My Take On Kickstarter Toy Projects
With a little over a day left for the S.U.C.K.L.E. Series 2 Kickstarter project from DKE Toys and the Sucklord, I wanted to look a little bit at the state of recent "designer toy" Kickstarter projects. Does Kickstarter seem to be a viable route? Are collectors being turned off by delays? Are there long past-due projects that still haven't shipped out rewards?
Here are some stats from two of the bigger M.U.S.C.L.E. inspired figure lines.
S.U.C.K.L.E Series 1 - $43,127 raised from 516 backers (average of $83.58)
S.U.C.K.L.E Series 2 - $25,360 raised from 197 backers (average of $128.73)
So while the total amount raised and numbers of backers has significantly decreased, the average amount pledged has increased over 50%. But with Series 2, only 11 of the 197 backers pledged greater than the average. Assuming that every level pledged that minimum amount to earn its reward, you'd have 196 backers putting in $14,247. That lone backer at the $1,250 and above level would have put in $11,113. For example, Series 1 would have raised $40,684 at the minimum reward level from 515 backers. That lone backer at the $1,166 and above level would have put in $2,443.
I noticed that the overall amount pledged this week jumped from likely not being funded to definitely being funded. I'm sure someone wants to see the project go forward and invested the needed money to achieve that. I backed Series 1 of the S.U.C.K.L.E. figures and it's one of the few Kickstarter projects that delivered what was promised around the time it was promised. You're dealing with a reputable company in DKE Toys.
The OMFG! Series from October Toys is very interesting as well:
OMFG! Series 1: $15,759 raised from 425 backers (average of $37.08)
OMFG! Series 2: $13,661 raised from 527 backers (average of $25.92)
OMFG! Series 3: $15,627 raised from 572 backers (average of $27.32)
OMFG! Series 4: $16,309 raised from 584 backers (average of $27.93)
It's pretty crazy how consistent fan support has been over the course of these four series. The number of backers and the average amount pledged have been very steady from that first series in 2011 through this year's Series 4.
So has anyone soured on companies or artists due to Kickstarter? This is a real dilemma when bringing "investors" who think they are pre-ordering something with a definitive release date into the fray.
I backed the Legendary Monsters Kickstarter from artist Richard Broadwater. Rewards were slated to be shipped in October 2013. Still nothing. Lots of upset folks leaving comments wanting their money back. Richard having to "change fabricators". Little communication...and no end in sight.
Also, I backed the BatteryBot from Mimoco Kickstarter. Pledges were expected to begin shipping out in June 2014, but June, SDCC, and now - likely - Christmas will come without the BatteryBot being shipped. Then comes the update that the Adventure Time BatteryBot I ordered likely won't be shipped until February 2015 at the earliest. Add in the fact that Mimoco will be releasing brand new licensed versions of their mimoPowerTube, and you might see why a lot of folks are angry. You can also add in that when you back a technology product, a major delay means that it's likely that when the product is released...it'll already be surpassed by something faster or better.