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Garriott reassures backers after fresh crowdfunding push exposes finances

Portalarium boss says studio tends to operate with $500,000 in the bank despite $11m in donations

Long-running games developer Richard Garriott has assured backers of his crowdfunded MMO Shroud of the Avatar that his company's finances are not as alarming as they might seem.

Garriott's company Portalarium launched a fresh crowdfunding campaign last week through SeedInvest that offered players equity in the project's success in exchange for their monetary support. In the interest of being transparent, the studio shared figures about its financial situation.

Backers have since been pondering the revelation that Portalarium currently has $528,000 in the bank, with monthly expenditure clocked at $230,000. That's despite an initial series A funding round of $7.5m and crowdfunding revenues of $11.3m: $1.9 from the initial Kickstarter, and $9.4m in further donations through the company's website.

Speaking to Kotaku, Garriott claimed the figures released don't show the whole picture of Portalarium's financials and assured backers that there is nothing to be concerned about. In fact, he reports that $500,000 is the amount his company often has in the bank at any given moment.

"We earn about the same amount as we spend every month," Garriott said, "and that has been true for the majority of the existence of this company."

"Our company has about 30 people in it, some full-time, some contractors," he said. "We size our company based on the trend lines we see in our revenue growth. We have a great deal of comfort in saying we could continue to develop the game as a small company with a relatively small player base."

He went on to stress that the move into equity crowdfunding is not to prevent Portalarium from collapsing, but to help it scale up in order to carry out marketing and publishing operations as Shroud of the Avatar approaches full release towards the end of the year.

Garriott even said he hopes to publish Shroud of the Avatar on other platforms, and perhaps begin publishing games by other developers.

He also clarified that the company has other means of generating revenue, including sales of the game and other products, the previously reported $100,000 telethons, and "adjusting the size of our company to match the revenue from contributions".

Shroud of the Avatar is on course for a full release later in the year, with the game's main story mode launching in July. It is currently in Early Access on Steam.

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