Every time you back a project on Kickstarter you’re rolling the dice. After being lured in by an enticing video and a well-thought-out business plan, you slide the team whatever money you’re comfortable parting with, and feel good about helping someone cool make something new. What’s not to love?
You only hear about a Kickstarter project when it has broken some sort of record or has a cool video though, and the reality is there’s a lot of people who get their backer reward and are left underwhelmed by the product they invested in. Not to worry, as we’ve put together a short list of successful Kickstarter projects that did not disappoint at all. These are great projects with thousands of satisfied backers, and teams to watch in case they ever plan something else.
Getting funding for something that is “just for adults” is strangely difficult nowadays. Even getting a movie made that is rated 18 is significantly less common than it used to be, unless it’s a gruesome horror flick meant to send you screaming out of the cinema. Imagine trying to sell the idea of a card game – one that was meant just for adults to compete against one another to see who had the most terrible imagination – to an investor. Without Kickstarter, there’s a good chance Cards Against Humanity wouldn’t exist today.
It’s a game so terrible, so twisted, and so incredibly fun to play that it is almost impossible to describe, and since their Kickstarter hit almost quadrupled its $4,000 (£2,400) goal, the creators have soldiered on with updates and expansions to the game. It has spawned more inside jokes and more sideways glances than any other game I have ever played, and even though the game is 100 per cent available for free there are thousands of people all over the world who routinely throw money at the creators to make more and more content.
As we move towards thinner phones that act as our entire music library, impossibly thin laptops with terrible speakers, and an endless onslaught of those awful Bluetooth speakers, audiophiles sure seem to be getting the short end of the awesome new technology stick. The guys at LH Labs decided it was time to even things out with a portable USB digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) that offered an audio boost to just about any product.
The LH Labs Geek Out blew past its $28,000 (£17,000) goal to an incredible $303,000 (£181,000) back in September, and then promptly started taking additional pre-orders on their website. The hardware has only just started shipping, but LH Labs was able to deliver exactly what they promised – a decent portable DAC that helped make everything sound better.
While we live in a time of incredible graphics and mind-blowing scenarios in our video games, the industry has started putting more wood behind fewer arrows to help maximise profit and minimise risk. This means we get many sequels to popular games and not nearly as many crazy new concepts that steal our hearts but maybe don’t make as much money (from non-indie publishers). This puts game design teams like Double Fine in a tough position, since quirky and lovable are the things they are famous for. Thanks to Kickstarter, they were able to fund the Double Fine Adventure.
Tim Schafer and crew shattered their original goal of $300,000 (£180,000) and took their impressive $3,336,000 (£2,000,000) to go and make the next great video game, now called Broken Age. So far the team has only delivered half of the game to backers, but nearly everyone who has played the game so far has been happy with it.
Few Kickstarter projects have been written about as much as the Oculus Rift. It’s a platform that now speaks for itself, even though the retail version of the hardware is nowhere near ready to ship. Simply by existing thanks to an explosively popular Kickstarter campaign, this device has fundamentally altered gaming in ways we’re only just starting to understand.
After reaching nearly ten times their original $250,000 (£150,000) goal, Oculus went to work revising their original concept and improving the platform they were creating. The hardware gave users the ability to step into their games by offering a pair of screens in a set of goggles that use sensors to track head movement and match it to the in-game movement. The developer kits from the Kickstarter have been out for quite a while now, and have seen development from every corner of the gaming world. From first person shooters to decapitation simulators and even a special mod to a truck simulator, this curious little visor has been a huge success even before it hit the retail shelves.
Battery backups are one of those necessary evils in the world that some people just can’t live without. Those big, awkward bricks with USB ports on the side tether your smartphone or tablet to your pocket in order to deliver the energy necessary to get through the day. It’s frustrating, but there’s rarely any other solution available if you’re on the go and need juice. Tylt came up with a more elegant solution to the problem by integrating the battery into a backpack that was designed for those of us who demand cable management.
The Tylt Energi Backpack may have only passed its $50,000 (£30,000) goal by a mere $26,000 (£15,000), but the backpack they delivered is one of the highest quality backpacks I’ve ever owned. It has small slits throughout the backpack to allow you to connect your phone, hotspot, tablet, and whatever else you might need to hook up a removable battery that’s neatly tucked away in the back of the bag. Its pocket and flap layout makes it the only bag most owners will grab when doing much more than walking down the street, and it’s a perfect example of a successful Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is huge, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only place to get something funded – the iQi wireless charging accessory for iOS devices is a perfect example of that. The Indiegogo-funded charger is an impossibly thin Qi pad attached to a ribbon Lightning adaptor. Sounds cool right? This idea alone shattered the team’s $30,000 (£18,000) goal and turned it into over $160,000 (£95,000). There aren’t many unofficial accessories out there for Apple products which are able to demonstrate their popularity with numbers like the iQi can, and the best part is that the product worked exactly the way they promised it would with their crowdfunding video. It’s a great example of funding success through a medium that isn’t Kickstarter, but it’s also an excellent example of a cool product that would likely have only been funded through services like these.