A Look at Sekai Project’s Backer Numbers

I’m not a fan of Kickstarter. I regret buying into it when I did and not because I think I’ll get scammed, but because I’m an impatient man when there’s reason to believe people are slacking on my pre-purchased product. Take a risk by developing and delivering your product to the market first, then I’ll (maybe) show you the money. I’m old-fashioned like that.

Chord Diagram d3.js
Click here for an interactive version, with explanation! Courtesy of d3.js.

Sekai Project are on the road of doing great things for the English-speaking visual novel community, but I’m not very thrilled, albeit impressed so far, over their business approach. I’m convinced that Kickstarter can only be used as a temporary strategy for a company. Right now, it’s smart that Sekai Project is still out there marketing themselves, but there will come a time the group’s social capital dies down and competitors join the fray. Degico for example.

I’ll stop ranting here and leave my points up for discussion. Let’s get to the fun stats part!

There are three types of valuable data Kickstarter’s pages broadcast to the world. There’s how many backers have pledged for a particular project. There’s also what kind of tiers people are pledging for. But you can also check out which user backed which particular project. We’ll be focusing on the latter. The fourth dimension provides context.

I wrote a few scripts for this task. The first thing I wanted to know, due to my aforementioned pessimism, was how many Sekai projects have people backed so far. We’re counting only visual novel projects, so no Lunatic Joker. Also, due to the flimsy nature of the NoSQL database paradigm, the data I’ve harvested from Kickstarter project backer pages isn’t completely accurate. A couple of tens of backers per project up or down, give or take. It’s not too bad, but just so you know.

In total, 10167 unique accounts have backed Sekai Project so far.

  • 65.7% of them have backed one project only.
  • 19.6% have backed two.
  • 7.9% have backed three.
  • 3.5% have backed four.
  • 1.7% have backed five.
  • 1.5% have backed six. Congratulations, you are the one percent.

The other, more demanding part of the project was building the chord diagram you see above. Click here to see an interactive one in action!

People who have pledged to only one project are the casual buyers who have seen the campaigns posted somewhere and decided to back them up for whatever arbitrary reason. Heavy backers are probably more intimate with the visual novel scene or visual novels themselves. People who have backed four or more of their projects are either their fanboys or their spouses. 676 fanboys is a nice thing to have. However, I’d wager that the more interesting group to study are people who have backed two or three projects. There are loyal customers among them worth keeping.

Later on I learned I’m going to be having trouble visualizing three-time backers, so I decided not to bother. However, I did some clustering on the group, a data mining approach, which produced two nicely packed clusters. I averaged to see which projects have the most pull and came up with the averages that confirm the following:

  • Two-time backers have backed CLANNAD and Grisaia the most.
  • Three-time backers have backed CLANNAD, Grisaia, and Memory’s Dogma the most.

These were the last three projects, I suppose. Depending on how you interpret this, it could mean Sekai Project is building up a loyal following. The other possible explanation is that the last few releases have set the tone for what types of projects core people are interested in backing, which speaks in favor of high-profile, high-budget titles.

I guess there’s more to extract from this data, but since I’m not being paid to do this and I’m dead tired from studying up d3.js I’ll take a nap. Also, if you happen to be named @dobacco and found my project useful, you can crowdfund my efforts with a Grisaia Steam key.

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