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Kickstarter and Tabletop Games: 2018 Mid-Year Update

As an addition to the traditional mid-year crowdfunding check, for video games, I have decided to give tabletop games their own blog post this year. There is a dedicated interest for these numbers, and they are quite fascinating to follow.

As a quick catch-up, you might want to have a look at the post on the year 2017 performance for games on Kickstarter.

The Kings of Kickstarter

Let’s get started with the question I always get when talking about the ongoing performance of the tabletop category on Kickstarter: is the bubble bursting yet?

Well. Nope.

And it’s hard to say if it is indeed a bubble at all, considering how steady the growth has been.

Tabletop games have almost raised $80m in just 6 months this year.

Tabletop Games have raised more money than any other category on the platform during the period, and represent 30% of all the money raised on Kickstarter.

As a reminder, Tabletop Games were representing 23% of all the money raised on Kickstarter in the year 2017, and if there is a trend in seasonality we can see, it is that the second half of a year is usually bigger for projects of that subcategory.

I normally don’t use gifs in blog posts, I feel this warrants an exception.

Looking into the total number of campaigns launched on the platform, we can see a drop from the previous period.

However, this is in line with previous years, which see fewer campaigns during the first half of a year.

Looking at projects that got funded, we can also observe a drop where there has been a constant growth for the past five years. This is the first sign of either some fatigue, or maybe we have reached the critical mass of unique, quality tabletop projects that can be submitted in a given period. There has to be a ceiling on how many of these projects can exist.

What is important to note as well, though, is that the number of projects that failed has dropped by a higher ratio than the number of funded projects. Like for the video games projects, this shows a decrease in the number of projects going to the platform unprepared, or the drop of purely opportunistic projects. (Remember the potato salad effect? This might be the tail end of it.)

 

Despite a drop in the total number of projects that got funded, we end up with the highest “success ratio” for tabletop games ever.

Almost two thirds of the tabletop campaigns manage to reach their goal.

Looking at which tiers see a drop in the number of funded projects, we see a similar pattern to the video games update, with lower tiers suffering a drop in numbers:

  • There are more projects raising more than $50,000 than ever before.
  • 32 projects raised more than $500,000 in the first six months of 2018. That’s 13 more projects than the previous best semester.

 

Looking into the amount of money raised per tiers, we can observe a few more things:

  • Unsurprisingly, with more funded projects in higher tiers, they have raised record amounts for all tiers above $50,000.
  • Also notable is that all the projects in those $50,000+ tiers have raised more on average than any semesters before.
  • Projects that raised more than $500,000 amount to a total of $40m raised this past semester. That’s half of all the money raised by tabletop projects, and 15% of all the money raised on Kickstarter during this period.

Other Platforms

I have had a very cursory look at other crowdfunding platforms, especially Ulule, Game On Tabletop, and Indiegogo, that all have tabletop games projects submitted to them on a regular basis. I have not been able to include them in this analysis though – the amount of time it would require to parse their projects, as they are not using the same categories as Kickstarter, was too significant in comparison to their relative size to Kickstarter. It would also require to filter projects that are reported in these platforms when they were in fact funded on Kickstarter and the platforms are used for Slacker/Late Backers campaigns or for pledge management.

Kickstarter is where most of the funding happens, and the overall trends can be taken from its numbers.

Concluding Words

The bubble is not bursting. If anything, there are signs of reaching a stable critical mass for tabletop projects. What is a more important take away to me is that games are now the cornerstone of Kickstarter, despite having very few features in place specifically to support them.

The Games category, taken as a whole, represents more than a third of all the money pledged to Kickstarter so far in 2018. It might be strategic for the platform to consider looking into building on that strength, or it will be leaving open this opportunity to one of the competing platforms.

Kickstarter in France and Germany

On the 13th of May, Kickstarter officially launched in Germany. In just eight days, the service will officially launch in France.

I went back to my data and looked out some numbers on the historical Kickstarter performance for creators from these countries. If anything, it paints an interesting “before” picture to compare to once we get to the “after” period.

Bear in mind that before Kickstarter is available in a specific country, a series of complex hoops had to be jumped through in order to put a project on the platform. A couple of points to keep in mind:

  1. There are a number of projects that are mislabelled on Kickstarter and  listed as American or Canadian while the company developing the project is indeed from another country. Like when (French developer) Ankama went through its Canadian subsidiary for this project (so it doesn’t appear as French in my data):
  2. There are a lot of projects that couldn’t – or didn’t want to – jump through those hoops. A number of them just passed on crowd funding, while others just went to a platform more accessible to them. Like when Frederick Raynal’s Gloomywood went to Ulule to get funding for its game 2Dark (they won’t appear either as I purely track Kickstarter at the moment):

 

Kickstarter across all categories

While I have relied on the data we regularly collect, each country’s profile is available through the Advanced Search pages on Kickstarter:

German Projects

French Projects

# of successful project per category (prior May 2015)

$ successfully raised per category (prior May 2015)

 

 

Looking at the number of projects funded, Germany and France seem pretty much on par (156 funded French projects for 169 funded German projects); and this holds true on the total amount raised as well, with around $7m in France for $8m in Germany.

The category spread is very different though. Both countries have a similar amount of success with Technology projects, but the Wireless Smart Headphones excellent success in Germany accounts for close to half the money ever raised in the country:

I will look into the Games category more in depth later.

Another interesting comparison I ran was on their relative success to failure ratio:

[ALL CAtegories] projects on Kickstarter (prior May 2015)

The success ratio in France has been around 45% against 40% in Germany. I find that very intriguing – and suspect that Germans are possibly more entrepreneurial than the French; however, the announcement for Kickstarter opening in Germany has been a lot less shared than the French announcement (double the number of shares on Facebook and about 15 times more on Twitter). It may be that the French were waiting more patiently for an official local version of the platform.

Games projects

[TabletopGames] projects on Kickstarter (prior May 2015)[Video Games] projects on Kickstarter (prior May 2015) [tabletop games] $ raised by successful projects (prior May 2015)  <p data-wpview-marker=

I was surprised to see France ahead of Germany in the Tabletop Games category, when Germany is such a big market for those games. It may be they have a more solid infrastructure for creators, making crowdfunding a less prominent avenue.

On the video game front, France has had quite a few successes, and while they didn’t have any mega hits, there were five projects raising more than $100,000.

In Germany, there has only be two projects that have been able to raise more than $100,000, despite a larger number of projects launching on the platform.

 

In a few months, I will check to see the impact of Kickstarter opening locally for a future blog post.

 

At the moment, from the projects that launched in Germany, PVP MMO Das Tal is currently leading the charge: