Over February 2014 , I backed a total of 24 projects on Kickstarter. The general classification and split of projects is as follows:
- 5 Board Games
- 5 Card Games
- 2 Apps – Games
- 9 Graphic Novels
- 2 Stationery
- 1 Design
This categorisation is a more granular view compared to the categories that Kickstarter uses, for example, my three games categories is grouped into “Games” on Kickstarter.
For my Kickstarter portfolio, the breakdown of the average amount in GBP and number of projects is:
The total value (i.e. my budget for my portfolio) can be represented as follows:
The geographical split for where projects originate can be shown as:
As an EU backer, I am very conscientious as to whether a project is EU Friendly. Of the total 17 non-EU originating projects:
- 2 are not EU friendly, which means I pay additional tax on shipping;
- 41% are delivered electronically – graphic novels;
- 41% are EU friendly – the board games and card games backed.
My passion for games and all things geek is strongly reflected in my Kickstarter portfolio. But, let’s compare my portfolio against all projects launched on Kickstarter since 2009. The Kickstarter stats page tracks projects and dollars, both for successfully and unsuccessfully funded projects, as at 1 March 2014, the stats for my selected categories are:
Overall, the Games category has a relatively low comparative success rate but it has the highest dollar value for successful projects (next highest dollar value for successful projects is Film&Video). Without a clearer categorisation, for example, splitting the gaming stats into table top (and all its variations), apps and online, it is difficult to unpack these stats, although the Kickstarter blog points to two very successful games in 2012: a tabletop miniature and a real-time strategy.
The Kickstarter Games category aligns to the general commercial gaming market: it is a crowded market with hits and misses, but it is very lucrative for game makers, and the hits more than compensate for the misses. The crowdfunding model works very well for certain game makers, because from the viewpoint as a gamer, I am constantly on the look out for the next best game to have, as well as expansion packs for my existing games, and I am willing to pay a premium or wait for these goods. Accordingly, for game makers, crowdfunding can be a very successful strategy. I explore the characteristics of crowdfunders and reasons why game makers would use crowdfunding in other posts.
The Design category has a relatively low percentage of total projects launched since 2009, but is the third top performing category for Kickstarter. There are some excellent products available, but as an EU backer, I am weary of the Design category for two reasons:
- shipping from the US to the EU;
- the design market is the EU is more advanced compared to the US’, with more choice, more innovation, more competition, better pricing (even given the current GBP:USD foreign exchange rate!).
The Design category is a good category for US backers, but from my perspective, not for EU backers. My two stationery projects and one design project all fall into the Kickstarter Design category; two out of the three are UK-based.
Comics is a difficult category, and the blending of children comics, comics and graphic novels into one category makes this category difficult to unpack. Comics is a saturated market, and to stand out in this market is a real challenge. The artwork, plot and writing all have to be amazing, and it is sad to see wonderful artwork being spoiled by mediocre writing. In my portfolio, there are only 3 graphic novels I would be keen to read and look out for next editions; the other 6 I am backing due to the artwork. The punitive shipping rates charged for US created projects, in addition to the VAT and customs I have to pay as an EU backer means that I am only paying for PDFs from US creators, which is a pity, because seeing amazing artwork printed is part of the graphic novel experience!
My Kickstarter portfolio is heavily weighted in games, but this aligns to my risk/reward expectation. I also feel confident in the game makers; see my post on rating project creators for more information. My dollar value backed for comics and design is a small percentage of my overall budget, and, for now, this is also okay.
I will be tracking my experience with project creators and the successes of the projects I backed in real-time. And this is how my journey as a crowdfunder begins!