The new crowdfunding site Fig, which launched today, is focused on helping indie game developers bring projects to fruition–but it’s offering a lot more to potential investors than just free games and T-shirts. It wants to give you the chance to invest in games directly for royalties.
This is a direct answer to one of the criticism of crowdfunding, which is that a game blowing up on Kickstarter and the like could result in a developer being acquired, while those who helped get the company noticed don’t benefit in any way financially. Although the first few projects on Fig will only allow accredited investors to invest, the company is moving to open up investments to the public later this year.
“We put a structure together. We are working really closely with a law firm and the SEC to figure out how we can open that up to all un-accredited investors as well. And that is not too far off. So that every game that is on Fig, anybody can invest in,” Fig CEO Justin Bailey tells Fast Company.
Bailey came out of Hollywood finance and the game publishing. He saw an opportunity to help others bring their ideas to life. He previously worked as the COO of Double Fine studios during its two hugely successful Kickstarter projects, Broken Age and Massive Chalice (a total of $4.5 million raised).
Double Fine’s CEO Tim Schafer will be part of Fig, serving as one of the advisers who will help indie developers not only bring their game to market, but navigate the difficult waters of a successful crowdfunding campaign. Other advisers include Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian (their Pillars of Eternity raised $3.9 million on Kickstarter) and Brian Fargo of InXile (Torment and Wasteland 2 raised a total of $7.1 million). Future games for these companies will seek funding through Fig.
“Why do we want to have advisers? To make it something that takes advantage of our experience in games and crowdfunding. The group we have has done both for many years. We wanted to take advantage of the specialized knowledge that the other advisers and I have acquired over the years, both what games need and what games need when they are crowdfunding,” said Schafer.
The site has an interface that feels like a mixture of Kickstarter’s crowdfunding projects and game distribution platform Steam‘s design. There are some improved features, such as image and video carousels, an interactive timeline of a project’s schedule, a streamlined interface for buying additional products beyond your reward, and online paperwork to complete the investment in a project. With a focus on video games alone, Fig also aims to make indie developers stand out versus the thousands of other projects on crowdfunding sites.
Schafer says, “The ability for people to be able to invest in these projects is really important to me. That’s a really new thing. The idea that the people that helped you can actually participate, and get something back, is really important to me. It’s the future for Double Fine. It would be ideal to fund everything this way from now on.”
Bailey says, “We have our coalition of studios. We have 10 titles already lined up for the platform. And they are a mixture of really big titles and known franchises, to completely unknown indies and new ideas.”
Fig will only feature one or two live projects per month, curated by the advisers. The first game is Outer Wilds, a sci-fi exploration game made by game designer Alex Beachum and developer Mobius Digital.