Frustrated with inconsistent communication from developers of Kickstarted games, NeoGAF user Stumpokapow created and shared a spreadsheet of projects, noting when they were funded, by how much, and what progress has been made.
The document, available here, covers Kickstarted games that were funded at $75,000 or higher from February 2012 through June 2014 (subsequent projects are considered too recent to be judged yet). A number of notable successes that earned less than $75k, such as Kentucky Route Zero and Risk of Rain, are included in a separate page.
Kickstarter has proven to be a mixed blessing for the gaming industry. Early success stories like FTL, Double Fine Adventure (subsequently Broken Age), and Wasteland 2 showed that crowdfunding could provide the popular mandate necessary to reinvigorate niche genres like point-and-click adventure and the PC role-playing game.
For every success story, however, there is a project that has folded despite popular support. Author Neal Stephenson’s sword fighting simulator, Clang, collapsed after raising half a million dollars and spending two years in development. Yogventures, a Minecraft-alike from popular YouTubers Yogscast, fell apart after running out of money, and willed its assets and backers to TUG, another Kickstarted, crafting-heavy RPG. That project, however, has also run into financial problems and remains in limbo.
After the initial rush of funding for anyone with a good idea, gamers have developed a healthy skepticism for new Kickstarter games. Now developers need to prove their ability to not just have a good idea, but follow through on it in a reasonable time frame. Stumpokapow’s spreadsheet shows a range of projects with varying degrees of success. While many may be destined to forever haunt us as vaporware, a quick scan of the successful projects shows some of the most interesting and passionately embraced games of the last few years, such as FTL, The Banner Saga, Elite: Dangerous, and Shovel Knight, which bodes well for the evolving role of crowdfunding in game development.
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