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10,000 Games projects have been successfully funded on Kickstarter (kickstarter.com)
152 points by danso 265 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 95 comments

Kickstarter still feels like such a grey area to me. Only a few of the games I've backed ended up in a product that I would've bought, if it was a regular released game. Nowadays, I prefer waiting until the actual release version is available and then decide whether to buy it or not, but I'm not funding any more kickstarter games due to all the bad experiences.

FWIW, I've had more successes than problems with games. 11 games I'd have bought anyway [1] (mostly RPGs), 1 failure (The Mandate. Should have known, overly ambitious) 4 that are way overdue but still active (Star Citizen, InSomnia, Popup Dungeon and After Reset), 3 that are still in planned development (Vigilantes, Stygian and D:OS2) and only 2 games I didn't enjoy at all and normally wouldn't have bought (Jagged Alliance: Flashback, Satelite Reign)

[1] Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns, Pillars of Eternity, Antharion, Balrum, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Balrum, RimWorld, Lords of Xulima, Blackguards, Shadowrun: Hongkong

edit: And 100% sucess rate with tabletop/card games

The Mandate by Perihelion Interactive ?

it's dev is still ongoing.

Oh wow, they posted an update. It's only kickstarter they are completely ignoring

It is very ambitious so I am curious to see if they will be able to pull it off but the development is still ongoing.

I honestly have very low hopes with the way they acted. Ignoring KS comments and messages and mails, not even posting updates to KS anymore…

No, Star Citizen is not "way overdue". You can login and play it, and you've been able to for years now. That is disingenuous, because it's always been understood that the game would be under development for some time. As a November 2012 High Admiral backer, I think things are going extremely well for Star Citizen. Unlike a lot of other projects on Kickstarter.

I think if we're going to be fair, it's more accurate to say it's totally, unequivocally overdue. Large chucks are flat out late. But! That is fine. We can forgive a late game if it's good, and it looks to be awesome. Optimism invariably takes over at the start of project, and we all knew it was going to be a long haul.

And I say that as a person with a few ships awaiting release, too. While I really want my Carrack, it's far more important that they make it good. The estimated release times have moved back a few time, but that's the expense of great work in the rest of the game. Backers seem to largely accept this as the cost of buying into an in-progress development: priorities must be fluid, and we have to make do.

The trick to Kickstarter is to only invest what you can lose (like anything!) and then be patient. Starcitizen is stupendously ambitious, and is going to cost a fortune to develop. They successfully made the transistion to being nearly self-sustained, basically using Kickstarter to kickstart their development process.

The original goal didn't include any of the massive stretch goals that were added in as funding ballooned. CR has been completely forthright about the schedule as the stretch goals have been designed and built. It's not overdue because nobody is expecting it to be finished right now except Derek Smart, arguably the world's shittiest game designer. Saying it's "totally, unequivocally overdue" because we've passed the original planned release date in November of 2012 on the Kickstarter page is totally, unequivocally disingenuous.

There was another release date 2016. Passed that too. Now there is this Vulcan thing. Meanwhile the full game universe is nowhere to be seen. They have now given up setting a release date at all.

I don't understand where the community gets all that positive vibes from but I've lost it and yes....I invested too.

I maintain positivity because it's not vaporware, just in feature hell. There's no silver bullet for that, just metric crap-tonnes of lead bullets, as they say.

And expectations are everything. I had endless hours of fun with Privateer as a kid, and had a blast with Freelancer when I was older. That covers a large chunk of my life, so my patience is tempered, a bit. Eve fills the niche while I wait, and I'm very excited to see my old memories come back in HD in a new universe. What's another 5 years out of 25? (And I'm serious - I had fun with Privateer, and in retrospect it was kinda terrible! Pushing past the uncanny valley of VR sim is effort worth waiting for!)

Honestly? Expectations are screwy. Eve has a sophisticated character creation system, and it's essentially to take a 200x200 pixel picture. Just fantastic, and almost as useless. But it really makes the game feel bigger and more real. Eve's taken more than 15 years to get to where it is, and that's sort of where I hold my standard. Time ain't the barrier to me.

We share our experience in the past but I must disagree on eve. Eves development is comparable to the one of WoW where it was nice to play in the early stages and only if you look back now, it looks terrible. Eve grew on something that was fabulous back then already. I know...I was hooked.

What we have with SC now is the shattered result of all those terrible management decisions and a CEO who does not take the critics serious (probably also because of this one popular "critics" criticism). I'm not sure if anything good can grow from this but I'm pretty sure some huge changes in management could help out here to at least get a clear and realistic target.

They owe it to the backers even if the loudest of them don't care. This is a project which will be an example for others. Future will show what kind of example...

You've got some kind of axe to grind and it's showing through in every one of your posts here. You haven't played the game, you have said a bunch of stuff that are outright lies, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't reconcile with reality.

And you are part of the religion. That's why your criticism is pointed and the critic and your glorification leave the realm of reality. Even now?

Do you actually read the emails and participate in testing? I am not even an evocatus tester and I can play in the persistent universe. I think you're thinking about the fact that -- before the final game launches -- there will be a universe reset. But what you've just said here is not true. [0]

[0] https://robertsspaceindustries.com/spectrum/community/SC/for...

Are you talking about this?

> Please note: Even though we call it the ‘Live’ service, it’s still very much in the Alpha stage of development, and there are tons of features and optimizations to be added. Players on the ‘Live’ service are very much testers, too!

We are talking about 130 million dollar. A hill of mismanagement, ideas stacked on ideas and Spawn offs to keep the hype running. I'm sorry, I don't understand what you are talking about. This game is the peek of that new Alpha Game wave that is flooding steam for example. It's like now everybody wants to be like SZ. Greenlight some rough concepts, ???, profit/cancel.

This game is a terrible example for others.

Okay, so you've played the game and enjoy it immensely and think it's one of the best things to come along in years. You think it will serve as a fantastic example of the future of game development. I'm not sure what SZ is but you have such a high opinion of it that I might check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

...and with that your desperate attempts reach a all time low. Have a nice day.

I guess I just don't see the stretch goals as bonus wins. They caused the whole game to be rethought and redesigned. They're integral to what the game is expected to be and have driven the ambition to make the game better. And again, even if we look at the components individually, many are still late from the times they were estimated to be released. And I wasn't being disengenous: I'm talking about simply the Carrack, the part I'm most excited about. But CIG's gotten good about not promising dates anymore, a lesson every Kickstarter and development group should learn!

My point is that lateness isn't the sin people make it out to be. A well polished and expansive game can come late, and so long as the medium still does it justice it'll be great. All the gnashing of teeth and whining will be forgotten as people play fun. Setting expectations for deliverables is far better than expectation for delivery times, since you can miss deadlines while still delivering (leaving you with a lose-win pattern). And it's better to set expectations realistically rather than disappoint, because then at best you can deliver disappointment on time. SC has some damn good pedigree, so I think it's easy to believe they'll deliver on quality and expectation, and that overrides everything else.

I was thrilled about NMS (and had a blast with it), and I think it panned a bit because it rushed. There was some noise that warped expectations, and yet the game became just what it set out to be. Further updeates made it even more fun to play, and to quote Day9 "I will play the shit out of No Man's Sky 2." Heck, we even have celebrated failures like VoxelQuest, which is one of my favorite KickStarter epics. Obduction was just what I expected from Cyan. And I'm honestly kinda excited to see if Hiveswap manages to deliver despite hype. Broken Age was a bit bizzare, since it actually probably would have been better if it stopped in the middle (but still a lot of fun). We live in such a golden age of choice it's possible that Dual Universe will be good!

Imagine having NMS, SC, and DU all with their own take on a large persistent universe - pick the style you like! I'll happily wait years to see that, and we can usually play them before they're done, which takes the sting out of waiting I think.

As an investor in Exxon, I disagree that you should criticize a company when one ship leaks a little oil.

What are you even talking about, leaking a little oil? This is exactly what they're supposed to be doing. I'm interested in what about Star Citizen development you think qualifies as "leaking a little oil".

> As a November 2012 High Admiral backer

i suppose this correlates with the major emotional investment.

I've always been cautious on these sites since failure is always an option. I tend to fund mostly games that have no chance of being made otherwise, for being niche or part of my weird passions (I love logistic survival games, there were none good being produced, backed factorio)

I prefer to back those even if they fail than back mainstream succesful projects that would have been made anyway.

Well, it's not a store. You're funding development of something that may not otherwise exist. They are pitching you their idea, you decide if it's something you're interested in and give them some of your money.

I've never backed anything on Kickstarter. But if everything you have backed has delivered something to you, it sounds like you've chosen projects very well!

>Only a few of the games I've backed ended up in a product that I would've bought

I don't have any special insight but I get the feeling that this is how very many game development investments pan out. Generally I think it's safe to say that commercial software projects are hyped and oversold.

It becomes most galling with games because they are software that people WANT to engage with, rather than being forced to.

You're approaching it the wrong way. When I back I never expect anything and I most often forget about the game when it's actually released. I'm still happy backing and supporting the creators though.

That's the most pragmatic approach. I don't give money to something untested and with no guarantees of getting a working/high-quality product (which aren't covered by regular consumer rights).

I've had very mixed results with videogames on kickstarter. One took hundreds of thousands of dollars and used it on an unrelated game then went belly up. One is looking great and produced an awesome beta, but it's been years beyond the target date.

Board games are a totally different story. Kickstarter started the the golden age of board games. Some of the best board games ever made come from there. They're almost always successful projects (not always good games, but they deliver at least). And that's not counting all the cool tabletop stuff like wyrmwood accessories.

So now I only back board games. And I'm super happy with what I'm getting.

I've had an opposite experience. Most of the video games I've backed have turned out well, but the only board game I backed was quite meh.

The board game was Mottainai. We did play it a few times, but my girlfriend found a strategy that works really well but makes the game boring (always just pray on your turn) on her first try.

Data for video games:

Great: FTL, Torment: Tides of Numenera.

I didn't back the Pen and Paper RPG Numenera which Torment is set in, but it sounds really good.

Good: Chaos Reborn, Sunless Sea, Dreamfall Chapters, Elite Dangerous, Broken Sword, Pillars of Eternity

Bad: Godus. He made several of my favourite ever games, but Peter Molyneux is not getting a pre-order from me again. I can only assume that someone else was the talent at Bullfrog and Lionhead.

Not finished yet: Battletech, Maia (early access is available and looks good)

Never made: Unwritten. This was a victim of the US medical system. A refund was offered.

Failed to meet target (therefore payment not taken): Ars Magica Video Game, The Ship: Full Steam Ahead, Nexus 2.

RE: Mottaini - always-pray is definitely annoying, but I don't think it holds up with deeper strategy. If your opponent is doing it vehemently, remember that you now have absolute control over what actions they take, and find a route that you can exploit much better than them. It's a very strange game, and one that will not match everyone's tastes, but I definitely think it falls right in line with Chudyk's other work and was a great value.

> I can only assume that someone else was the talent at Bullfrog and Lionhead.

You should look into the career of the Carter brothers (Simon and Dene).

The only things I've ever backed are FTL, Torment, Cryamore, and um... SnotBot (not a game).

I must say, you took a lot of chances that I decided not to, and most of them turned out pretty well. This reinforces my belief that Kickstarter is really what you make of it.

In hindsight, I could have bought most of these games for cheaper afterwards, so they weren't good deals for me personally.

On the other hand, without Kickstarter a lot of those games would not have been made.

It's ironic that you regret buying `Mottainai` since it means `regret`.

I backed obduction from the myst creators and that turned out excellent. (Near the end of the game it felt a little bit directionless because you can go anywhere and sometimes you have to backtrack a bit. There is a puzzle that is unnecessarily annoying too because the level loading takes a long time and you have to do it a lot for that one in particular.)

Other than that it was myst in a fps and the game is really good otherwise.

Would love to see this broken down into categories, e.g. Table Top vs. Video Games, and sub-categories, e.g. iOS/Android vs PC/Console.

I've never backed a KS board game, but as an outsider/layperson, that category sounds like an unmitigated runaway success with huge-money-campaigns [0] like Kingdom Death ($12M) and Exploding Kittens ($8.7M), and then humble projects that later became huge, such as Cards Against Humanity ($15K) [1].

But I have backed video games and pay more attention to that category in general. So while I'm aware of great successes like FTL, Undertale, Shovel Knight, and Pillars of Eternity, the category of video game projects seems seems to be much more infused with skepticism and even hostility because of high profile failures like Mighty No. 9 and Clang [2]. Hell, one of the earliest high profile KS failure that I remember hearing about was Code Hero back in 2011 [3]

Obviously, selection/survivor bias is in play here. I read tech blogs so I'll hear more about video game controversies than those of board games. But I feel -- as is the case for software development in general -- there are inherent challenges to video game development that make it seem more risky. Yes, board games have to deal with hardware-manufacturing issues, but it's hard to imagine anything like Star Citizen's creep scope happening to a board game campaign (not that SC is a failure, but its development has definitely evoked feelings of cynicism).

[0] https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/advanced?category_id=12...

[1] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/maxtemkin/cards-against...

[2] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/260688528/clang

[3] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/primerist/code-hero-a-g...

> I've never backed a KS board game, but as an outsider/layperson, that category sounds like an unmitigated runaway success

As someone with some direct experience with kickstarted board games, a few are smashing successes and quite a lot are, in terms of play, nothing special. I personally wouldn't want to back a campaign, because the odds are overwhelming that the final product wouldn't be something I'd really want to own.

There are enthusiasts who take the opposite approach -- they back everything because sometimes you get a real gem.

The appeal of board games (obviously, other than their entertainment value) is that they promise something of physical permanence and portability. When they manage to deliver, even if the quality isn't great (compared to professional products), you at least have a physical memento/token/souvenir.

But when software delivers a piece of crap, you end up with much less. Some of the successful iOS games I've backed from small devs don't even work anymore because they eventually stop keeping up with changes to iOS.

A working app that stops working sounds like an ecosystem problem.

Eventually you need to get rid of old things for whatever reason and embrace new things, Apple just does this a lot faster than others, and it's definitely a good thing.

Not everyone thinks it's good. I have some fantastic games from my childhood 20 years ago that work flawlessly on Windows 10. I really value that.

You have a lot more flexibility in general with desktop OSs, especially when you consider VMs and the like. And even with Windows it's not that straightforward. A couple of weeks ago I spent some time getting old games and mods running on a new Windows 10 system. It involved a lot of patches and otherwise fiddling around--and these were popular games with a large community still involved with them.

I dont think thats the case on Android. Even apps written for Android 1.5 should still work fine on new phones.

Why is it a good thing that I've had to throw 5 iPhones in the e-waste bin?

I don't see backing kickstarter projects as an end in itself, such that delivery of any object is just a bonus that serves to commemorate that time when I backed a project. I'd like it to be the other way around, where the benefit of backing a project is that you got whatever it delivered.

Do you want a piece of crap cluttering up your house?

The big difference is that most board games are already feature-complete before they start fundraising. I had a friend do a KS board game and the game had been played hundreds of times (on hand-written index cards &c.) before the fundraising started.

All that was needed was the manufacturing, and the costs for about 98% of what goes into a board game are fairly well established.

How many of those 10,000 projects failed to launch?

None, that's what the word 'successfully' means.

"successfully" isn't the word in contention here. Many projects on Kickstarter fund but fail to launch. From the article: "10,000 Games projects have been successfully funded on Kickstarter."

Here's an older list of games that successfully funded but didn't launch: http://kotaku.com/12-successful-kickstarters-that-never-deli...

So successfully funding doesn't mean successful launch.

Does being funded means that all the projects released games? Some successfully funded game Kickstarters failed to release anything.

that's precisely what the article means. succesfully founded != succesfully released

I REALLY need to stop backing projects. It's almost getting ridiculous how many board games are coming my way this year. Kingdom Death was craziness.

Do users of Kickstarter/Patreon have a set 'budget' for supporting?

Or is just spur of the moment where something you really want to support comes up and you do so?

What's the process where you back something with a 'large' amount but then a new project that needs the support more, that you feel more strongly about comes along?

I have a budget of $150/month that I allocate to Patreon/Kickstarter. If I spend a bit more over a month because there were multiple projects that caught my fancy, I try to spend less the next few months.

I mostly spend money on projects that I believe would have a lower chance of happening without kickstarter. For patreon, I mostly fund comics and webnovels.

Sidenote, I dislike Patreon. They have a great idea but the interface is really awful and it hasn't improved much. I wish someone more worthy had had that idea first because with the network effect, it would be hard for a competitor to get traction.

After they left everyone's personal data on a computer with a web-facing root Python shell for a week after being warned about it and it got leaked, I refuse to do business with Patreon full stop.

I'd like to say there is a budget. It's mostly whatever looks interesting budget. But I DO limit myself to only board games.

Patreon is a budget. It's not really comparable to kickstarter unless you're doing weird one-off juggling.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to ask: do you have any recommendations of board games for a couple that loves them?

Not the parent but I'll chime in. It really depends on the type of games you enjoy. Mechanic-heavy ("eurogames") vs. more themed ("ameritrash"), cooperative, competitive, etc. BoardGameGeek is a great site for reference.

Off the top of my head, my wife and I enjoy: Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Ascension, Lost Cities, Settlers of Catan, Elder Sign.

Check out 7 Wonders Duel (the 1v1 version) ; my girlfriend and I play it all the time, it's surprisingly well-balanced

I'll second 7 Wonders Duel as a good two player.

Other 2 players we like Patchwork and 7 Tiny Epic Gallaxies

Race for the Galaxy is amazingly good with two players. Especially with the first expansion. (The following expansions are kinda meh, though.)

Jaipur is a great made for two players game. I'll also endorse the recs for Elder Sign, seven wonders duel, and Splendor. I love love love Pixel Tactics, though it's a bit too aggressive for my partner...

I don't have nearly as much experience, but Ghost Stories is one of my favorites.

People on HN love to hate on Reddit but /r/boardgames is a great community where you can find many, many answers to questions like this. https://reddit.com/r/boardgames

In particular, see their wiki page for exactly this question: https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/wiki/wsig

To play with each other or as part of a group? There's a deep, deep division between 2-player games and 3+ player games.

Caverna, Food Chain Magnate, Dead of Winter, Blood Rage, Fury of Dracula, Arkham Horror Card Game. Are you into miniatures? You can go seriously deep down the rabbit hole with that stuff.

I recently picked up Scythe and loved it enough to buy every possible add-on and piece upgrade for it :)

Twilight Struggle

I'm in the same boat.

The board game industry, being a niche market, has long used pledge programs in which consumers commit to buy a game before it is manufactured. Kickstarter has taken over a lot of this, so some fraction of the Kickstarter games were made by established game publishers rather than individuals or new enterpreneurs.

I don't think many pre-existing board game pledge programs moved to Kickstarter, though am happy to be corrected.

The most prominent pledge system is GMT's and it is still thriving. Most non-Hasbro/AEG/Asmodee board game publishers are smaller than GMT.

Good observation, so perhaps it is better to say that there are some established publishers use Kickstarter as a de-facto pledge program. Granted, these publishers are not the major players like GMT or Decision Games. Some smaller players that do rely on Kickstarer are Mayday Games [1], Worthington Games [2], and Queen Games [3].

[1] https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/maydaygames/created

[2] https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1456271622/created

[3] https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1016374822/created

I wonder why EA, Blizzard or the likes hasn't set up a site where you can vote on idea's for games like Lego Ideas has done for making lego sets. That's basically what's happening here except people are putting their money where their mouth is. It's like crowd sourcing idea, and they could probably make more desirable games. That said the companies would charge a premium and know they would get it.

The ideas aren't the hard part. I'm sure their designers have no shortage of ideas that would be highly popular if they were to execute them well.

They do focus groups instead. When you are spending your money on the game you can as well try to check against a representative sample of your target audience instead of random people brigading some on-line polls.

Square-Enix runs a site like this where indie game developers can post games and if they are voted up they help with publishing and crowdfunding (https://collective.square-enix.com). Not exactly what you're suggesting but it has some similarities.

Since you mentioned EA and Blizzard, I assume you are talking about AAA games (as there are plenty of india games on Kickstarter).

Those games have budgets into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and I'd imagine that kind of money would be very difficult to crowdfund.

Probably because of intellectual property reasons. If someone suggests an idea it requires a lot of legal wrangling to get the rights to produce it. Once you start going down that road, then you have to justify budgets, ROI, compensation, etc. Additionally, if any game is made that even remotely resembles any part of the proposal, that opens up the potential for a lawsuit.

It's basically the same reason that authors won't read your unpublished book and screenwriters won't read your unpublished screenplay.

EA could've simply make you agree to sign over all rights prior to adding/voting for said idea.

The real problem with such a system is really just the vast majority of ideas are crap. But even the good ideas are difficult to execute - i m sure they aren't low on ideas, but execution prowess.

When Kickstarter was allowed to become an advertising platform for future product development it failed. Sorry but I'm not dropping a dime with some well established company looking to have free money printed for them to eliminate their risk and transfer it to regular folks.

When Kickstarter starts taking responsibility for failed projects with at least some funds being returned, especially their 10% fee then I'll perhaps consider it again.

Their logo should be someone shrugging their shoulders - that about their typical response when there's a problem.

The more interesting statistic is of such and such "released" games, how many of those have fulfilled the satisfaction of supporters.

With traditional mainstream "AAA" titles coming out in such buggy and disappointing states, this could be a differentiation. The problem is, I think KickStarter-backed game development has been even worse for the most part.

Is there a top 100 list ordered by metacritics score or some other currated top 100 list of those Kickstarter funded games?

Beside Wasteland 2 and some adventures from former Lucasart developers I don't know any of the KS games.

FTL, Rimworld, the Banner Saga, Hyper Light Drifter, Shovel Knight, SuperHot : there are many great (and original) games that have been funded through kickstarter.

> Beside Wasteland 2 and some adventures from former Lucasart developers I don't know any of the KS games.

You haven't heard of Pillars of Eternity?

Kickstarter made possible my favorite game, which is innovating and responding to players in a way I never thought was possible when I first funded it.

By not needing a publisher, investors, deadlines, etc. They have been liberated, and it's so exciting to have no idea where the game is going next.

Something about monthly sprints with fixed monthly releases, and completely public bug tracking/standup notes/public discussion forums makes for a really refreshing player experience that goes way beyond the game itself.

I'll start backing things again when the products I back actually start to ship/get finished. Hell I'll settle for some sort of guarantee that they'll ship what they promised ON TIME, and if they don't I get my money back.

Until then, I'll stick to buying things that actually exist.

I wonder if people would be interested in an open source, open world, multiplayer 3d engine. Not something too fancy though, just the bare minimal.

I guess it's not interesting... Or maybe some game developers would fund such engine?

Apologies but this made me chuckle a bit. If you want to pull this off in a 'commercial environment' (where people actually need to be paid) you just asked for a couple hundred million dollars, with at least 5 years until the engine is production-ready, and a >95% chance of total failure. I'm not saying it's impossible in an open source environment of course (after all, Linux happened). But you need to start small, need to show steady progress over a couple of years, and if it works, be ready to spend the rest of your life with it ;)

Without the multiplayer there's OpenMW: https://openmw.org/en/

Without the open world there's DarkPlaces (based on Quake), with games like Xonotic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xonotic

Both are really good considering it's hard to make something like this tbh. Not sure if there's anything good that has all 4 of those things, though ;). People often underestimate just how much work game engines are. And also how useless they are without an actual game on them.

> Without the multiplayer there's OpenMW: https://openmw.org/en/

From what I understand there are rumours that multiplayer is something they plan to develop after their 1.0 (feature-parity with the original Morrowind engine). There are already people making patchsets that add some form of multiplayer support.

I wonder, if you can by the stretch goal complexity ahead of time, how endangered a kickstarter project is to die of scope-creep.

And how many successfully completed? 100?

i wonder what percentage of these game kickstarters actually resulted in a respectable finished product.

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