Slightly Mad crowdsourcing new tech platform and games

Need for Speed: Shift dev releasing triple-A engine to work alongside - and reward - the community

Need for Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad Studios is embarking on an ambitious project to create technology and video games via crowdsourcing.

The community assisted and crowdfunded technology will be released to subscribers who can then work alongside the studio itself, develop games from scratch and be financially rewarded once the titles are live.

The first project is racing game C.A.R.S. but Slightly Mad hopes the project - dubbed World of Mass Development - will be used for future first-person shooter, adventure and role-playing games.

The community will also be able to play the game as it's being built, from the first track and cars up until the final build. Slightly Mad will take 30 per cent of profits with the remainder divided up amongst the community based on the amount of shares in a game they own.

Slightly Mad is targeting individuals and fans with shares in the games priced a $5 and $10, $250 options for groups, $1000 for small businesses and large companies and investors can get involved with contributions of $100,000. Longer-term, subscribers can also benefit when PC games are ported to other formats.

Based on a two year development cycle at a cost of $5 million, Slightly Mad estimates that a $10 share will return $35 if the game hits a $25 million profit, or 657,000 traditional retail sales. A $250 share will return $875 and a $100,000 share $350,000.

Slightly Mad is targeting three million sales of C.A.R.S., a 90 per cent Metacritic and a profit of $52 million. The free-to-play game will include microtransactions priced from 10 cents to $10 and the company has already licensed a number of tracks and manufacturers.

The World of Mass Development service will also be offered to other developers, who can use it to pitch ideas to the community, fund and promote their own games.

"Traditional development puts developers at the mercy of publishers," said Slightly Mad. "Although it supplies the necessary funds to develop games with proper QA testing and development cycles, it also makes the development cycle subject to business matters such as financial quarters, company profits and marketing budgets.

"The development process offered by WMD shifts the focus back to creating great games that your target audience wants to play, whilst still offering the chance to get proper funding for development and testing."

Crowdsourcing games is becoming an increasingly viable method of raising cash for development through sites such as London studio Six to Start recently pitched to raise $12,500 for its game Zombies, Run! with the idea proving so popular is has already raised $45,000.

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Latest comments (13)

Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Splash Damage10 years ago
Interesting, although i'm not sure I follow some of the numbers. "657,000 traditional retail sales" will result in "$25 million profit" but "three million sales" will result in "$52 million", how does that work?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tamir Ibrahim on 23rd September 2011 11:51am

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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 10 years ago
This sounds like a public offering. Such a thing is traditionally made through the stock market.

They will get busted by the SEC and other regulators. (The reason being it is extremely easy to defraud people doing unregulated public offerings.)

On the other hand, maybe it's time the regulators let up a bit. The internet makes it easier for the public to validate an investment.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 23rd September 2011 1:06pm

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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief10 years ago
I'm intrigued by how they get round the FSMA regulations which make it a criminal offence to advertise or promote a financial investment unless you are regulated by the appropriate financial regulator.

My understanding is that Kickstarter gets round it by a) only offering cool stuff like inclusion in the game or limited edition T-shirts, not an equity return and b) not operating in the UK.

I'm interested in the experiment, and in understanding how offering a financial return works in practice.
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Show all comments (13)
Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief10 years ago
I also note that you say that Slightly Mad will take 30% of profits, not revenue, unlike Facebook Credits, the AppStore and other platforms.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 10 years ago
Kickstarter gets around it because, technically, when you use it you aren't raising investment - rather you're seeking *donations*.

But these guys are talking returns here. If they're selling returns, they're seeking investment.

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Sebastiao Almeida Programmer, Hoplon Infotainment10 years ago
Great going, we need more initiatives like this one. Publishers are the main factor in the lack of innovation we see in games today.
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Frederic Eichinger Web Developer 10 years ago
Certainly an interesting concept, and it does look like it'd work out well.
The question which does arise, though, is indeed about how they're avoiding regulations, as this concept might make for a whole new standard and thereby get us out of the 'dynamic development teams + large publishers' direction, we're headed.
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Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology10 years ago
Well this is a interesting idea, especially for those in the Student/Modding-Hobbyist development communities. Ideas like this would be great for students to contribute and get there name on finished project to go on there CV. I think a better way to approach it is to offer the ability for people to "Donate" and allow people to get in on the development and contribute to the project be it for a small or no amount to be donated. Like mentioned above there appears to be alot of holes and problems with there investment proposition.
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Robert Morrissey10 years ago
Well, I'm definitely sold, that is if it's legal. Seems very ambitious, but more of a novel idea than almost anything nowadays.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 10 years ago
There is NOTHING new whatsoever in this. This is how the stock market began.

And then the insiders abused it, found they could very easily rip people off (that's partly why the Crash of 1929 occured), and then it became regulated.

The law says if you go out and advertise to the public that you are seeking investment, you are doing a "public offering". That's the stock market. There's no way around that.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 25th September 2011 10:39pm

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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 10 years ago
Maybe the conversation we need to have is whether the public funding regulators should simplify the whole process of making a public offering.

After all, this is the internet age.

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Virl Hill CEO, Jumala10 years ago
Leveraging digital technology to enable broad-based game creation is long overdue! (full disclosure, my company) shares this belief - although we are even more "mad" - we enable ANYONE to create and share games, even if you don't know a lick of programming. More passionate gamers bringing more ideas to life is a great positive for our industry! And the creative process in and of itself is a lot of fun. Just ask any one of the few million Minecraft players....
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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ10 years ago
Sounds like it'd be hard to manage these projects. But it's an interesting idea.

I think that figuring out who is the ultimate producer and designer on these projects could be rather tricky. But maybe it won't matter, on games like Racing Games, in some ways.

But if they're looking to make innovative titles from this, things could be tricky. But may work really well! Will be interested to see what comes of it.

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