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Gaming Kickstarters raised $133.6M in 2015, 76 percent more than 2014 (update)

Tabletop games brought in over twice as much money as video games

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Kickstarter continued to grow in 2015 — especially as a destination for games, with nearly 1 million backers contributing more than $133.6 million to 2,259 successful projects, according to statistics published by Kickstarter today.

Both the funding and the number of projects were up significantly from 2014, when gaming Kickstarters raised a total of $76.1 million for 1,980 successful projects. That puts the year-over-year increases at 75.5 percent for the amount of money raised, and 14.1 percent for the number of successful games-based Kickstarters.

The amount of money raised increased in 2015 after a down year in 2014, with that year's $76.1 million of contributions to gaming Kickstarters coming in as a drop of 27.9 percent from the $105.6 million that was contributed in 2013. A Kickstarter representative explained the 2014 decrease to Polygon in this way: "Fewer big blockbuster projects in 2014 contributed to a smaller overall sum of dollars pledged."

That certainly wasn't the case in 2015, which featured a number of massive Kickstarters for both tabletop games and video games. At the top of the list was Exploding Kittens, the card game from Elan Lee, Shane Small and The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman, which pulled in $8.78 million to surpass the Ouya ($8.6 million in 2012) as the biggest gaming Kickstarter of all time. Big board game projects in 2015 included Monolith's Conan ($3.3 million) and CoolMiniOrNot's Zombicide: Black Plague ($4.1 million).

Kickstarter campaigns for tabletop games were huge in 2015, bringing in more than $84.6 million. That was over twice as much as the contributions for video games ($41.5 million), and there were almost four times as many successful tabletop projects (1,396) as video game projects (374). That doesn't mean that video games had a quiet year on Kickstarter. Two big projects led the way in 2015, both of them revivals of classic video games: Koji Igarashi raised $5.5 million for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which set a new record as the highest-funded video game on Kickstarter until Yu Suzuki pulled in $6.3 million for Shenmue 3.

Update: In its original blog post, Kickstarter mistakenly included 2014 figures for the numbers of tabletop and video game projects. The company has since updated its post with the correct numbers, and we've edited our post to match.

Update 2: A Kickstarter representative clarified to Polygon that the amounts listed in the blog post refer to funds pledged, a figure that includes money that was pledged to failed campaigns (and was therefore never collected). The company provided us with figures for funds contributed only to successful campaigns; we've updated our post with those numbers.

You can listen to this story — and many more — in the episode of Minimap, Polygon's daily news podcast, below.