During the DICE Summit today in Las Vegas, mobile and social gaming publisher FunPlus announced its new investment fund to "promote exceptional independent developers and artists in the gaming industry." The $50 million fund is mostly focused on mobile gaming but FunPlus chief strategy officer Dan Fiden (pictured) told GamesIndustry.biz that it's certainly not strictly limited to the mobile space.
"Our new initiative is more than just a developer fund. It's an exciting opportunity to invest in the future of indie gaming," said Fiden. "By identifying and supporting great ideas and talent with our resources and expertise, we're making a concrete investment in the people that will define our industry."
One of those people, FunPlus believes, is Asher Vollmer, who you probably know as the creator of the hit game Threes! as well as Puzzlejuice. FunPlus has invested in and entered into a long-term partnership with Sirvo, Vollmer's new independent game studio founded along with Ryan Sullivan and Jamie Antonisse. The undisclosed investment amount will be used to help Sirvo in the development and distribution of its first game, Guildlings.
"We're so honored to be working with FunPlus on this project. They provided a generous investment that will help us turn our crazy ideas into a reality," said Vollmer. "We're in the business of making games that don't follow established conventions, and we admire FunPlus not just for being willing to go on this journey with us, but for being enthusiastic about the risks that we're taking."
So what does it take to get an investment from FunPlus? "We're interested in working with game makers that are investing their time and their creativity in defining genres. We're not interested in working with game makers that are focused on incremental improvements to existing genres or on minimizing their own creative risk or business risk," Fiden told us.
"We feel like the real commercial successes are a result of game makers who are trying to truly innovate. So when we look at teams, for us it really is about finding teams that have proven, through previous projects they've worked on, that's where their focus is."
At the moment there's no set number of projects which will be funded or a breakdown on how much of that $50 million could go into one project, but Fiden said it'll be on a case-by-case basis. For example, if FunPlus does invest outside of mobile, into a PC VR game, "their capital needs are going to be higher," Fiden acknowledged. "For us, the most important element on the investment side is that the team has the capital that they think they need to make the game that they want to make. There is no advantage to us as an investor or partner with a game company to give them less money..."
We'll have more industry insights from our interview with Fiden in the near future - stay tuned.