In the three years that Kickstarter has existed, it's had a dramatic effect on how indie games are developed. For indie devs it's a lifeline: they get to work full-time on producing a game. For players: they get to influence what games get made, and support their favourite developers directly.
What hasn't been seen is just how successful Kickstarter has been. At GDC, Cindy Au, gave indie devs an insight into how game projects are performing on the site. The takeaway: really, really well.
Games (including video, board and card games) is the category with the fastest growing number of backers: 1239 games have been launched so far, attracting over $8 million in pledges. The growth has been astounding: in the first year of the site, it raised only $60,000. In 2011 it raised $3.8 million. In 2012, already, thanks in part to the Double Fine project, 3.6 million dollars has already been pledged.
The average amounts pledged might be bigger than you'd expect. The average pledge is for $42. The average goal for a Kickstarter project to reach is $5,200, but successful projects tend to finish with near double that amount: $11,200. But it turns out game funders are a picky bunch; only 25% of videogame projects make it to completion.
The only problem for indie devs? Kickstarter is only available to US based projects. But in answering a question from the audience, Cindy revealed that the rest of the world may soon be able to tap into community funding. “We're hoping to go international. It's in the works.”
Update: corrected some mistakes in the numbers. How embarrassing.