Games Invest 2012: Ian Livingstone's 10 games investment tips
What do investors look for in a games company when they want to splash their cash? Ian Livingstone OBE offers developers some essential advice
As well as receiving an OBE, being the Life President at Eidos, the co-founder of Games Workshop and author of the Fighting Fantasy books (including a new forthcoming title - Blood of the Zombies), Ian Livingstone is also Chair of the Access To Finance Group on the Creative Industries Council and an active investor-in-games.
Ian Livingstone will be answering questions on a games investment panel at Games Invest 2012, the premier indie developer investment event taking place at the Eurogamer Expo on September 27 at Earls Court in London - and here, the respected angel investor gives his top ten tips for companies looking for investment for their games projects.
Are you and your company actually ready to talk to investors? Do you have an understanding of their role and their requirements? Can you demonstrate that you merit somebody investing in your company? What is so special about you, your team, your game, your technology, your business and marketing plans, your business skills and your intellectual property? Can you detail how the proceeds will be invested, how you will scale the company to take it to the next level?
You won't get investment without a good team - investors want to know all about the track record of the team behind the company. Have they the necessary experience and skills for the current projects? Have they enjoyed success at other companies before? Do they all share the same vision? Can the investor actually personally get along and work with them?
Having 'skin in the game'
If someone looking for investment has already put their own money into the projects and company it demonstrates to the investor that they have real belief in it as a business. Investors will not take 100 per cent of the risk themselves.
Does the game or technology have some unique selling point? Pitching it as "like Angry Birds but better," isn't going to excite an investor.
Own intellectual property
Does the company own the game brand or technology? Investors know that IP is the real wealth-creator in the games business - just ask Mind Candy.
Understanding of new business models
Investors need to know that you completely understand the business side of the games industry and that you are agile enough to take advantage of new business models. For example, you have to be able to explain why Freemium would deliver the best financial return for your games projects.
Demonstrate tech, especially back-end
If you aren't technically-minded, make sure you bring someone along to the pitching meeting who is and can demonstrate your technology - specifically how it feeds back into the development and service of the game. Which leads onto...
Analytics and metrics
Games development and publishing is now a service industry - if you can't demonstrate how you can easily and instantly see what your players are doing, what they're enjoying/not enjoying, and react to it, investors won't be interested.
Show that you have a plan (and a budget) for letting people know that your games exist - just making it free and expecting people to find it is not the solution.
Customer acquisition, retention and monetisation
Investors want to see detailed information on how you will not only attract customers to your games, but how you plan to keep them playing and get them to happily and willingly spend more.
Games Invest 2012 is an opportunity for small-to-medium-sized games and tech companies to find out more about public and private games investment, and also have an opportunity to network and pitch informally and formally to investors.
If you would like to learn more about games investment, hear talks from prominent investors, ask questions to a panel of games investment experts, enjoy a networking lunch and GamesIndustry.biz evening party and have an opportunity to request formal meetings with games investors, book your ticket now.