Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has seen backers give USD$1bn (£769m) to game projects in the ten years since its launch.
When Kickstarter launched in 2009, crowdfunding was little known to the public, but following some high-profile projects by prominent creators, it quickly became a very ordinary way to bankroll a game.
As detailed in a new official Kickstarter blog post (via pocketgamer.biz), almost 17,000 game projects have been funded through its crowd-based model. Some tremendously successful games have been defined by their success on the platform, including Shenmue III, which sees a beloved Sega Dreamcast series rekindled. The game aimed to get USD$2m (£1.5m) on Kickstarter in 2015; backers ultimately pledged USD$6.3m (£4.8m).
That same year, spiritual Castlevania successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night secured USD$5.5m (£4.2m); over tenfold its target of USD$500,000 (£384,000).
Kickstarter also helped fuel the arrival of technologies that, while being listed outside the games category, significantly impacted the industry. Indeed, the current-generation VR movement was arguably set in motion by the 2012 Oculus Rift Kickstarter Campaign. That effort saw Oculus become a household name as a USD$250,000 (£192,000) target was surpassed by a vast amount, with USD$2.4m (£1.8) coming in from backers. Oculus was eventually acquired by Facebook, much to the disappointment of some Kickstarter backers.
At the same time, Kickstarter has exposed how hard it can be to make games even when well-backed by supportive fans. A number of projects went wildly awry, diverted significantly from the promised delivery, or even attracted accusations of fraud. Those projects, fortunately, are by far in the minority.
It’s worth noting that the gaming category does include board games, cards games, tabletop RPGs, and so on. But if you think that sector would add little to the total, it’s worth remembering that as the board game industry has boomed there have been some huge success on Kickstarter. Take card game Exploding Kittens, for example. The team needed USD$10,000 (£7,700) to achieve their goal. Backers pledged USD$8.8m (£6.8m). No video game has achieved that on the platform.