State of Kickstarter and games — mid-2021 update

Following up on my round of analysis of Kickstarter and Games in 2020, it is high time to look at how games have done on the platform for the first half of 2021.

Spoiler alert: Tabletop Games keep growing, Video Games stay stable.

Tabletop Games on Kickstarter — first semester of 2021

With the yearly data, we can see the first indication that 2021 is not looking bad at all for tabletop games. The number of funded projects is ahead of the previous year if you project for a similar amount to be funded in the last 6 months, and the number of projects that were not funded is below a similar projection. That means a whopping 75% of projects launched in the first half of 2021 met their funding goal.

Looking at the data per semester, it is obvious that the ongoing trend and growth for tabletop games has not slowed in 2021.

If anything, there is a slight acceleration, with a +11% number of funded projects increase from H2 2020, which had a +10% increase from the previous semester.

Looking at the amount of money raised yearly, we can see the trend observed with the number of funded projects holds true here too.

Tabletop games projects raised more in the first half of 2021 than during the entirety of 2017. There is a good chance that by the end of the year, we can say that the amount of money raised in Kickstarter by tabletop projects has doubled in four years, especially when a hit success like the Avatar tabletop RPG is NOT appearing in the numbers shared above.

In the first half of 2021, there has been 52 tabletop projects that raised more than $500,000, and 28 of these raised more than $1m.

Looking at these million dollars projects, we noticed three interesting profiles behind the growth of the category:

  • Board game projects based on a video game franchise: The Witcher; Monster Hunter; Stellaris. Projects that were in the top 8 most funded tabletop games for the first semester of 2021.
  • Tabletop Roleplaying Games: The One Ring; Twisted Taverns; Auroboros; Grim Hollow; Coyote & Crow. The total number of tabletop RPG raising more than $1m prior to 2021 was… four. That number has now more than doubled, and the year is far from over, with at least a sixth game joining that shortlist, the aforementioned Avatar Legends. Note that I am not including the very popular campaigns around tabletop RPG accessories such as dice and miniatures, which have seen a lot of success prior to 2021 and have their own dynamic.
  • Sequels, expansions, re-printing of successful board games: Everdell; Zombicide; Mythic Battles; Root; Castles of Mad King Ludwig; The Isle of Cats. This is not a particularly new trend, but it is worth noting that the very good numbers for tabletop projects on Kickstarter are thanks to those proven games going back to the platform for the next stage of their lifecycle.

Beyond the $1m+ projects though, all the other funding tiers (except the Under $10k tier)raised less money and saw fewer projects funded. The difference is small, for the tier of projects raising between $100k and $500k for instance, we went from 171 funded projects and $38m in H2–2020, to 169 funded projects and $35m in H1–2021.

Are these larger projects, combined with the new performance of tabletop RPGs, hiding the slowing of the growth of the category on Kickstarter? This is very hard to tell at this stage, especially as none of these numbers account for an important change in the landscape: Gamefound.

Gamefound numbers, or their absence thereof

On the 17th of December 2020, Gamefound launched its first native crowdfunding campaign for ISS Vanguard. The campaign was successful and concluded on the 7th of January 2021, having raised close to $5m.

Gamefound as a platform is still curating the projects that are launching on it, and while the scale of it is far from the one of Kickstarter, there is no doubt that the campaigns that launched so far on Gamefound would have found their way on Kickstarter, probably for a similar success. The relatively good numbers of Kickstarter for the first half of 2021 would have been even better if not for the new competition offered by Gamefound.

The data collection on Kickstarter is not a simple task, and I haven’t gotten around to go through a similar exercice for Gamefound. The picture, for now, is thus quite incomplete. This is not new though. I haven’t provided data for Games projects from other platforms in a years now (last time was when Fig was still somewhat relevant to video games), but it is likely that the size of the projects finding success on Gamefound will mean a better picture of the crowdfunding performance of games in general, and board games in particular, will require to include this platform to the next analysis. Let’s look at this in a few months, will you?

Video Games on Kickstarter — first semester of 2021

Looking at the yearly data, 2021 so far looks slightly behind 2020 in the number of funded projects.

When considering the number of funded projects each semester though, the first half of 2021 is ahead of the first half of 2020. Early 2020 was likely most affected by the covid-19 pandemic, and projects being postponed to the second half of the year.

Looking at the amount of money raised by successful projects in the first half of 2021, the projects of the video games category performed very well. This is second best semester (after H2–2020) since 2015.

The two projects that raised more that $500,000 went on to raise a lot more than that as Friday Night Funkin’ and Coral Island respectively raised $2.2m and $1.6m. Two very different games finding an audience and success.

A slew of games managed to raise between $100,000 and $500,000 too, for a total just short of $5m, across 25 projects.

Overall, 2021 so far is following the same stability we have observed for video games projects on the platform. There is a steady flow of video games creations that find funding on Kickstarter, and there is no sign of decline in sight.



Thomas Bidaux
ICO —  Video games agency specializing in self-publishing

Online game consultant, crowd funding enthusiast. And not a werewolf... Promised.