Kickstarter and Changes in the Gaming Industry

Over the past 12 months, 3 million Kickstarter projects received over $480 million from players. Xsolla analyzes the impact Kickstart crowdfunding platform has on indie game developers and the gaming industry as a whole.

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Despite the fact that $480 million sounds like a lot, the truth is the overall growth of the service slowed down. Just a bit of figures for comparison: in 2011 players donated $99.3 million, in 2012 this number rose to $319.8 million, and in 2013 — to $480 million. The number of startups that received financing they were looking for increased by 10% compared to 2012. Slowed growth, however, is most likely to reflect the fact that Kickstart became a mature project.

In 2012 several long-term projects were launched on Kickstarter. Among them are Pebble watch, Oculus Rift virtual reality system, Ouya game console, Banner Saga and Wasteland 2 games, etc.

On January 14, 2014 players who donated to Double Fine, were granted access to episode 1 of Broken Age. Double Fine Adventure received $3 million in donations and was the first game on Kickstarter that made this crowdfunding platform popular in the gaming industry.

Kickstarter managed to persuade game developers that players will be happy to fund another game, and so Wasteland 2 was launched on the service. In fact, players donated more money than game developers expected, and so they decided to come up with additional in-game bonuses and features.

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“When Kickstarter was first launched, it was a great deal and it made many game developers change their attitude towards crowdfunding. However, despite all its advantages, this system does have its drawbacks. Developers might receive insufficient funding or not get any money at all, which means inevitable failure of the whole project. This is why we see a lot of game developers who turn to Xsolla for help along with Kickstarter campaigns. We help developers begin pre-sales of early access PIN codes and founder-packages that bring enough money to finish game development,” says Maxim Fedurin, Xsolla analyst.

Kickstarter has its own critics, too. Some people believe that game developers abuse users and their trust, seeking free investments and PR. However, even the most fierce critics cannot argue with the fact that Kickstarter made a number of revolutionary projects possible. Thanks to this service, such games as Starbound, République, Planetary Annihilation, Star Citizen, Shadowrun Returns, Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey, and many more were released. Improved availability of financing affected publishers’ attitude towards its relations with game developers. They have finally started to take developers’ opinion into account and pay attention to non-standard ideas.

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Kickstarter helped to fund dozens of great indie games, but, more importantly, it changed the global gaming industry. Both, developers and publishers have realized, that any game has huge potential.

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