I haven’t recovered (yet) from this year’s gamescom, but I would rather do the customary media coverage analysis blog post while it is still fresh.

If you are so inclined you can read the 2014 and 2015 posts, but I will be comparing previous years to make it easier. The methodology is the same (data is from Sunday to Sunday, across all the media we track).

gamescom 2016

Let’s review the specifics of this year edition.

Dates

The dates changed again, getting closer to the middle of the month compared to last year’s. This year the dates were more “normal” as far as gamescom is concerned, starting on the 17th and closing on the 21st of August.

No press conference from either Sony or Microsoft

Last year Sony did not put together a press conference, leaving the field free for Microsoft. This year Sony again skipped the once traditional Press event at gamescom, and Microsoft has followed their example. While I can see the logic behind Sony’s move, after all they have many other events in lieu of the gamescom for their communication if they follow last year’s pattern, Microsoft hasn’t structured its communication that way in the past, and they haven’t announced anything to make up for the lack of a press event in Cologne.

Last year Sony used the Paris Games Week as its European press event, but there hasn’t been any announcement so far in that regard for 2016. They do have a new event called the PlayStation Meeting in early September, which I will keep an eye on for sure.

Numbers

Here are the gamescom 2016 numbers, as released by the organisers:

  • 345,000 visitors (same as 2015)
  • 30,500 trade visitors (-2,700 from 2015; -1,000 from 2014)
  • 877 exhibitors (+71 from 2015)

The space was the same surface area as last year.

gamescom has reached an interesting size issue, where they can’t welcome more people. The tickets are sold out and there isn’t much more space in the Messe to expand too. There is also the issue that even if they want to have more space, there might not be much interest from exhibitors to expand further than what they currently have, and the companies not exhibiting probably have good reasons not to. I will talk about it at the end of the post, there are some changes coming that might help.

So. What about the media coverage?

gamescom in the media

001-gamescom-year

So, I should preface this year’s analysis by a disclaimer that I don’t pretend to understand all the forces at a play where those numbers are concerned. Most of what you will find are educated guesses and I try to corroborate the theories with the data, but it doesn’t always work.

Here, we see a decline in the total coverage of the gamescom’s brand from last year. But while there was a significant drop, which was expected with the lack of major press conferences, it stayed at the same level as 2014, where there were two press conferences. So I would say that gamescom has reached a point where its relevance to the media (and the publishers and studios planning their communication strategy) has gone beyond the consoles’ press events, and it stands on its own.

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As expected, a lot of the articles are coming from German media (this is where I plug our report on the media landscapes – you can download it for free and it can give you a sense of the size of the media in the different languages). Nothing surprising yet there.

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Looking at the number of unique websites mentioning gamescom, we find a different result though… There were more English websites than German websites covering the event (keep in mind that most of our database is very much games websites, there are plenty of General Interest media that we don’t track properly).

004-gamescom-lang_year 005-gamescom-lang_webs_year

So, looking at the past 3 years, we can see that in every language, there were more articles last year than in the 2016 edition. It all makes sense. The year-on-year drop can be more or less drastic depending on the language. In French and German,  it goes below the 2014 level for instance. But looking at the number of unique websites covering gamescom in English, there is a significant growth over the past 3 years, to the point that they are actually more websites in English covering gamescom, than German ones (again, in our sample).

English media were probably a bit behind the other ones in taking into account gamescom as a major industry event. It seems that this year, they have caught up, and they have increased their coverage of the event considerably. That’s impressive considering that it happened without the support of any major press conference.

 

Platforms

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Looking at the articles mentioning the platforms during the week of gamescom, the slight drop in articles on the Xbox One was to be expected with no press conference this year. The VR platforms all saw more coverage, with the PlayStation VR taking the spotlight this year.

What is really fascinating, is the significant uptake that the PlayStation 4 had. To put it in context, this is the coverage that the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One had over the past three gamescoms:

006-gamescom-platforms_years

This year was the best for the PS4 presence in the media since we started tracking the data. After looking more in depth, I don’t have one single explanation for this though, but I can offer the ones I have and some that were suggested to me:

  • PlayStation VR. We know that PSVR had a very significant effect, but in the best case, it can only account to half of the extra coverage.
  • Lack of Press Conferences. The absence of an Xbox press event meant that the attention bounced back to PlayStation from last year coverage. This is a good theory, especially when you consider the dominant position of PlayStation, even if the drop of the Xbox coverage, all things considered, is not that significant.
  • Natural growth of gamescom coverage. We saw the significant bump in the English media covering gamescom, there might be a side effect here where that benefited PlayStation in some ways. As we are looking at two different data sets, there might be a growth of the PlayStation coverage from the additional visibility that doesn’t necessarily mention gamescom.
  • Specific games. There are few games that seem to emerge supporting this theory. There is a little bit of extra coverage thanks to No Man’s Sky, and there is also some coverage specifically discussing Titanfall 2 coming to PlayStation 4 after the exclusivity of the first iteration on Xbox One. But in both cases, this seems very limited in volume.

For the sake of completion, here are a few things we know are not related to the increase:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim edition. The rumours only started to show up online in a significant way on the last day of gamescom, a Sunday, and the volume is quite low.
  • PlayStation Now coming to PC. The announcements (and its coverage) only started the following week.

If you have another theory, please let me know on Twitter, I am quite keen to hear your ideas as I might have missed something obvious here. For the moment, I think this is a combination of those factors that took PlayStation to its excellent media coverage this year.

Comparing E3 and gamescom

006-gamescom-v-E3_platforms

This year’s E3 saw very strong media coverage across the different platforms. In the case of the PlayStation 4, the growth in the media coverage at gamescom (+36% from last year) is triple the one it had at E3 (+12% from last year). For the Xbox One, we see a slight drop at gamescom (-8% from last year) against a significant growth at E3 (+21% from last year). It has to be noted that Microsoft presence at this year’s gamescom was quite timid. Its booth was significantly smaller than the previous year from what I could tell (couldn’t find a proper floor plan of the consumer halls), especially compared to Sony’s (it was probably 6 to 8 times bigger).

It seems to me that Microsoft backed out of gamescom more strongly than Sony, and the discrepancy in the media coverage is showing it.

On the other platforms, I want to specifically mention the Oculus Rift. Year-on-Year, its E3 media coverage increased +18% against a +95% increase for its gamescom coverage. In both cases, the device is now available compared to the previous year, but Oculus seems to have managed to come across to the media at gamescom much more efficiently than the previous year, with media coverage at the same level as its E3 coverage.

Games

Again, I picked the top 30 games in terms of coverage during the week of gamescom.

010-gamescom-platforms_years_b

 

A few things that stood out for me:

  • Pokemon Go and No Man’s Sky both are here despite having no specific announcement at gamescom. They just happen to be the hype-of-the-month, and it is as such a scale that they both take the top spots.
  • Final Fantasy 15 is the third most mentioned game, but only partly because of its gamescom presence. The announcement of the delay early in the week is a significant part of the coverage of the game (and by far the biggest beat the game received).
  • Overwatch had the double effect of announcing (and showing) a new map at gamescom AND the release of one of animated short movie (and an excellent one)
  • Call of Duty PR machine is losing hard to its Battlefield nemesis this year. Also, very interesting to see that Titanfall 2 is also doing very well media wise.
  • Little Nightmares was incredibly well covered for a game of that profile.

 

Concluding thoughts

I find the results of this year’s analysis are fascinating. I was going into it expecting to see some decline due to the lack of the big press events to support the media attention. And while there has been a decline in the total coverage mentioning gamescom, it was not drastic, and as far as the media attention on key game platforms, it certainly was a good week.

It seems that the event has grown to the point of developing an autonomy from the big press-only conferences, and has enough interest on site to stay relevant without them. Of course, all the key industry actors were there, and still supporting it, but until we see an exodus of such companies, gamescom seems to be now well and strongly positioned to be the most relevant game event in Europe when it comes to media, and is probably only second to E3 in the world.

 

Take notes for next year, and remember that the dates have changed again. It will at the same time of the year, but happening from Tuesday to Saturday instead of the traditional Wednesday to Sunday it has been at for years.

Today, we are releasing two new reports, both available from our website. These are our first public reports built using the data gathered using our media monitor and you can probably expect more like these two in the future.

The first report, which is free (you can make a donation when you get it on Gumroad, if you do, we won’t mind), is a look at the overall landscape of those media that are dedicated to video games.

The second report, which is not free, is a deeper and more specific look at video games media and their coverage of VR, focusing on the key platforms (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR), the mist VR-friendly media, and the key VR games that were covered.

Rather than describing them, let me share some of the findings of the reports.

Video Games Media Landscape

cover_vg_2016

One of the things the report looks specifically at is the coverage received by the major gaming platforms over a year.

There are two things we considered when looking at the relative media presence of those platforms.

First, the percentage of websites that mentioned the platform at all.

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There are two very clear leaders, with both Xbox and PlayStation having 95+% of the games websites mentioning them. The main consoles are so ubiquitous that it is surprising that they aren’t at 100%, to be honest. But you have to account for PC-only media as well, and they are unlikely to have much coverage of the consoles.

More surprising is how Steam, which is not a platform that has a very pro-active communication strategy, still has 90% of the websites mentioning it. This is ahead of the Nintendo platforms (Wii, Wii U, 3DS) standing at 86%.

Then, beyond the websites, we also looked at the volume of articles for each platform:

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If you are familiar to the blog, you won’t be surprised to see PlayStation ahead here. They have a very strong media presence, and they are constantly ahead of the other platforms in terms of media coverage. In terms of scale, that’s still 3 times the total number of articles mentioning the Nintendo brands, and almost 30% more than the volume of articles mentioning the Xbox brand.

Steam being behind matches with what we were referring to earlier, and the lack of a concerted communication strategy on the platform from Valve. Much of the coverage is inherited from studios and publishers launching their game on the platform, and without consideration for the brand presence.

 

One objective of the report is to provide some reference points in regards to how different the media from the different countries are a different from one another. We are able to put together this table to show what we called the “media affinity” for certain platforms based on the language of a website.

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One very interesting pattern is how French, Spanish and Italian media, all based in Mediterranean countries, have a stronger affinity to Nintendo platforms compared to websites in German or English.

This is not to be interpreted, for instance, French websites having more coverage on the Nintendo consoles than on the Xbox ones. But in proportion, French media are writing more articles on Nintendo than the German media. I think this is an important consideration – as this helps understand the different sensibilities of the different cultures when it comes to games platforms.

 

Here is another very telling example. Below are the top 10 games in terms of media coverage in English and in German, for the calendar year 2015, set at the same scale.

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We discussed in the past how The Witcher 3 was the most mentioned game of 2015, across all the languages we track. But in English it only came second, behind Fallout 4. In German, The Witcher 3 is the clear winner with a third more coverage than the second best game… Star Wars Battlefront!

Another interesting takeaway is the very strong media coverage in German for World of Warcraft. The game doesn’t make it to the top 10 in any other language. World of Warcraft had more articles in German than Metal Gear Solid 5 had in English.

We made the landscape report free to anyone, you just need to enter your email and ask for a download link. We wanted this report to serve as a foundation for other reports we are writing, and making it free allows us to use it as a reference points across different things we are building.

Virtual Reality in games media

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Our second report is more in-depth, is not free, and is looking into the media coverage of one of this year’s strongest trends, Virtual Reality. This report is also covering a full 12 months of coverage, from May 2015 to April 2016.

One of our findings was done by looking at the ratio of websites that covered VR in some way, compared to the ones that didn’t cover the topic at all.

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The criteria being very generous (any mention of VR or a VR related device), we were expecting very high percentages. We found two things we didn’t expect:

  • 100% of the English websites we track mentioned VR in a way or another during the 12 months period. It is very unusual to have such a perfect score, especially considering the tool has it own flaws, and it would tend more towards missing mentions rather than finding false positives. VR as a topic for video games English media is there and is very strong.
  • More than 25% of both French and German media didn’t cover VR in any way during the period. That’s significantly behind the average observed, especially considering the very generous criteria we used there.

Looking at the volume of content shows another different trend.

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VR as a topic is incredibly weak among the French video games media. They saw fewer articles than in any other languages. While the percentage of German media covering media is the lowest, the ones that did cover VR wrote more than 6,000 articles referring to it. This is still a lot lower than the total number of games articles in English and highlights the fact that, at the  moment, VR as a topic for video games media is a higher priority for English media than for the others studied.

We put together a formula called “VR Media Impact” to help us identify the most enthusiastic and influential websites about VR. We took into account the number of articles about VR and the popularity of the websites (based on its Alexa ranking):

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There is a clear majority of English websites (and lack of French media), but tellingly, the top 2 media are dedicated to VR. For them to appear here is not only based on the fact they have written a lot on the topic, but also speaks to the fact that they managed to build an audience and have a strong enough following.

The report has more detailed ranking for each language if you are involved in the VR scene and would like to see more.

Lastly, I wanted to show how the coverage for the key 3 VR HMDs (Head Mounted Devices) has evolved over those 12 months.

blog-102

All 3 platforms are trending towards more coverage overall. However, while Oculus is leading the way most months, it is slowly losing its lead. Playstation VR secured more coverage in March 2016, where it announced its release date and pricing, showing promise for when it releases towards the end of the year.

It is also very interesting to note the slow but steady growth of the HTC Vive media coverage. The lead in brand awareness that Oculus built over the years probably helped in getting good coverage for the important announcement, but the HTC Vive is now catching up to it, with the media at least.

 

Free Report £200

 

Here is another Unabridged Comments (the fact I contributed to two articles in a short time frame kind of kicked me in doing this section). This time, it was MCV reaching out to me to discuss the unfortunate Kickstarter campaign for Fable Fortune. Like last time, I have fixed a few typos and rephrased some points I was making a bit.

Article premise – Here is the frame provided for the article:
  • The piece is centred around Fable Fortune on Kickstarter
  • The wider topic is why crowdfunding doesn’t really work for free-to-play titles
  • The request came with a series of questions I have reproduced below to frame the discussion
And these are my unabridged comments:

Were you surprised [Fable Fortune campaign failed]?

Well – whenever you set rules, [like the “Free-To-Play games don’t get crowd funded” rule], you always have exceptions to prove them wrong. I would have thought the Fable brand to be strong enough to invalidate this one.

There were other things at play, [and] without going too much into it right now, one comment that came back a lot was on the fact that Fable is an Xbox franchise at its heart, and the campaign was addressing the PC audience first and the Xbox audience (in appearance) only after a certain very high stretch goal was reached.

How would you assess Fable Fortune’s Kickstarter campaign? 

The Fable Fortune campaign was a surprise to me, and it didn’t unfold how I would have expected. The most important component to any campaign is to make sure you have an existing audience that you bring with you in the campaign, and Fable certainly  has that. The franchise is incredibly strong. Another key component is to be able to show the game, and certainly Fable Fortune fit the bill there again. And while Free-to-Play games tend to have a very hard time getting funded, the few notable exceptions are all CCGs, which made me optimistic for Fable Fortune.

As far as campaigns go, I think Fable Fortune did a lot of things right, I suspect they failed (or more precisely they would have failed as they cancelled the campaign before the end and secured funding with a 3rd party) due to the change in the video landscape. With Hearthstone dominating the CCG genre at the moment, they don’t fill a niche that is in strong demand. They also diluted their message by announcing their Stretch Goals from the beginning, something that is really not recommended.

Do you think that free-to-play games can be successfully crowdfunded?
Free-to-Play games are historically incredibly hard to get crowdfunded. The most notable exception is probably Hex Shards of Fate, a free-to-play CCG, that raised more than $2m three years ago. From the top of my head, I think I can count less than 20 successfully funded (free to play) video games on Kickstarter, and I would certainly advise [strongly] against trying to fund this type of game this way.
What challenges do you think free-to-play games face on Kickstarter?

The inherent promise of a Free-to-Play game is that you can try it for free, with no commitment, and as you play it, you may feel like putting your money into it. This is the opposite of what happens with a game that you crowdfund, where you build a promise that the game will be so interesting to you before you can play it, that you can safely put your money into it, months or years before you actually put your hands on it.

It makes funding a Free-to-Play game incredibly counter-intuitive. There are other principles at play too here. One of them is the fact that F2P games have offerings with a very large variance. You can spend a lot or you can spend a little. It might seem like it is the case for games funded on Kickstarter, where you can pledge at very different levels, but actually, the core experience offered is usually at one fixed price point (the price of the game), and everything else is additional perks on top of that core offering. This is not how most F2P games operate, and it makes it difficult for the potential backer to project how satisfying certain rewards will be.

And lastly, and it probably plays a role too, the profile of the most frequent backers for video games is certainly close to the profile of the players that are defiant of the F2P model: older, hardcore PC gamers.

What tips would you offer someone attempting to crowdfund a free-to-play game?
I would seriously advise against it first. And in case the project has some strong community that would help compensate the F2P handicap, I would suggest to create the rewards as much as possible around perks or content that are very easy to understand for the player before they even play the game. Imagine a World of Tanks-style game on Kickstarter. Imagine it has a reward at $10 that gives you a free tank. How good is this? Will the tank be useless after 2-3h in the game, or will it be valuable throughout the life of the game? If you can explain what is the value of what you offer in a clear and simple way, then you make one of the core challenges easier to surpass.
How would you assess the launch of Mighty No.9? 
Mighty No.9 ran a fantastic campaign. Maybe too good. I think it is very tempting when you run a campaign to get taken by the momentum and make too many promises, or present the project a certain way, before doing a proper assessment about its feasibility. It seems to me that it happened here.
The launch itself, I don’t have much to add to what many have said already. The expectations were high, and the game didn’t meet them, unfortunately.
I’ve seen some people saying that [Mighty No. 9] may have damaged consumer faith in crowdfunded games. What are your thoughts on this?

I don’t believe in these kind of statements. There has been many badly managed campaigns in the past, some of them with more dire results than Mighty No.9 (Clang comes to mind), and the number of

projects that get funded [every month] on Kickstarter is stable.

If anything, each campaign exists in its own set of communities, and one poor game, even very well covered by the media, won’t have much of an impact on other projects.
What we observe is that the euphorical enthusiasm for crowdfunding is gone. Projects that are funded don’t tend to go beyond their initial objectives as much as a couple of years ago.
Anything else I haven’t touched upon that you feel is worth mentioning? 
Nothing coming to mind,

 

From time to time, I get requests from publications to comment on specific topics. It is quite common for these comments to be cut or summarised to fit with the way the article is written, but it also means that some things are not said. However, as the time to write those comments has been spent, I feel like they should be shared. The original articles are interesting in their own rights as usually multiple persons are weighing in the topic, so it seems quite complementary. It can also be an opportunity for me to add to the comments, in light of the other contributions.
I want to kick off this practice by sharing the whole of my comments done for the Gamasutra article on Digital Collectible Card games (I am sharing my full comments with their blessing).
Article premise – Here is the frame provided for the article:
  • There has been a rise of digital collectible card games for the past couple of years (and a recent acceleration)
  • Specific question – Why is the trend is exploding now (and if I’ve seen a rise in crowdfunded CCG projects, both physical and digital)?
  • Specific question – Do I think this will be a short term fad/bubble, or do I think CCGs have staying power on these platforms?
  • Specific question – What’s the draw for developers and publishers to push so aggressively into this space?
And these are my unabridged comments:

Specifically looking at CCG that were crowdfunded, I think there are very interesting trends that many can learn from. CCG on Kickstarter have done historically incredibly well.

First, you can consider SolForge, a free-to-play CCG that raised $429,000 on Kickstarter in September 2012 ) – when free-to-play games are notoriously difficult to fund on the platform. That in itself was a sign of a real hunger for this type of game at the time.

Then, less than a year later, in June 2013, you have Hex that managed to raise more than $2.2m , again on a free-to-play promise, using the Magic the Gathering nostalgia (or enthusiasm as Magic is still around I guess) as well as the promise of an MMO experience alongside the card game elements.

[For reference, the two campaigns mentioned]

 

Kickstarter has always been a good place to get interest for games in an under served niche. At the moment, I think the niche is no longer under served, Hearthstone has taken care of this. The way I look at it is the way the Fable Fortune Kickstarter campaign went – it had a very strong IP behind it, it had excellent media coverage and reach, but it didn’t transform into a home run, far from it. Before it got cancelled, the campaigned had raised £58k ($76k ) in 20 days. That’s a lot less than SolForge did, and I don’t believe this is due to crowdfunding being past its prime. There are still many projects funded every month. Fable Fortune was unfortunate to be in a segment where there doesn’t seem to be an unfulfilled promise. The fact that the Fable brand is not particularly associated with this type of gameplay didn’t help, but I am certain than had it been released prior to Hearthstone, it would have found an audience.

That’s the risk I see in the current CCG craze – like when WOW released and brought the MMO genre to the forefront, I am afraid that the actual demand for this type of game is mostly fulfilled by Hearthstone. I personally am not very fond of it, and find Magic more appealing, but Magic, while having a dedicated audience, has always had a weak presence on the digital front – Hearthstone is showing the potential that was untapped (and yes, hearthstone is also a much more accessible game, widening even further the reach it has and its audience).

CCGs will stay, and I think there are room for multiple titles that will garner more diversity than in the MMO genres for instance, but we are not in a space where there will be a lot of titles either. I think like in the MOBA space, you will have 3 to 4 strong titles doing very well, half a dozen being profitable and having a sustainable presence, but beyond that, I have a hard time seeing this being a genre that has slew of new titles cycling every year.

I see the draw for publishers and studios – these games are less costly to put together initially, with the promise of very high returns, but there are also very dependent on building a sustainable audience. To anyone keen on tackling this kind of game, I would encourage them to look at the waves of CCGs that sprung from the Magic the Gathering success back in the 90s, and to consider how many (or how few) of them have actually had any enduring existence.

 

Currently there is no way to miss Pokémon Go. In its short lifetime, the game is breaking records left and right like being the biggest mobile game in the US ever or attracting more users than services like Twitter or Tinder.

We looked into our coverage tracking tool (more info on the tracking method here) to see how well Pokémon Go is doing in terms of press coverage. To make the coverage of the only recently released title comparable to other games we looked at data from the last three years and picked the highest performing week in terms of number of articles for each title (technically, the best 7 consecutive days).

In the graph below you can see that Pokémon Go managed to get by far the most articles on it’s highest performing week.
graph_01 One of the main reasons Pokémon Go was able to achieve such a high amount of coverage is the fact that many general interest websites and gaming websites currently cover the game with several articles a day.

This makes sense as the appetite for Pokémon Go coverage is remarkable at the moment. For instance, Game Network (a publishing house hosting some of the biggest gaming sites in the world including Eurogamer, VG247 and Rock Paper Shotgun) noted that they had their biggest traffic day so far thanks to Pokémon Go:

And Kotaku’s Keza MacDonald stated that Pokémon Go articles see outstanding traffic numbers, with over half a million clicks at least per article, making it “considerably bigger than E3”:

In short: there seems to be no game in the last three years that managed to generate nearly as many articles per day as Pokémon Go.

Of course this only shows a snapshot of the media coverage for the games listed. While Pokémon Go had an impressive start, games like Overwatch manage to keep up media buzz over a long period of time.

Even so, looking at the coverage from Pokémon Go, Fallout 4, Overwatch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild over a longer period of time (June 2015 to July 2016) it became apparent that Pokémon Go has an impressive head start. It even even stacks up well against Fallout 4 which saw outstanding coverage numbers and is internally our benchmark to see how much coverage it is possible for a game to get. For the overview graph we also highlighted the biggest news beats where possible. Some titles like Overwatch didn’t see one particularly strong communication topic but rather saw a very high amount of coverage from a mix of sources.

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What makes the extremely high number of Pokémon Go articles even more impressive is the setup of the game: Whereas Fallout 4 perfectly orchestrated a genius PR coup last year by revealing and extensively showing the game just a day before E3 started, with press and players already eager for news, Pokémon Go was simply released in a few countries without any event, fancy videos or much fanfare.

I will offer some extra food for thoughts for you as you ponder the cheer scale of the coverage that Pokémon Go has received recently. The below graphs shows the repartition of the recent coverage for both Overwatch and Pokémon Go based on the type of media:

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Our tools have been built around media outlets that cover video games. In terms of the media that we properly track, I am very confident in regards to what we consider “games” media. However, there are plenty of “general interest” media that we are missing, because they focus much more on local news and have historically mentioned video games only anecdotally (if ever). I believe that what we see in our tools, while probably fairly accurate and representative for most video games, is missing many of those media from our data set.

This would mean that despite being so overwhelmingly dominant already, it is actually strongly under-representing the actual media coverage of Pokémon Go.

While it’s hard to predict how the Pokémon Go hype will develop over the next couple of days, it is already clear that it’s the strongest covered Nintendo title in years and it will almost certainly be the most covered game of 2016.

 

Nota bene: many thanks to Thomas Reisenegger for putting together most of the elements of the article.

Half of 2016 is behind us and it’s a good time for me to make one of those regular checks on the trends in crowdfunding and games.

The Games category

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Compared to the last 4 semesters*, the first half of 2016 has seen a similar number of projects being submitted, but more projects getting funded overall, reaching a ratio of funded projects of 35%, compared to 31% in the previous period.

003-totalamount-tier-games 004-projects-tier-games

The total amount of money raised is lower than either half of 2015, but that is mostly due to a smaller number of very high performing projects. If you ignore the projects that raised more than $500,000, there has been more money raised for games. There have actually been more game projects funded than in all the other tiers for the past 2 years.

Video Games

007-totalamount-videogames 008-projects-videogames

Looking into video games though we can see that most of the money raised by games this semester wasn’t by this subcategory. A meagre $8.2m was raised, compared to more than $20m in the previous period, and this despite having more or less the same number of projects funded.

009-totalamount-tier-videogames 010-projects-tier-videogames

When breaking down the projects per tier of funding, it’s obvious that what has been missing in the last 6 months is a couple of large projects, as all the other tiers have actually raised more money than in either of the two 2015 semesters. We are not at the levels of 2014, but it is reassuring to see that despite less money being seen, the amount of funded projects has actually stayed about the same. Even more surprising, there has been a decline in the number of projects raising less than $10,000, with the other tiers having stayed the same or grown from the second half of last year.

011-success-videogames 012-junk-games

As fewer projects were put on the platform, but a similar number of them got funded, we can see that the ratio of successfully funded projects has increased. And the same happened with “junk” projects (projects with $0 pledged to them), possibly indicating the notion that Kickstarter projects are not easy to get funded is sinking in to the larger audience. As John Romero has learned the hard way.

I feel like this is when I should plug the workshop we are putting together. In a couple of weeks, the day before Develop in Brighton, I will run a 1-day crowdfunding workshop for video game developers. If you are interested, check out the Evenbrite page (UKIE members can get a discount too): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/crowdfunding-for-video-games-tickets-26113940499

And before I move on to Tabletop Games, in case you can’t figure out which project raised more than $500,000 in the past 6 months, here it is:

 

Tabletop Games

013-totalamount-boardgames 014-projects-boardgames

015-totalamount-tier-boardgames 016-projects-tier-boardgames

Board games are still doing incredibly well on Kickstarter. The category is constantly growing, on all the positive metrics: number of funded projects, amount of money raised, and even ratio of funded projects.

I don’t think much needs to be added, it seems like there is healthy relationship between those projects and crowdfunding, that might not be as natural, or as elegant for video games. These past 6 months, projects in the tabletop games categories have raised 6 times as much money as video games, and 4 times more projects got funded.

 

 

As a final note, our friends at Potion of Wit, who provide us the data, have set up a Twitter bot called Bloomwatch. If you are a crowdfunding entuthisast, check-it out – it posts about projects passing key milestones, starting from the moment they pass $50,000: https://twitter.com/BloomWatcher

 

*Semester = a half year, from the Latin semestris, “of six months”. Not an American high school semester, you heathens 🙂