Of the 262 successful video game Kickstarters in the nine month period from June 2013 through February 2014, only eight
brought in more money than Harmonix did with Amplitude
. Consider Amplitude
part of the wealthy minority in crowdfunding. Projects in the nine-month period earned closer to $22,000, far less than the massive amount Harmonix managed. What's more, that number is on the decline: The winter quarter
in crowdfunding saw a median average of $18,087 raised among its projects.
A large chunk of Harmonix's success last week came from the willingness of its funders to increase their pledge amounts beyond what they normally might be. Amplitude
saw an average of $59.82 pledged per person, more than twenty bucks higher than the typical contribution recorded in the aforementioned nine-month period ($36.03). That trend hasn't let up
, either. In other words, if the Amplitude
project had gone the way of most Kickstarter efforts, Harmonix would have earned roughly $335,813 less than it actually did. Failure.
The success rate of gaming Kickstarter projects is the other major struggle in the space. Ink Stories managed over $300,000 in support for its novel, politically-charged game 1979 Revolution
, yet didn't get the Harmonix-level push to see any of that funding money in December
. More recently, Renegade Kid wasn't able to pass the $50,000 mark on its quest to raise $580,000 for Cult County
, and the developer's co-founder Jools Watsham determined
that the "only way to reduce [its] budget is to only make episode [one]." Spaceteam
designer Henry Smith's "experiment
" to raise $80,000 CAD to develop two free games failed earlier this month, though Smith asserted that it was a success in proving
that players are "ready for this kind of funding model." As it turns out, players seemed more eager to bring a rhythm-action game back from a 12-year absence.
The crowdfunding community decided that each of these games weren't going to be made, just like it decided that pouring $1.2 million into Double Fine's Massive Chalice
was reasonable. And yet of those 262 games funded between June and February, 121 of them received less than $20,000, 219 earned less than $100,000. It's impossible to say with any certainty that those developers will have a tough time creating their respective games with those budgets; most will likely be fine.
Still, those considering crowdfunding their dream projects may also face the reality that those visions need to be increasingly limited in scope. There's no telling what caused the Amplitude
project to skyrocket, whether the Dance Central
developer's name or the return of a familiar brand brought promise to backers is unclear. If Harmonix's incredible rally last week says anything, it's that even a game like the upcoming Amplitude
successor requires more than what crowdfunding can offer.