In 2012 Double Fine became the trailblazer for crowdfunding on Kickstarter, raising $3.3 million for point and click adventure Broken Age and learnt a few things about the new financial frontier along the way. So it seems only fitting that a new platform for game funding, Fig, is being headed up by Justin Bailey, former Double Fine COO.
Fig is built from its very foundations to offer maximum value to developers, pledgers and investors, rather than relying on an architecture built to serve cat cafes, smart watches and YouTube channels equally. When Bailey sat down with GamesIndustry.biz last week in San Francisco he proved his point by opening up Kickstarter and navigating his way to the games section. Right away he shows me that video games are actually just a sub-section of the games category, which also includes card games and puzzles. In that sub-section there are currently 202 live games, the majority of which won't come anywhere close to their funding goal.
Bailey and his team don't think that's good enough, and wanted to offer a solution that could combine the benefits of gamer pledges, investor interest and expert curation. There are nice touches like a timeline that show which development stage the game is at, an easy way to pick and choose pledge rewards that's simple for developers and pledgers and, promises Bailey, because the site will be focused on games developers can customise their campaign page more easily.
"There's a chance now to get investment involved," explains Bailey.
"We've enjoyed this period of getting closer to our community, and the community putting up huge amounts of money. It seems a natural extension that investment would be something that people would expect and I think it's something that will help make this ecosystem more stable."
Right now only accredited investors can use the investment route (gamer pledges will work just like any other crowdfunding platform) but the plan eventually is for anyone to be able to offer anyone the chance to invest in the future. Bailey's vision is for gamers to "have the opportunity to participate in the financial success of the games they help make possible.”
"We're excited about this opportunity because, as indie developers, creative control and IP ownership are critical"
Fig is backed by Spark Capital and Tim Schafer, Feargus Urquhart and Brian Fargo make up the platform's impressively experienced advisory board. Fig also plans to help support developers through the life cycle of the product, not just until the funding campaign ends.
The first game to make it through the advisory board and onto the site is Outer Wilds, an IGF winner with a distinctive look. The title will be developed by Mobius Digital, the studio headed up by Masi Oka. (Yes, that guy from Heroes.) Mobius Digital is asking for $125,000 to finish the game.
"We're excited about this opportunity because, as indie developers, creative control and IP ownership are critical," said Oka.
"Having a crowdfunding platform specifically targeted to games also allows us to reach and focus our marketing to the gaming community."
Urquhart, Fargo, and Schafer have also pledged to use Fig to fund future titles from their studios Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment and Double Fine Productions.
"We're proud to be creating an ecosystem that better supports developers and their fans"
"Feargus, Tim and I have all experienced the many challenges of bringing our games to market and nurturing great talent along the way," added Fargo.
"We're proud to be creating an ecosystem that better supports developers and their fans in the quest to bring their passion projects to life-and we believe Fig will become the best option to get games funded in the future."
Fig is already in conversation with a number of developers about upcoming campaigns but it's also interested to hear new pitches. You can send those to firstname.lastname@example.org.