Fig: A better Way to kickstart Games? [#Blaugust 26]

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s now a new crowdfunding platform exclusively for games and it’s called Fig (yes really). As reported on Wired, Fig’s advisory board includes indie studio heads and kickstarter heavyweights such as Tim Schafer, Brian Fargo and Feargus Urquhart. Besides focusing on games only and a highly curated, much shorter list of available projects at any given time, there’s namely one other big difference between Fig and KS:

‘But the biggest difference is Fig will combine rewards-based crowdfunding with equity investing. Fans can support Outer Wilds to get rewards, but accredited investors can get a share of revenue once the game is released. Fig CEO Justin Bailey, who was the COO at Double Fine, says campaigns eventually will be opened to non-accredited investors, meaning anyone could become an investor in a game and reap the rewards.

“Look at what happened to Oculus,” he says, referring to the pioneering VR company that started as a Kickstarter project. “It was sold to Facebook for 2 billion dollars, and the people who were involved, the superfans who were getting behind Oculus to make that possible, they didn’t see any of that. It would seem like they should, since they had a pivotal role in that coming about.”’ [source]

As someone who only ever kickstarted something twice in her life, supporting friends on both occasions, I don’t know that I have an opinion on this new crowdfunding option for games. What happened with Occulus Rift was definitely a low if not foreseeable act, so from that point of view Fig is a response that should appeal to enthusiast funders with bigger pockets. I’ve come across negative voices in a few places too, sarcastic comments about gamers requiring their own platforms for everything far away from all other media and culture, isolating themselves like the weird bunch they are.

I wasn’t aware how the variety of products on kickstarter meant such an awful lot to some people but maybe I’m missing something. Anyway, do you think Fig is a good addition to videogame crowdfunding or should games remain on generalist sites like kickstarter, together with comic books, combat kitchen ware and towel shorts?

8 comments

  1. Wouldn’t touch this with two bargepoles tied together. I think it’s a terrible idea. It would completely put me off having anything to do with a project prior to its official commercial release.

    I am a customer not an investor. I don’t want anything to do with the financial side of things. The idea that because I want to buy something I should get a share of the profit when it’s sold is almost incomprehensible. Not to mention the tax implications and all the rest of the regulatory and responsibility issues.

    If people want to invest in business projects then good luck to them but I think that should be kept absolutely separate from purchasing products and services. When I “back” a Kickstarter project I see it 100% as a purchase. I read the pledge levels, select one that looks like good value and effectively pre-order that item. I’m aware that in doing so I might be buying something that arrives late, is not what I thought it would be or turns out to be a complete waste of money but I don’t see that as materially different from ordering physical items from Amazon, where all those same problems can arise.

    1. Yeah am not target audience myself but I guess I can see the potential of players getting investor powers over some completely detached financial entity (hello SOE). Not that gamers necessarily make great investors either (especially since the only qualification is a big pocket) but how much worse can it be? Having the primary customer base back their own doesn’t sound completely off base.

  2. Not something that I would personally be interested in, but it seems fair to give all those people who complain about delayed or failed Kickstarter projects and “losing their investment” an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is…

  3. I don’t think it’s a bad idea but I also don’t think it will work on a grand scale.
    Maybe it will be a middle ground between the big players (staying on KS for the exposure and everything) and stuff like itch.io (no funding, just an indie marketplace). Who knows?

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