The downward trend in the number of game projects seeking funding on Kickstarter does not mean that the number of projects that actually succeed in funding is also decreasing. The number of successful projects has fluctuated roughly around 190 for years. In the first half of 2018, the number of projects that achieved their set funding goal was 23 percent, the highest percentage since the second half of 2013.
However, if you as a developer are not lucky enough to have your crowdfunding campaign successful and otherwise not get $ 213 million raked in, the money has to come from somewhere else. Early access is increasingly an outcome. The developers then give interested gamers access to their game for a relatively low amount, which is still in development at that time and is, for example, in a pre-alpha, alpha or beta phase. Players can thus play the game early and the developers will receive extra income that may be very useful or even necessary for the completion of the game and getting feedback. A nice win-win situation, although it is never certain that an early access game will actually be completed and will be completely polished in a stable state. And early access can sometimes be disappointing, depending on the state of the game.
The Revenue Model
The early access revenue model became particularly known after Valve’s Steam gaming platform launched Steam Early Access in March 2013. At the time, the project was launched with twelve early access titles, but that number exploded in the following years, as did the total number of games available on the platform.
Canadian researchers from Queen’s University and the University of Alberta published a study of the early access titles on Steam in June 2017. Their research revealed that of the 8025 counted games on Steam at the time, 1182 had early access status, that was 15 percent of the total. According to their figures, the number of new early access titles rose quite spectacularly in the years after its introduction in March 2013. In 2013, 64 new early access titles were added, which already amounted to 485 titles in 2015, an increase of 660 percent. Of the early access games between March 2013 and February 2016, 34 percent left early access status. The survey also found that indie games are very dominant: 88 percent of early access games are from individual developers or small studios. However, the game designers are coming up with then new and harder plans of the games as the use of the lol smurfs accounts is on the rise. The gamers are also feeling great with the new challenges.
Spiked Up Trend
Meanwhile, according to SteamSpy, a total of 19,841 games are on Steam, of which 3,046 have early access status that is over 15 percent, which is in line with the earlier finding of the Canadian researchers. The percentage of games on Steam that meet the ‘genre’ of early access has thus remained fairly stable in recent years. SteamSpy reports that there are now 1376 games on Steam that have shed their early access status. If those games were included, the number of early access games on Steam would make up over 22 percent of the total number of games.