The Year of the Game
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Last week, Reaper Miniature Bones and Planetary Annihilation became the 10th and 11th Kickstarter projects to cross $1 million in funding. Both projects belong to the Games category. In fact, seven of the eleven projects that have crossed $1 million this year are games, and an eighth is a comic about a game. This has been the year of the game on Kickstarter.
In 2012, more dollars have been pledged to Games projects than to any other category. Here are the year's leading categories by dollars pledged through August 31st:
1. Games — $50 million
2. Film — $42 million
3. Design — $40 million
4. Music — $25 million
5. Technology — $16 million
In 2012, Games has gone from the eighth most-funded category in Kickstarter history to the second most-funded. Here's how much money has been pledged to games each year:
2009 — $48,190
2010 — $519,885
2011 — $3,615,841
2012 — $50,330,275
Here are those same numbers in graph form:
This year, 23% of all dollars pledged have been to games. Last year, just 3.6% were. Of the 36 projects that have raised more than $500,000 this year, 20 have been games.
The catalyst for the category’s growth happened in February, when a video game project called Double Fine Adventure raised $1 million in its first 24 hours. The gaming world hasn’t looked at Kickstarter the same way since. Double Fine signaled to game developers that they could use Kickstarter to do something that previously seemed impossible: make the game they wanted without outside interference.
You can see Double Fine's impact by the jump in the number of game projects launching each month beginning in February:
Gamers have noticed too: they're Kickstarter's most frequent backers. People who first back a Games project have backed 2.43 projects on average, compared to 1.78 projects for all other backers. Game projects have brought game backers who have inspired more game projects that have brought even more backers, and so on.
As you can see below, it's a cycle that has produced more dollars pledged to the Games category each month ($7 million) after Double Fine than the previous three years combined ($4 million):
Board & Card Games and Video Games
The Games category includes two subcategories — Board & Card Games and Video Games — and we can further break down these numbers accordingly. A lot of the attention has focused on Video Games, but Board & Card Games has also seen a lot of growth. Here’s a graph showing dollars pledged to each subcategory by year:
Video Games have doubled dollars pledged to Board & Card Games, however the opposite is true when it comes to the number of successfully funded projects. Here's a chart of successfully funded projects by month:
While 47% of board game projects have been successfully funded, just 23% of video game projects have been. Video Game projects raise more money — the average successfully funded video game raises $96,000 — but more Board & Card Game projects are funded, though often on a smaller scale.
Kickstarter + Games
Games give players the power to take control and decide what happens. Kickstarter gives backers the power to take control and decide what happens. The combination of the two has produced some memorable events. Incredibly, all of this has happened in the six months since the launch of Double Fine Adventure. While it's still too early to understand the full impact, it's clear that big changes are happening in the world of games.