Kickstarter claims that only 9% of Kickstarter projects fail to deliver if successfully backed. But curiously they don’t back up that claim with hard data to which they should have access, but rather cite an opinion survey. Other sources claim much higher failure rates. And if you follow games media, stories about Kickstarter failures like this one aren’t all that uncommon. Furthermore as long as the developers deliver *anything*, that isn’t counted as a failure. That doesn’t mean that every delivered product lives up to the hype.
I think that only a very small part of Kickstarter failures are actual scams. I always apply Hanlon’s razor and easily explain failures with incompetence without having to imply malice. Some people are simply good at having bright ideas and marketing those ideas in an enthusiastic way, but are just plain bad at project management. Which both explains many of the total failures as well as the 75% to 84% late delivery rate of Kickstarter.
Of course I don’t back Kickstarter projects that are predictable failures, like people promising a large MMORPG for under $1 million. In general I would also advise to stay away from all Kickstarter projects for computer games: If the project is an actual success, you will be able to buy it later. So I rather back projects like The 7th Continent, which is so niche that it isn’t obvious that one can get the product outside of a Kickstarter campaign. If you want a copy of that board game, you’d actually have to back the Kickstarter for the second print run, it won’t be available in your neighborhood games store. I also sometimes back Kickstarter projects that are basically donations for a good cause, like rebuilding EN World.
In short, as long as you are aware of likelihood of failure, and the near certainty of late delivery, backing a Kickstarter project can be a good idea. Just don’t fall for the hype and get overly enthusiastic. Or you might still be waiting for Star Citizen 3 years later.