Kickstarting and Screaming


In 2016, video game pledges on Kickstarter were by a clear margin their lowest in five years - their lowest since the Kickstarter fairytale really began. Nearly $18m compared to more than $43m the year before, according to numbers supplied to me by Kickstarter. And the knock-on effect was a first ever year of decline for Kickstarter overall.


For whatever reason I haven’t backed a Kickstarter game in ages. Godus killed it for me (and the other game I backed, Stonehearth, is taking forever). Kind of gave up on it, but then again I have backed 2 games on Fig this year.


Not a shock - video game kickstarter’s tend to miss by years, and there really is almost no way to tell which ones will be delivered on time, and which ones will never land at all.

At least with boardgames you can see if they have a track record of proven printing, distribution, and fulfillment partners… and see the rules before you buy. A lot less risky as you’re backing a developed product that you can usually P&P at home - you’re paying for someone to make a proper version for you.


Not a single mention of Unsung Story. I mean they mentioned Ouya but the failed to deliver campaigns probably have some measure to do with the downturn.


I’ma be mad about Unsung Story until I get a proper new game from Matsuno-san, dammit.


The Ouya shouldn’t be mentioned alongside campaigns like Unsung Story that have outright failed to deliver, if only because they actually shipped the damn things and were selling them in stores, even if the console itself failed to live up to the hype in the end. (The controller’s solid, at least - using it with my Android tablet, I’ve been quite impressed! Aside from the conspicuous lack of start and select buttons that quite a few games look for and lack reconfiguration options for, it works better with a regular Android device than it ever did with the Ouya itself!)

At this point, it takes some very specific circumstances to get me to back a video game on any crowdfunding site. Board games are much safer bets and often deliver more interesting results, even if they require a bigger investment. (Heroes of Land, Air & Sea looks great, for example, but $79 plus shipping for the base game is rough no matter how much it includes. It’s no Kingdom Death: Monster, but it’s not exactly “$10 digital copy for early backers,” either.)


Boardgames at the Kickstarting stage have already gone through the design/play-testing stage. The Kickstarter is always purely for the production process. (I think – I haven’t seen any that are before that point). So if everything really, really failed they could just send out PDFs or something.

If a video game fails, the most you can get is a jumbled and buggy alpha version, assuming that even exists? Plus, rarely do they have a tangible product or prototype at the kickstarter stage, so their game idea might be completely horrible to actually play, but it might sound great in a pitch video.


Oh, people try to Kickstart boardgames that are just concepts or clearly haven’t been playtested. You just generally don’t see them succeed.

I will say that nearly every project I’ve backed that’s still outstanding by a year and a half or more is a videogame project. There’s stuff from 2012 that I backed, has not definitively failed (a couple did, in fact, definitively fail, but not most) and still haven’t released, or at least not a full version. Meriwether, for example. Or Limit Theory.

There’s a couple of tabletop RPG books, also, which seem pretty clearly abandoned. And one boardgame where the publisher’s entire operating capital vanished into a lawsuit from an artist they hadn’t paid (the Up Front reprint). But mostly, videogames.


The Rifts Board Game project started a run at funding about 10 days ago only to be canceled after a week at 60k of their 100k ask. It was a classic case of a mismanaged project in almost all aspects – no schedule, poor communication, poor visuals, no real demonstration of progress, and terms and conditions that were out of this world. Really it just seemed like they were asking for money that they might use to do… something.

It didn’t help them that they appeared to be closely affiliated with the on-going Robotech Tactics RPG Kickstarter saga that collected ~1.5M, delivered less than half of what was promised, and went largely radio-silent two years ago.

Overall my Kickstarter history has been pretty evenly split between board games and video games and with the exception of Robotech and Space Quest, has been pretty successful.


I’ve had pretty good luck with Kickstarters, so I’m still very positive on the concept.

On the other hand, I only back developers I’m already familiar with. So InExile, Obsidian, Double Fine, etc. My last kickstarted project was the spiritual sequel to Descent, made by some of the team that made the original 2 games, and they’ve already released an Early Access version that is excellent and everything I was hoping it would be.

So yeah, I’m pretty happy with Kickstarter for bringing back the middle sized teams from the late 90s/early 2000s, with a lot of the same people who made me happy back then.


The problem is that Kickstarter allows developers to have free reign over their scope. And Kickstarter allowed them to sell dreams and when they failed to deliver, it came crashing down. Even InExile failed to deliver many of their stretch goals (of Torment), if memory served me right, and they are a darling of Kickstarter. When the developers finally released their game, the excitement during the early fund raising times were gone, or people moved on, and don’t remember why they backed the game and often feels like I have just blew $40 or something.


Most my problem Kickstarter children are video games. The only one that might not ever deliver anything at all… a video game. I’ve temporarily put a hold on backing any video games through the platform.


Stoneheart is still delivering progress though, and it seems that the game is almost great enough already, at least for what I paid for it.

There’s also Divinity: Original Sin 1 & 2 which surely should be enough reason to keep on Kickstarting… cant wait for Original Sin 3, or a Remake of the original divinity (with ALL the text…)


Kynseed looks really interesting. I’m in.


Was cruising Kickstarter today, and this looked interesting. Has about 6 days left:

Though it is very early in development,…


This seems both pretty ambitious and potentially something super.


Not going to KS this but I will certainly look forward to how it turns out.


From the comments it looks like the developer has a failed KS project he never finished:

So this one would be wait and see for me. Looks cool, though.


At this point anyone who buys a Kickstarter or Early Access game from Zero gets what they deserve. He never really finished Stardrive or Stardrive 2 and it is quite likely he will not finish this either.


StarDrive guy is on my personal blacklist for dumping that game so quickly to make a sequel. Fool me once.