less than half of what 2013 has been… A sobering consideration.”

  • “There were 21 projects getting more than $US500k in funding in 2013, and only 3 in 2014 so far.”

Bidaux points to a number of reasons for the drop. For example, many of the games funded last years were “banking on strong ‘brands,'” naming things like “Torment, Mighty Number 9, Elite, Camelot Unchained, Dreamfall, Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar, etc.” The three games that broke $US500K this year were Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Amplitude and Unsung Story, which, he points out, are “hardly the wave of known brands that flooded Kickstarter last year.”

Other reasons behind the decline, according to the report, are a mixture of fatigue and competition. The novelty has worn off to a degree, Bidaux says, and some of the higher profile failures have removed some of the shine. Other options like Steam Early Access have also taken a bite out — the ease of that alternative compared to Kickstarter, and the fact that it’s continued funding, not a lump sum in particular, have drawn PC projects away.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour with a U from the British isles.


  • A slight decline is a good thing. It could merely be reaching a steady state where a amount of good projects will get some funding to achieve short-medium term goals as opposed to the fervour and hype that caused it to become an overblown bubble of grand promises, unrealistic expectations and massive failures…

  • While Kickstarter remains viable for some projects, 2013 was the year when people misguidedly believed it was suitable for EVERY project. A lot of failed/underpromised projects have caused people to reign in their ambitions and think about their budgets a bit more, as well as making potential backers a lot more cautious – in short, the boom is over.

    I only see myself backing projects for books or boardgames in the future – where the project is finalised and the backing is for printing/publishing/refinement costs. When you back a video game you’re usually backing development from the ground up and even experienced studios can stumble. Though I do wish I’d backed Tim Schafer’s project in order to watch the documentary – I think that alone would be a splendid education in project management.

    • If you don’t already have the game, I think you can still become a ‘slacker backer’ and get access to the documentary. It’s definitely worth it.

    • Agreed w/ your point but I think KS has just hit the doldrums plateau because a majority of VG projects have suffered (and continue to suffer) from scope creep. To be fair though most of the big successes from 2013 have been very good and some have even been picked up by Sony and MS.

      I’m fairly sure there will eventually be a “2nd wave” once these studios and pubs get their act together and start realistically compensating for scope creep. It probably won’t be as high as that 1st wave though!

      And to be fair boardgames/books aren’t any less susceptible to failures and scope creep either. A lot of big boardgames I have backed have suffered in release delays as well… and then there was also that unsavoury webcomic to book meltdown episode a while back

  • The only thing I’ve funded is the Veronica Mars movie. I was pretty happy about that, because I really loved that series. Bought the DVD set and got my wife into it to, she’d missed it first time around.

    Apart from that, there hasn’t been a whole lot that has interested me. I really wish I found this before it closed though

    I’m currently on the fence about the Firefox’s answer to Chromecast. I have a Chromecast already but this is pretty cheap and a fair bit more powerful…

    • I backed Kung Fury. The production diaries they’ve been sending out are great to watch, they’re really passionate about what they are doing. Interestingly it seems they’ve abandoned the short they originally had planned and gunning for full feature length.

  • Well based on my only person situation I wouldn’t be suprised to see next year jump back up at at least stabalise. I stopped backing things this year as I had half a dozen games backed and hadn’t seen any real results.
    Recently a whole bunch of them came out and my conversion rate of backing to playable is quite good. So recently backed bedlam which was the first one I back in a while. I think a number of people might be in the same boat.
    Of course I don’t think we will see the same numbers as 2013 for a while as multiple big names hit at the same time

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