Kickstarter: The Short, Sharp Shock of Reality

By happenstance I came across this great graphic via Mashable yesterday, and it really sang to me.  You’ll have to blow it up to see it all (links to the graphic itself, just click on it).  Why is this interesting?  Kickstarter has become a viable publishing alternative to traditional, professional routes in the last 3 years– especially for niche hobby items like boardgames and computers games (two endeavors that were never anticipated by the founders of Kickstarter, who envisioned it would be an effective way of crowdfunding film, video and book projects).  Nevertheless Kickstarter was something of a success story for two games, ALIEN FRONTIERS (2010)  and OGRE SIX (2012), plus, possibly, some smaller projects like OH MY GOD, I’VE GOT AN AXE IN MY HEAD! (2012).   All of these were funded projects (in OGRE SIX’s case, overfunded by a wide measure).  What isn’t mentioned is just how many of these projects don’t make it, or even come close.  And if they DO make it, how long will it take between funding and delivery?  That’s where this chart comes in.

KICKSTARTER STATISTICS. Click graphic to embiggen. Image copyright Jeanne Pi and Ethan Mahlick 2012

Some interesting reality in that graphic. It derives from Kickstarter’s own statistics (which they are somewhat reticent about revealing, see reference 4 below, in “Related”) and this article.

Interesting factoids to take away: 44% of projects succeed. By inference, that means 56% of them fail. 9 out of 10 failed projects ever reach 30% of their funding goals. 97% of failed projects even make 50%! Only 25% of projects deliver on time. That’s not a rate of return I’d bet my future on, but that’s the beauty of crowdfunding– it’s not your money. From the empirical evidence, the smaller projects with more connected producers are the ones that tend to succeed, which is why we see a lot of board game Kickstarters, I think.


  1. Why Kickstarter is ripe for Scams
  2. Nearly half of all Kickstarter projects fail
  3. Kickstarter Failures revealed!  What can you learn from Kickstarter Failures?
  4. Kickstarter hides failure