If you’re reading this then it means you’re considering using, or at the very least know of, the crowd-funding website Kickstarter. So far it has taken the internet by storm, starting with Double Fine’s Kickstarter project for a point and click adventure (which got $3,336,371 in funding), followed by other famous developers who got their projects funded as well, such as Obsidian Entertainment and Lord British, aka Richard Garriott.
In this article, I’ll look at the top five most successfully funded videogames on Kickstarter.com and dig so deep to find out what they all have in common. I’ll follow it up with another article that lists top 5 promising Kickstarters that failed to reach their funding goal and what they, too, have in common.
According to the “Most Funded” section on Kickstarter.com, the Games section, the 5 highest-funded videogames on Kickstarter.com in descending order are : Torment: Tides of Numenera, Project Eternity, Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 and Elite: Dangerous. Without further hesitation I begin listing what I’ve noticed between those videogames:
5. They are all coming from well-established companies
If you’re an indie developer, then I think this is something you should really ponder and I’m not going to sugarcoat this for the hopeful indie. If you look at any Kickstarter project from the list, you’ll see that none of them come from a Startup (till now at least!). Even the ones that could be considered “lesser known” have at least one famous name behind them.
If you look at Double Fine and Obsidian, they are not manned by newcomers, rather by two extremely experienced and famous developers (Tim Schafer and Feargus Urquhart). inXile Entertainment (founded in 2002) which has two Kickstarter projects on our list (Wasteland 2 and Torment), might not be that famous on its own, but it has many talents standing behind it, most notably Brian Fargo the ex-founder of Interplay; the company that came up with the legendary Fallout series and publishers of cult classic Baldur’s Gate. Finally, Frontier Developments (manned by the famous David Braben) was founded in the 90s and is currently working on the already well-established Elite series.
4. They are all well explained using a video
Most successful Kickstarters, not just the ones on our list, have an inaugural captivating video that easily explains the project inside out, so that potential backers don’t have to read through the mountains of text and details to reach a verdict. In fact, according to Kickstarter themselves, you have a higher chance of funding with a video. 50% of Kickstarter projects with a video get funded, while only 30% of projects without a video reach their targets.
3. They all have a famous name standing behind them
inXile has the famous Brian Fargo whom we talked about earlier. Double Fine has Tim Schafer who brought us Monkey Island and that’s enough in my book. Obsidian has Tim Cain who was one of the main designers of the original Fallout series, Chris Avellone who worked on more or less every Obsidian game and Josh Sawyer who was the lead designer for many projects including Icewind Dale II and Fallout New Vegas (to name a few).
Frontier has one of my favourite British videogame designers ever; David Braben who co-wrote the original Elite and is also one of the founders of the Raspberry Pi computer.
2. They are the media’s favorite
Obviously awareness of your project is everything when it comes to Kickstarter. Most of the top funded Kickstarters managed to get more than a fair share of social media and news exposure. Between social media, Reddit posts and gaming news sites, word of most of these Kickstarters traveled fast. In fact, Torment reached its goal of $900,000 in funding in just 6 hours and went on to break the Kickstarter record for fastest project to reach $1 million, which it did in less than 7 hours!
1. They come from people passionate about videogames
The main idea of a Kickstarter is simple: companies that don’t have money ask people for money to make the product they want. It’s that simple. All the companies who got funded in the top 5 list have a genuine and proven passion for videogames and want to make this next earth-shattering videogame a reality.
During the Kickstarter campaign for Wasteland 2, Brian Fargo announced the ‘Kicking it Forward’ initiative. Under this program, inXile Entertainment will use 5% of post-launch net profits to back future Kickstarter projects. Other Kickstarter videogames projects pledged to do the same as well, like Shadowrun Returns and Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded.
Liam Taylor is an avid writer and programmer who can be found at liamtaylor.net