Fig (company)

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Fig
Fig logo full word-400.png
Type of site
Crowdfunding
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Founder(s) Justin Bailey
Bob Ippolito
Key people
Website fig.co
Launched August 18, 2015

Fig is a crowdfunding platform for video games launched in August 2015. Unlike traditional crowdfunding approaches like Kickstarter, where individuals can back a project to receive rewards, Fig uses a mixed model that include individual backing and the opportunity for uncredited investors to invest as to obtain a shares of future revenues for successful projects. At the end of 2017, four projects had begun generating returns, returning 245% to Fig investors.[1][2]

History[edit]

Fig was founded in August 2015 by Justin Bailey (formerly, COO of Double Fine Productions),[3] and Bob Ippolito. The advisory board is composed of executives from across the video game industry with previous experience in crowdfunding and investing in video game projects: Aaron Isaksen of the Indie Fund, Brian Fargo of inXile Entertainment, Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian Entertainment, and Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions. The platform is backed by funding from Spark Capital. Alex Rigopulos, from Harmonix, and Cliff Bleszinski, formerly of Epic Games and currently of Boss Key Productions, and Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Software have since joined the advisory board of Fig.[4][5][6]

The company was initially backed by seed funding from Spark Capital.[7] In January 2017, it obtained another $7.84 million in funding from Spark and Greycroft Partners, among other smaller investors.[8]

The name "Fig" derives from Hotel Figueroa, located along Figueroa Street a short distance from the Los Angeles Convention Center where the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is traditionally held; Hotel Figueroa became a common social hub during these E3 events.[7]

Approach[edit]

Fig is offered as an alternative means for funding video game development from traditional crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. The goal of Fig is to allow not only the traditional backing of a video game as with normal crowdfunding, but to also enable those that can invest in a game's development to receive a portion of the game's profits once it is released, in addition to other typical rewards that crowdfunded projects allow.[7] During their initial growth period, Fig limited investors in such projects to those that have accredited assets of over $1 million, with plans that once off the ground, anyone will be able to contribute and invest in their offered projects.[7]

Due to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act which changed how the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) treated crowdfunding, Fig will allow anyone to invest at a minimum of $1,000 into future campaigns starting in December 2015.[9] However, there were initially some issues with gaining SEC approval to collect funds from unaccredited investors, holding up the funding for some of the campaigns after this point such as Psychonauts 2, and Fig has been supplying the requested funds to developers through internal support and investment.[10][11] In September 2016, the SEC approved Fig's plan allowing unaccredited investors to purchase Fig Game Shares once campaigns have succeeded.[12] While future campaigns will also require their SEC review for unaccredited investors, work for establishing the mechanism for the Psychonauts 2 campaign by Fig and its legal firm should streamline these subsequent reviews. Fig had adapted a plan to account for unaccredited investors that may opt to not providing the funding during the course of a SEC review; Fig will still provide the full amount of money committed at the time of the campaign to the developers, and will hold any unpaid unaccrediated share for sale that others can subsequently purchase as to otherwise keep the same percentages of equity between accredited and unaccredited shareholders.[13]

The concept for allowing investments of this nature resulted from the advisory board members' previous experience with Kickstarter campaigns, in which those that backed at the largest amounts typically were the least disruptive of the development process as they likely had the most trust in the game developer to complete the title as offered, according to Bailey.[7] They also took inspiration from the success of Oculus VR, the company formed to develop their Oculus Rift virtual reality hardware through a $2.5 million Kickstarter campaign and eventually was sold to Facebook for $2 billion. Bailey believes that the most invested fans of such projects should be able to have a portion of those profits for a highly successful title.[14]

Because Fig uses both traditional backing as well as investment support, potential investors will be able to judge on a project's viability based on how many backers the project has accrued, which can help derisk their investment.[14] According to Schafer, he hopes that this will create a reputation for games that would fall somewhere between AAA titles and indie games, allowing for smaller teams to develop games with larger budgets (on the order of millions of dollars) that normally require large publication deals.[7] Schafer also felt that with average crowd-funding projects typically seeking funds via Kickstarter, there is a growing fatigue in the area, where only certain niche projects, such as "Exploding Kittens", gain attention, and considered Fig a means to counter that fatigue for games that did not fit those niches.[3]

Fig's approach is designed to support only one or two campaigns at a time, in contrast to the volume that are offered by Kickstarter or other crowdfunding services. Projects will be curated by Fig for viability and interest before they are supported,[7] and will allow them to customize the website's project page for the game title to enhance its appeal.[14] Fig may expand to have more concurrent projects if the platform proves successful.[14] Fig will not require projects to accept investment support as long they offer typical backing options.[14] As part of their support, Fargo, Urquhart, and Schafer have said that all future games developed by their respective studios will use Fig-based funding.[7]

In February 2017, Fig announced it has established a "Fig Finishing Fund" available to those projects that have been successfully backed on Fig as to help complete any late-stage development hurdles or final publishing and marketing pushes. Should projects qualify, they will be able to obtain at $20,000 from the Finishing Fund. In 2017, Fig set aside $500,000 of its own funds available for the Finishing Fund pool.[15]

Games funded[edit]

Title Developer Period Funding Sought Completed Funding (Completed Investment) Number of Backers Status Description
Outer Wilds Mobius Digital Aug. 18, 2015 - Sep. 17, 2015 $125,000 $126,480 ($75,000) 968 Success The first game to be funded on Fig. Developed by Masi Oka's studio Mobius Digital.[7] The campaign sought $125,000 of total funding with $50,000 of that being from investors, but within the first few days of its launch, it was oversubscribed. Mobius increased the offering to $75,000, but still had to turn away nearly $800,000 of potential investment.[16] Fig investors sold their interest in the game to Annapurna Interactive before the game was released, earning a 220% return.[1]
Anchors in the Drift 5th Cell Oct. 21, 2015 - Nov. 20, 2015 $500,000 $107,233 ($101,000) 133 Failure 5th Cell had committed to using Fig for their next project, Anchors in the Drift, a free-to-play role-playing game; 5th Cell was seeking $500,000 in investment and funding to finish off the game.[17][18] The funding drive failed to meet its goal, only obtaining just above $100,000 of funding. Bailey stated that while they had anticipated a larger response based on the success of the Outer Wilds campaign, the failure demonstrates the nature of the crowdfunding where developers have a better gauge of player interest based on the success or failures of such campaigns.[19]
Psychonauts 2 Double Fine Productions Dec. 3, 2015 - Jan. 12, 2016 $3,300,000 $3,829,024 ($1,870,000) 24,109 Success In December 2015, Schafer announced Psychonauts 2, the sequel to Double Fine's Psychonauts, would be the next game to be funded through Fig, with a goal of $3.3 million of funding and investment.[20] The campaign successfully completed with over $3.8 million raised from over 24,000 backers, with nearly half coming from investment-type funding as opposed to traditional reward-based backers.[21]
Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch Interabang Feb. 23, 2016 - Mar. 31, 2016 $400,000 $445,467 ($327,000) 2,600 Success Funding for Interabang's Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch, a Castle Crashers-style brawler game based on the characters created by Kevin Smith, was announced in February 2016. The developers sought $400k in funding for the title.[22] The campaign was successfully funded with over $435,000 from backers.[23]
Rock Band 4 for PC Harmonix Mar. 1, 2016 - Apr. 5, 2016 $1,500,000 $792,817 ($591,000) 1,674 Failure On Alex Rigopolis's joining of Fig's advisory board, he stated that he planned to use Fig to finance a future Harmonix product. Harmonix launched a campaign on Fig in March 2016 to port Rock Band 4 to the personal computer, seeking $1.5 million in funding to complete the port.[24] The campaign only met about 50% of its funding goal, though Harmonix has not ruled out other means to bring Rock Band 4 to the PC.[25]
Consortium: The Tower Interdimensional Games Apr. 7, 2016 - May 11, 2016 $300,000 $348,538 ($249,000) 3,046 Success Interdimensional Games used Fig to fund a sequel to Consortium, entitled Consortium: The Tower. Interdimensional Games had first tried to fund the project through Kickstarter in early 2016, but only raised about CAD $182,000 of the $450,000 they targeted. The developers saw that the Kickstarter would likely fail early on, and starting planning on using Fig as a backup plan. The Fig campaign launched in April 2016, seeking to raise USD$300,000 (about the same as the Kickstarter), and has surpassed this amount.[26]
Make Sail Popcannibal Sep. 29, 2016 - Nov. 2, 2016 $50,000 $58,990 ($32,000) 911 Success Make Sail is a survival game set aboard a primarily ocean world, allowing the player to craft and improve a sea-worthy vessel to explore the world. The game is being developed by Popcannibal, who previously created Girls Like Robots and Elegy for a Dead World. The Fig campaign seeks $50,000 in funding.[27]
Wasteland 3 inXile Entertainment Oct. 5, 2016 - Nov. 3, 2016 $2,750,000 $3,121,716 ($2,250,000) 17,707 Success inXile Entertainment will use Fig to launch crowdfunding for Wasteland 3, the sequel to its 2014 Wasteland 2. The campaign, to start in October 2016, seeks $2.75 million in funding and investment, an amount comparable to what Wasteland 2 had obtained through Kickstarter.[28]
Trackless Aubrey Serr Oct. 11, 2016 - Nov. 17, 2016 $20,000 $21,790 ($12,000) 465 Success Released on September 12, 2017. Generated a 12% return as of December 31, 2017.[2]
Jazon and the Dead 2nd Studio Oct. 31, 2016 - Dec. 1, 2016 $65,000 $30,250 ($18,000) 319 Failure
Kingdoms and Castles Lion Shield Dec. 3, 2016 - Jan. 5, 2017 $15,000 $108,767 ($83,000) 1,382 Success First game to generate a positive return for Fig investors.[29] Generated a 300% return.[2]
Little Bug Buddy System Jan. 4, 2017 - Feb. 9, 2017 $35,000 Pending
Solo Team Gotham Jan. 18, 2017 - Feb. 23, 2017 $64,500 Pending
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Obsidian Entertainment Jan. 25, 2017 - Feb. 24, 2017 $1,100,000 $4,705,524 ($2,250,000) 33,614 Success
Solstice Chronicles: MIA Ironward March 23, 2017 £30,000 $30,900 ($16,000) 512 Success Released July 26, 2017. Generated a 104% return as of December 31, 2017.[2]
Phoenix Point Snapshot Games Apr. 25, 2017 - June. 8, 2017 $500,000 $765,948 (TBD) 10,314 Success Phoenix Point is a single-player, strategy, turn-based tactics, "sci-fi horror" video game being developed by Snapshot Games, an independent video game developer in Sofia, Bulgaria.[30][31] The creative lead for the game, Julian Gollop, is known as the "man who gave birth to the X-COM franchise."[32] Phoenix Point is described as a spiritual successor to X-COM.[32][33][34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Charlie Hall (March 19, 2018). "Fig investors see 245 percent returns, including a profitable buy-out (update)". Polygon. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bobby Hopper (March 16, 2018). "Fig Investment Returns Announced!". Fig Blog. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b Sinclair, Brendan (December 14, 2015). "A peek under Tim Schafer's Fig leaf". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved December 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ Hall, Charlie (September 3, 2015). "Harmonix partners with crowdfunding site Fig, takes seat on advisory board". Polygon. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ Grubb, Jeff (May 10, 2016). "Star developer Cliff Bleszinski invests in crowdfunding game site Fig". VentureBeat. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  6. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (March 8, 2018). "Randy Pitchford joins Fig advisory board". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved March 8, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hall, Charlie (August 18, 2015). "What if Kickstarter let you profit from a game's success? Fig found a way, launches today". Polygon. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ Takahashi, Dean (January 19, 2017). "Fig raises $7.8 million to expand game crowdfunding platform". Venture Beat. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  9. ^ Kerr, Chris (November 24, 2015). "Fig will allow fans to invest in games and share profits". Gamasutra. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ Hall, Charlie (May 11, 2016). "Fig still can't collect from some investors, four months after Psychonauts 2's campaign". Polygon. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ Hall, Charlie (July 1, 2016). "Fig still unable to collect millions in offered investment, including money for Psychonauts 2". Polygon. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  12. ^ Francis, Bryant (September 29, 2016). "With SEC approval, anyone can now invest in Psychonauts 2's Fig campaign". Gamasutra. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ Hall, Charlie (October 6, 2016). "Psychonauts 2 will get all the money its investors pledged". Polygon. Retrieved October 6, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Kohler, Chris (August 18, 2015). "Kickstarter Superstars Launch a Crowdfunding Site for Games". Wired. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ McAloon, Alissa (February 16, 2017). "Fig kicks off $500k funding initiative aimed at late-stage game dev woes". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  16. ^ Hall, Charlie (October 13, 2015). "Fig turned away $925,000 of investment on its first crowdfunding campaign". Polygon. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  17. ^ Hall, Charlie (October 8, 2015). "Scribblenauts team launching crowdfunding, investment campaign through Fig". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ Kerr, Chris (October 21, 2015). "Scribblenauts developer turns to Fig to fund new free-to-play RPG". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 21, 2015. 
  19. ^ Hall, Charlie (November 20, 2015). "Fig's second crowdfunding campaign has failed". Polygon. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  20. ^ MacDonald, Keza (December 3, 2015). "How Psychonauts 2 Came to Be". Kotaku. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  21. ^ Paget, Mat (January 12, 2016). "Psychonauts 2 Successful Funding Campaign Has Ended". GameSpot. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  22. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (February 23, 2016). "Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch launches Fig campaign". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 23, 2016. 
  23. ^ Perez, Daniel (March 31, 2016). "Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch successfully funded". Shacknews. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  24. ^ Webster, Andrew (March 1, 2016). "Harmonix is crowdfunding a PC version of Rock Band 4". The Verge. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
  25. ^ Sarkar, Samit (April 5, 2016). "Crowdfunding campaign for Rock Band 4 PC version fails, reaching half the goal". Polygon. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  26. ^ Prescott, Shaun (April 7, 2016). "Consortium: The Tower has a new crowdfunding home on Fig". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  27. ^ Matulef, Jeffery (September 29, 2016). "Make Sail looks like a physics-based Wind Waker". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  28. ^ Pereira, Chris (September 28, 2016). "Wasteland 3 Announced, Features Co-op and Vehicles". GameSpot. Retrieved September 28, 2016. 
  29. ^ Charlie Hall (2017-08-10). "Crowdfunding platform Fig finally turned a profit for investors". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 
  30. ^ "Phoenix Point is now crowdfunding: we spoke to Julian Gollop about standing out in a post-XCOM world". rockpapershotgun.com. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  31. ^ "Inspired by X-COM, Snapshot Games is creating Phoenix Point for fall 2018". VentureBeat. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-06-16. 
  32. ^ a b "X-COM spiritual successor Phoenix Point hits $500K crowdfunding goal". polygon.com. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  33. ^ "Phoenix Point has hit its funding target". gamereactor.eu. 2017-05-03. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  34. ^ "Phoenix Point, the Spiritual Successor to X-COM, Can Be Backed on Fig". geekreply.com. 2017-04-29. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 

External links[edit]