ICO Partners, a UK consultancy that analyzes the online video game market, claims that video game Kickstarter campaigns are raising much less in 2016 than last year.
Over the years, crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has proven to be quite lucrative for video games, with developers of all kinds utilizing it to fund their dream projects. However, it looks as though game developers will start seeing less cash from Kickstarter campaigns than they have in the past, as market analysis firm ICO Partners claims that the amount of cash pledged to video game projects has declined rather significantly compared to previous years.
Over $40 million was raised for gaming projects on Kickstarter last year, but according to ICO Parnters, only $8.2 million has been pledged for video games in the first half of 2016. That puts 2016 on track to raise less than half of what 2015 did, which could be a sign that gamers are losing interest in Kickstarter campaigns. Of course, there could be other factors influencing this sharp decline as well.
For example, 2015 simply had more noteworthy Kickstarter projects than 2016 has had so far. It was last year that major Kickstarter success stories like the Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee and Castlevania followup Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night were funded, each pulling in millions of dollars from eager fans. It was also last year that Sony shocked the gaming world with the announcement of Shenmue III at E3, a move that saw the Shenmue III Kickstarter break records.
2016 hasn’t had a Kickstarter game on the level of the aforementioned titles, but it’s worth noting that, despite the decline in funds, roughly the same number of games are being successfully funded. Video game Kickstarter campaigns are just earning much less, meaning that the minimum funding goal is being met, but most stretch goals are probably not being reached. So, what else could be causing potential backers to be more conservative when funding Kickstarter campaigns?
Another possible culprit for the decline is Kickstarter games not reaching expectations. The most recent example of this is Mighty No. 9, a game that was delayed numerous times, and was finally met with mostly negative reviews. As a spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise that Capcom has largely been ignoring in recent years, Mighty No. 9 was one of the most popular Kickstarter campaigns (earning 400% more than its funding goal), and its failure could have a direct impact on Kickstarter dollars declining even further.
It’s likely that a combination of these and other factors have resulted in the rapid decline of video game Kickstarter campaigns. Despite the decline, Kickstarter is still a viable solution to the funding needs of game developers; they’ll just have to expect less cash from increasingly more cautious Kickstarter backers.