If there was any question of whether classic niche games could succeed beyond the initial fundraising from Kickstarter, the success of Wasteland 2 demonstrates prolonged revenue streams beyond initial core supporters.
A concern for older video game series restarting on Kickstarter is that all potential customers would have already paid into the Kickstarter ahead of release, and that there would be no additional customers around after launch to support the full game’s development effort. While mainstream products can often get startup funding on Kickstarter to fund a wider mainstream release, many niche products collect all of their revenue from their initial Kickstarter campaign.
Wasteland 2, the inXile sequel of a game released over twenty years ago, is near profitability thanks to a strong post-Kickstarter launch. Kickstarter donations funded half of the game’s development, netting $3 million for the game’s $6mm budget. In the days after the game’s launch, inXile, independent of Kickstarter, sold approximately 40,000 units, bringing the company’s total revenue of the game up to $4.5 million. inXile now only needs to sell another $1.5 million of the game to break even, a feasible task given long-tail distribution of Steam and the potential for game sales on the platform.
The combination of Kickstarter and Steam can be a successful combination for classic niche games, notes video game analyst firm DFC Intelligence.
“The beauty is that this niche audience can now be reached via Steam without ever having to worry about the distribution challenges that killed profitability before,” notes DFC Intelligence. “You can imagine the brush-off Wasteland 2 would have gotten in a publisher pitch meeting: “You seriously want us to fund a retro sequel to a 20-plus year-old RPG?”
More classic games are on the way – inXile is releasing another sequel of a classic niche game, Torment: Tides of Numenera, after raising $4.1 million on Kickstarter. Based on the success of Wasteland 2, inXile should expect several more million dollars of sales upon the game’s release.
“Plenty of Kickstarter projects have already failed, but for the right IP and the right studio, crowdfunding can help harness the energy and vitality that the industry sorely needs,” notes DFC Intelligence.
Source: DFC Intelligence