What effect do the Tim Shafers have on Kickstarter?

The question: Do large video game projects on Kickstarter influence the success rate of other projects running at the same time?  That is, when Tim Shafer, Brian Fargo, or Obsidian run massively  successful campaigns do they “suck up” the available gamer dollars or do they increase the traffic and backers to all projects?

I’ve been thinking of a way to answer this question, and I’ve come up with the following.  The chart below shows the rolling three week average success rate by Video Game and Game projects launched on Kickstarter (all dates are the dates the projects launched).  The red dotted line is the average success rate of these projects.  When the blue line is above the red, you’re beating the average and when it’s below you’re doing worse.

The grey shaded area is the number of projects in the three week rolling average.  The purple lines are projects that asked for $100,000 or more, and reached 2x or more of their goal.  In this chart I scaled the purple lines so that the top would be 10x the goal.


Here is the list of big projects:

StartDate Title Goal Pledged Funding
2/8/2012 Double Fine Adventure $ 400,000.00 $ 3,336,371.00 834%
3/13/2012 Wasteland 2 $ 900,000.00 $ 2,933,252.00 326%
3/18/2012 The Banner Saga $ 100,000.00 $ 723,886.00 724%
4/4/2012 Shadowrun Returns $ 400,000.00 $ 1,836,447.00 459%
4/6/2012 Yogventures! $ 250,000.00 $ 567,665.00 227%
6/5/2012 Dead State: The Zombie Survival RPG $ 150,000.00 $ 332,635.00 222%
7/10/2012 OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console $ 950,000.00 $ 8,596,474.00 905%
8/15/2012 Planetary Annihilation – A Next Generation RTS $ 900,000.00 $ 2,229,344.00 248%
9/4/2012 Homestuck Adventure Game $ 700,000.00 $ 2,485,506.00 355%
9/14/2012 Project Eternity $ 1,100,000.00 $ 3,986,929.00 362%

I’ve spent a good deal of time looking at the chart, and my conclusion is that there is no effect.  It does look like post Double Fine Adventure there was a spike in the number of projects, but to check this I made a chart going back to May of 2010:


You can see that the number of projects on Kickstarter in these categories was already on a sharp increase before Tim Shafer and Double Fine Adventure.  Tim might have boosted the number some, but I wouldn’t say he was the cause.

While the large projects on Kickstarter are not influencing overall success rates, something is.  There is a clear pattern of peaks and valleys in success rate and there is a good time and a bad time to launch a project.  What is influencing this cycle?  No idea yet, that’s another post!

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