RANKED: The 50 Biggest Kickstarter Campaigns Of All Time

Since the last time we compiled this list some interesting trends are emerging, not the least of which is the sheer dominance of gaming-related campaigns on the Kickstarter platform – both tabletop games and video games. Interestingly enough, none of the top 10 have changed, which raises the question of whether that is due to backers becoming more aware of what crowdfunding is or a sheer lack of campaigns that can garner the interest of a Pebble or an Ouya. Soon enough, Kickstarter will be able to boast 50 million-dollar campaigns! They’ve added 14 more million-dollar campaigns in the last four months. Without further adieu…

Pebble Watch Control Your Music1. Pebble E-Paper Watch

Total Raised: $10,226,845

Category: Product Design

My Take: Stands firm as the de-facto darling of crowdfunding.

Ouya Console with Controler2. OUYA Android-powered Gaming Console

Total Raised: $8,596,474

Category: Video Games

My Take: Since the raise, Ouya has raised more money and shipped consoles to lukewarm reviews. Ouya does have a first rate management team.  For anyone that values openness in their tech, this one makes you feel warm and fuzzy.  Take your walled garden and stuff it.

Veronica Mars on Kickstarter3. The Veronica Mars Movie Project

Total Raised: $5,702,152

Category: Film

My Take: You couldn’t have been on the Internet in the past six months or so and not seen, heard, watched or read something about this enormous project. Good enough for third on the all-time list, Veronica Mars set the stage for future big-ticket movies on Kickstarter.

Torment Tides of Numenera4. Torment: Tides of Numenera

Total Raised: $4,188,927

Category: Video Games

My Take: Visually stunning, great soundtrack, dovetails nicely with Monte Cook’s tabletop game Numenera. Great project, but more importantly a very smart project. Good case study for future game devs launching a crowdfunding campaign.

 

project eternity5. Project Eternity

Total Raised: $3,986,929

Category: Video Games

My Take: If you want to know how to keep your contributors in the loop after your raise, the Project Eternity team could write the guide.  Check out their updates page.

Mighty No. 9 on Kickstarter6. Mighty No. 9

Total Raised: $3,845,170

Category: Video Games

My Take: Gaming legend Keiji Inafune was the mastermind behind this project, and his notoriety drew huge funding from the crowd. Goodness knows what this campaign would have raised with more than 31 days. Also, the campaign generated had over 120,000 comments.

Reaper-Miniatures-Bones-Figures7. Reaper Miniatures Bones

Total Raised: $3,429,235

Category: Games

My Take: The high tech stuff gets all the press, but it is kind of refreshing to see an analog game this high on the list.  Makes me wonder what Kickstarter would have done for pogs.

Double Fine Adventure8. Double Fine Adventure

Total Raised: $3,336,371

Category: Video Games

My Take: A DRM-free copy of this game for a $15 pledge and they still raised over $3 million.  Enough said.

form1 3d printer9. FORM 1 3D Printer

Total Raised: $2,945,885

Category: Technology

My Take: 3D printing is hot right now, so it is no surprise that this campaign had success.  The design of the printer itself is very clean and sexy.  Their pitch video was excellent, too.  An MIT pedigree probably didn’t hurt.

wl2S-screen10. Wasteland 2

Total Raised: $2,933,252

Category: Video Games

My Take: I’m not a gamer, but apparently Wasteland creator Brian Fargo put out v1 of this game in the late 80’s.  Now crowdfunding has helped resurrect the title over two decades later.

homestuck adventure game11. Homestuck Adventure Game

Total Raised: $2,485,506

Category: Video Games

My Take: A video game based on a mockery of video games.  Our species is so fantastic sometimes.

oculus rift12. Oculus Rift

Total Raised: $2,437,429

Category: Technology

My Take: A virtual reality headset for video games?  What isn’t cool about that?  Games just keep getting more realistic, and this seems to be the obvious next step in that process. Oh, and Grandma loves it.

elite: dangerous space13. Elite: Dangerous

Total Raised: $2,411,193

Category: Video Games

My Take: Video game for PC and Mac and the highest-grossing Kickstarter campaign of all time funded in British pounds. Funded at £1.5 million, just over the goal of £1.25 million. It’s a video game set in space. What can be bad?

3Doodler14. 3Doodler: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen

Total Raised: $2,344,134

Category: Product Design

My Take: This was a fun one that also received a lot of press. A pen that you can 3D print with, the genius here was that the product designers put the product in the hands of Etsy artists before the campaign and asked them to make things with it. They received pictures of everything from jewelry to sculptures and even a man sitting in a chair!

hex-shards-of-fate15. HEX MMO Trading Card Game

Total Raised: $2,278,255

Category: Games

My Take: Over 17,000 backers pledged cash for this MMO trading card game from the same guys that created the World of Warcraft trading card game. It was a blend of online gameplay and tabletop gameplay that was primed for the Kickstarter experience.

zombicide_box16. Zombicide: Season 2

Total Raised: $2,255,018

Category: Games

My Take: A board game based on the zombie apocalypse. Of note here: 30,000 comments from a scant 8,000 backers. Talk about engagement!

camelot-unchained17. Camelot Unchained

Total Raised: $2,232,933

Category: Video Games

My Take: Another MMO RPG makes the list. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a crowdfunding campaign with a greater volume of sheer information than Camelot Unchained. There are even speadsheet-like charts to make sense of the stretch goals. The campaign itself feels like a game!

planetary annihilation18. Planetary Annihilation

Total Raised : $2,229,344

Category: Video Games

My Take: Now, I said I wasn’t much of a gamer… but I do love my real-time sims.  I was a big Starcraft geek back in the day.  This might be one I have to pick up one day if and when it wouldn’t likely cost me my business.  It is impressive from a visual standpoint, too.

star-citizen-logo19. Star Citizen

Total Raised: $2,134,374

Category: Video Games

My Take: Visually stunning game.  Star Citizen made a lot of waves this year in the media, and it seems to have paid off with their monster raise.

 

Kingdom Death Miniatures20. Kingdom Death: Monster

Total Raised: $2,049,721

Category: Games

My Take: This board game sports some of the craziest game pieces I have ever seen. Expected delivery in November of 2013, so backers had no problems waiting for a game of this caliber. The project creators have rewarded them with frequent updates.

shroud of the avatar21. Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

Total Raised: $1,919,275

Category: Video Games

My Take: This campaign was the result of a very well-known game designer bringing his passion to the crowd and the crowd responded in a big way. Richard Garriott is one of the godfathers of RPGs, so this one is sure to be a hit. Again, long delivery horizon… October of 2014!

dwarven forge22. Dwarven Forge’s Game Tiles: Revolutionary Miniature Terrain

Total Raised: $1,908,155

Category: Games

My Take: Another tabletop game project on the list. These tiles can be used to play games like Dungeons and Dragons and aid the player in creating a realistic landscape for gameplay. Lesson for me: things I barely understand can still get $1.9 million on Kickstarter.

shadowrun_banner_21655.nphd23. Shadowrun Returns

Total Raised: $1,836,447

Category: Video Games

My Take: A turn-based RPG.  Think Lord of the Rings meets Bladerunner.  The ability to play on tablets is a cool feature, and one that you’ll probably see more of in the future as iPads continue to take over the world.

warmachine tactics24. WARMACHINE: TACTICS

Total Raised: $1,578,950

Category: Games

My Take: Another game that blends the computer gaming experience with a well-known tabletop title. This one doesn’t ship until August of 2014, so backers have a long haul before they get to see the fruits of their pledges.

Dreamfall Chapters25. Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey

Total Raised: $1,538,425

Category: Video Games

My Take: This funded a series installment for a video game series with a game to be released soon on Mac and PC. The game has a crazy storyline and boasts over 20,000 backers.

ARKYD Space Telescope Location26. ARKYD: A Space Telescope For Everyone

Total Raised: $1,505,366

Category: Photography

My Take: Kickstarter in space! The ARKYD was one of the most exciting projects of the year, and it is also the only photography-related project to break even a five-figure raise on Kickstarter. This one happened to amass six figures. It captured the imagination of over 17,000 backers.

ElevationDockPlus27. Elevation Dock

Total Raised : $1,464,706

Category: Product Design

My Take: Sporting a nice Apple-esque design, this was the biggest raise ever for an iPhone accessory on Kickstarter.  Unfortunately it was rendered moot for future versions of the iPhone thanks to the new lightning connector.

robotech28. Robotech RPG Tactics

Total Raised: $1,442,312

Category: Games

My Take: 3,000 backers pitched in $140 to secure a pledge level that included the game and a handful of Kickstarter-exclusive goodies. Tabletop games are really enjoying a bit of a renaissance thanks to funding from sites like Kickstarter.

buccaneer 3d printer29. The Buccaneer: The 3D Printer Everyone Can Use

Total Raised: $1,438,765

Category: Hardware

My Take: 3D printers would be included in the list of items that are the lifeblood of Kickstarter. The team behind the Buccaneer executed a brilliant PR strategy to garner $1.4 million worth of interest. Delivery of the first batch of devices is expected by the end of the year.

spike lee30. The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint

Total Raised: $1,418,910

Category: Film & Video

My Take: This campaign sparked the huge uproar that seems to come with all celebrity-created Kickstarter campaigns, but Spike Lee was still able to raise the million dollars he needed to make his new flick. In the process, Lee may have become the most adamant defender of the Kickstarter model.

cthulu wars31. Cthulu Wars

Total Raised: $1,403,981

Category: Games

My Take: A rich set of gameplay videos probably helped push this game over the top, along with one of the most complete campaign pages I can remember seeing on Kickstarter. Whoever organized this campaign did a particularly nice job of giving backers plenty to explore and get excited about.

lomography32. The Lomography Petzval Portrait Lens

Total Raised: $1,396,149

Category: Product Design

My Take: This is one of those products that really, truly probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for crowdfunding. The throwback lens for modern cameras allows photographers to take pictures straight out of the 19th century using modern hardware. It hit Kickstarter with rave reviews and found over a million dollars of interest.

lifx33. LIFX

Total Raised: $1,314,542

Category: Technology

My Take: An LED lightbulb you can control from your phone.  You can even change the color on the fly.  One case where the future is rapidly becoming the present.  LED lightbulbs are a no-brainer.

order-of-the-stick34. The Order of the Stick Reprint Drive

Total Raised: $1,254,120

Category: Comics

My Take: This campaign had 64 pledge options for contributions of up to $5,000. 64 PLEDGE OPTIONS. All 64 received at least one backer. That. Is. Insane. This campaign broke the crowdfunding rules and won anyway.

Lima Sets up in Seconds35. Lima: The Brain Of Your Devices

Total Raised: $1,229,074

Category: Technology

My Take: The Lima only recently closed funding, but it is one of many smart home devices that are starting to become more prominent on sites like Kickstarter as this exciting technology makes its way down market and becomes more affordable for the average consumer.

double fine massive chalice36. Double Fine’s MASSIVE CHALICE

Total Raised: $1,229,015

Category: Video Games

My Take: Double Fine may look familiar. This is the only outfit that appears on this list twice, so they’ve obviously cracked the code when it comes to drumming up interest on the world’s largest perks-based crowdfunding site.

deadzone37. Deadzone: The Sci-fi Miniatures Board Game

Total Raised: $1,216,482

Category: Tabletop Games

My Take: Looking at this campaign, the first thing you tend to notice is the richness of the game’s setting. The level of detail in the board and the game pieces is pretty amazing. It’s almost like building a little movie set on your table. I also don’t believe I’ve ever seen this many stretch goals in a campaign. Many were freebies for backers, which is a great strategy to adopt.

smartthings38. SmartThings

Total Raised: $1,209,423

Category: Technology

My Take: WiFi-enabled home devices are becoming more prevalent, so no wonder a universal device for just such a thing made the list.  There are probably more products like this coming.

Love Amanda Effing Palmer from Kickstarter39. Amanda Palmer’s Record, Art Book & Tour

Total Raised: $1,192,793

Category: Music

My Take: Another project that got a lot of press.  Amanda is well known as member of the Dresden Dolls, so her fans were eager to back her Kickstarter campaign.  This project minted Amanda Palmer as a crowdfunding expert and speaker, and she has since spoken at various events on the subject including TED.

omni40. Omni: Move Naturally In Your Favorite Game

Total Raised: $1,109,351

Category: Hardware

My Take: The Omni is like something out of a sci-fi movie. It allows you to run through games vs plugging away at a joystick, and this is another campaign that really captured the imagination of gamers worldwide. Combine this with the Oculus Rift and you’re truly living a bit of the future. Omnis are set to start shipping next year, so we’ll see what the reaction is soon.

RigidBot41. RigidBot 3D Printer

Total Raised: $1,092,098

Category: Product Design

My Take: Is there a hotter space than 3D printing right now? A $299 consumer-grade 3D printer is certainly the right product at the right price point at the right time, and the crowd agreed to the tune of almost $1.1 million.

pathfinder-online42. Pathfinder Online: A Fantasy Sandbox MMO

Total Raised: $1,091,194

Category: Video Games

My Take: This was the follow-up to a previous crowdfunding campaign to fund the tech behind the game. It seems many of those backers probably came back to fund the resulting game. Gameplay is very open-ended and characters develop based on how the player plays the game throughout.

flint-and-tinder43: The 10-Year Hoodie: Built For Life, Backed For A Decade!

Total Raised: $1,053,830

Category: Clothing

My Take: Flint and Tinder created this product and they’re honestly one of my favorite serial crowdfunding companies. This solves a huge problem with most hoodies in that they’re expensive but not built to last. Oh, they make their clothes in the USA, too. Have to love that.

cst-01-worlds-thinnest-watch44. CST-01: The World’s Thinnest Watch

Total Raised: $1,026,292

Category: Product Design

My Take: Definitely a unique design, and the campaign received a ton of press. The deconstructed pictures of the watch itself on the campaign page are kind of mind-blowing. It must have been a real challenge to design, and the team does say they spent a year in prototyping!

project-phoenix45. Project Phoenix, Japan’s Indie RPG Featuring AAA Talent

Total Raised: $1,014,600

Category: Video Games

My Take: This is one example of a recent push that is seeing some big names in the RPG gaming world taking to Kickstarter for new projects. The campaign for Mighty No. 9 will join this list as soon as it closes.

agent smartwatch46. AGENT: The World’s Smartest Watch

Total Raised: $1,012,742

Category: Product Design

My Take: The evolution of the smartwatch is taking place on crowdfunding sites, and the campaign for the Agent was no exception to this rule. Wireless charging, increased battery life and a larger screen were all features this watch boasted upon launch.

armikrog47. Armikrog

Total Raised: $974,578

Category: Video Games

My Take: Armikrog was a claymation video game from the creator of Earthworm Jim. It hit stretch goals that are promised to see the game through to Wii U, too. The campaign page actually provides a really cool, first-hand look at what it takes to make a game like Armikrog.

sedition wars48. Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster

Total Raised: $951,254

Category: Tabletop Games

My Take: One backer tossed $5,000 into this campaign and all but one of the seats at pledge levels above $1,500 were spoken for when the campaign closed. If there was any doubt that Kickstarter backers love tabletop games, drop that doubt now.

divinity original sin49. Divinity: Original Sin

Total Raised: $944,282

Category: Video Games

My Take: This game got rave reviews in popular publications like RockPaperShotgun and RPGWatch. The early builds of the game were said to be stunning, and that may have pushed backers into the campaign early and often. Good press is hard to find, but it is essential for a successful campaign, especially when you get to this funding level.

lunatik_side_hero50. TikTok + LunaTik Multi-Touch Watch Kits

Total Raised: $942,578

Category: Product Design

My Take: Why build an entire smartwatch when you can just build a nice case and strap to turn any off-the-shelf iPod Nano into a smartwatch? That was the aim behind this campaign, which offered two different designs depending on how committed the backer was to turning their Nano into a watch. The backers have spoken, and they were more interested in the LunaTik, which was a more permanent anodized aluminum conversion kit.


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