Kickstarter loves games. Since the crowdfunding site’s inception in 2009, Kickstarter has successfully raised $444 million for this category alone. Developers owe this platform and the many individuals who voted with their dollars a huge thanks. But moreover Kickstarter has helped revive an entire industry, allowing old to become new and a golden age of analog gaming to rise.
The kinds of games Kickstarter has helped fund haven’t followed the tried and true first-person shooter genre. They were 16bit games that echoed the classic role-playing games of the past or games that remixed the shooter genre into something else entirely. Some of them weren’t even video games, according to Quartz, only a quarter of all pledges in 2015 were made toward games you play on a computer. Kickstarter’s success stories include a number of tabletop games, including Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and Boss Fight.
This revival is somewhat due to crowdfunding. Top-selling game Boss Monster got its funds through Kickstarter. Designers can now whip-up a pitch and ask the masses, “Hey, is this something you want to play?” Consumers are the bank-rollers of these projects now, which has its drawbacks. But, for the most part, allows audiences to ask for something that would be considered unsafe or too small for some investors to back.
Milton Griepp of consulting firm ICv2 told The Economist, boardgames have “seen double-digit annual growth for the past half-decade.”
According to ICv2’s 2015 market review, the tabletop games have become a $880 million industry in the found the U.S. and Canada. Year-over-year this market has seen growth, just back in 2013 ICv2 said hobby games totaled around $700 million at retail.
It's important to understand how huge this growth has been for the industry. “The largest change overall in the RPG category was the failure of Dungeons & Dragons to hit the Top Five list for spring, before the release of the new edition," Griepp told VentureBeat back in 2014. "This change is a first in ICv2’s decade-long history of sales reporting on the hobby game industry.”
The other part of this rise in analog culture can be traced to digital apps and online media. Board games weren't something people typically stumbled upon like they do today, people can now download and play Catan or Magic the Gathering from their smaprtphones. Apps, YouTube "Let's Plays," and social media have all helped in demystifying tabletop games a bit — people have more opportunities to curiously peek in on these activities without anyone seeing. People can casually learn how to play Magic the Gathering without having the benefit of friends and siblings to teach them. Outsiders can look-in without judgment or notice and decide if they want to stay and play.
Peek into a 30 minute game of Dungeons & Dragons with Vin Diesel:
Photo Credit: Antony Petrushko/ Flickr
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker