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Kickstarter game delays "really healthy for the ecosystem"

Failures help educate backers on the realities of game development

Crowdfunded games that are delayed or cancelled after they've reached funding targets are ultimately helping the platform mature, according to Kickstarter's Cindy Au.

"I actually think it's been really healthy for the ecosystem to see that process in action," Au told a panel at the GameHorizon Investment Summit last week.

"Games take longer than initially estimated - the backers seem to be getting smarter about understanding this timeline. They [developers] are doing a better job of upfront explaining delays. Ultimately, no one can say for sure that something is going to be done on a specific date."

There has been a number of high-profile games that have struggled to come to fruition since reaching financial goals. Clang, a game developed by Subutai Corporation and fronted by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson has been put on hold since raising over $500,000, and Tim Schafer admitted in July he needed more cash to finish Broken Age despite raising over $3.3 million via Kickstarter.

But according to Au, as consumers who back projects become more aware of potential pitfalls, they will become better educated and make more informed bets on the projects they donate to.

"It's important to remember that people backing projects are not consumers in the traditional sense and they're not coming at it from that traditional investment sense.

"People back projects because they simply care about the person or the product and you'll hear people frequently say 'I don't know if this is going to happen or not but I think it's important to show this person that I support what they're doing.'"

She also highlighted that Kickstarter data shows there has been no slowdown in funding for games. Games are the biggest sector on Kickstarter, with over $172 million raised via the platform.

"In terms of whether or not this is putting off backers, our data shows that more and more people are initially backing Kickstarter projects. It continues to grow and this speaks to the fact that this is not about looking at things as a whole, it's about projects and specific campaigns."

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.