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Card game becomes most successful gaming Kickstarter ever, but the crowdfunding model is still ailing

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Exploding Kittens, an analogue card game for 2-to-5 players, finished its Kickstarter effort last night with a total of $8.78 million, unseating the Ouya game console as the most successful campaign in the games category ever. But it comes on the heels of a disappointing year for games Kickstarters in 2014.

In its final hours, the Exploding Kittens campaign put on an additional 12,000 backers, bringing its record-breaking total to 219,382. The next closest campaign remains the reboot of Reading Rainbow, which brought in less than half as many backers at 105,857.

For raw dollars earned, Exploding Kittens comes in at number three overall, behind the Coolest Cooler ($13.3 million) and the Pebble smartwatch ($10.3 million).

But looking at Kickstarter's games category as a whole, it's clear that there are more games being launched there than ever before. As of Jan. 1, 2015 there had been 4,737 successfully funded games projects, 42 percent of which were funded in 2014 alone. That means that backer money was spread quite a bit further than in years past.

The year previous — 2013 — saw the games category rake in more than $105 million in backer money, averaging a little over $71,000 per campaign. But in 2014 that average dropped to just over $38,000, based on $76 million in total backer funds. Those numbers continue a downward trend — the average games project in 2012 earned more than $81,000.

So while Exploding Kittens is a stunning achievement, it remains to be seen just how viable Kickstarter is for games generally in 2015. You can read more about Polygon's analysis of Kickstarter funding trends in our article here.