The growth of the video game world continues year after year, but in 2020 it was accelerated by the pandemic, which pushed many more people to get into different communities or simply go to the games to disconnect from reality. Historical records of revenue and audience were recorded in different areas and with different video games throughout the year, resulting in an extremely good year for the industry.
However, not only the most popular video games registered growth during the year, but there was also a rise in the campaigns made in collective financing platforms, better known as crowdfunding. The Polygon site confirmed that, after some years of low performance, the Kickstarter site hosted several successful video game campaigns.
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The two most successful campaigns in the gaming world this year came from Japan
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, the spiritual successor of the legendary Suikoden role-playing franchise, raised over $4.6 million with more than 46 thousand contributors. The game is expected to launch sometime in 2022. The other Japanese video game that led the list is The Wonderful 101 Remastered, by Platinum Games – responsible for titles such as Bayonetta and NieR: Automata. The title originally released for Nintendo Wii U reached more platforms thanks to the fact that the goals were achieved within a few hours of the campaign’s start, with a collection of $2.3 million.
Kickstarter’s success in Japan is relatively new and is part of the strategy designed by the site. Kickstarter’s Community Vice President Luke Crane explained to the Polygon site, “We are committed to continuing the development in Japan. The culture of asking for money in Japan for a creative project is very different from the West. We’ve been working with the communities there and trying to understand what they need to be comfortable with the launches.”
The Top 10 most successful campaigns are completed by titles such as Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Kindred Fates, The Last Faith, and Anstoss 2022, among others, comprising a total of more than 175,000 contributors. Some of these games have already been released during the year.
Crowdfunding campaigns eliminate the intermediaries between the makers of a game and its audience. This methodology used to be associated with independent titles from small studios. For example, the popular Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout went through ten distributors before Devolver Digital decided to release the title. It can be considered “lucky”, but there are many developers who do not have the possibility to cross paths with a company like Devolver and must resort to another type of strategy. On the other hand, in the last few years we also saw large studios using Kickstarter to make sure that there was an audience interested in what they were doing, as happened with Shenmue 3.
On Kickstarter there are also several campaigns focused on peripherals for consoles, cell phones and PCs, either novel controls or accessories that imitate peripherals from another era and adapt them to current platforms. However, the entertainment sector that grew the most on the site in 2020 was that of board games.
The collection in this sector was $233 million, 32% more than the $176 million collected during 2019. The pandemic may have pushed these numbers a bit, with more and more people turning to board games and similar activities during family lock-ins. Many of the projects, with launch dates for 2021 and beyond, feature not only novel games, but sets with boards and accessories that require a lot of attention to detail and a type of manufacturing that needs a robust audience base so as not to be considered a waste of money.
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