Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The Rise of Tabletop Games on Kickstarter

I'm back from RTX and will have wrap-up...eventually. Need to get all of the photos off my camera first and work up the review. In the mean time, let's get back into gaming and Kickstarter news with some surprising stats from Polygon. Over the past few years, video games were steadily climbing and taking over as one of the top crowdfunded projects on Kickstarter. They were setting records left and right.

But this year, the numbers have dropped drastically. Roughly the same number of game projects are being backed, but for a lower dollar amount. There is a noticeable absence of "big name" projects. No Shenmue 3 to entice people to pledge. It's a lot more indie games, asking for a lot less money.

U.K. based ICO Partners has conducted a review of the backed projects on Kickstarter this year and has found that more board games are being funded then video games. Up to 6 times more, in fact. And up to 4 times more projects are receiving funds because of this, putting the genre on track for a record year.

Why the drastic change for gamers? There isn't a direct answer for that, but I do think there are a few reasons that have helped spur the interest in tabletop games. Media channel RoosterTeeth and web comic Cyanide & Happiness have both produced card games that reached the million dollar level when they only asked for a few thousand. Big name companies/groups that have a strong fan base willing to donate compared to indie games and developers who have no following. It also helps that in many cases with the board games, the final product is ready to go. The companies have the stories, the pieces, the design, everything they need - expect mass production. That's what is stopping them from delivering the product to a store or convention near you. They don't have the funds to produce multiple copies of their game. Seeing the tangible product on Kickstarter is more of an incentive to backers. Unlike a video game that may not be produced, as we have seen on multiple occasions, you can see with the board game that the item is ready. You feel more inclined to back the project compared to a video game concept that doesn't have coding or artwork down.

It'll be interesting to see where the rest of the Kickstarter year takes us. Will there be more of a push towards tabletop games, or will video games make a comeback?


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