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Former Double Fine COO launches new funding platform

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Fig

Fig is built from its very foundations to offer maximum value to developers, pledgers and investors, rather than relying on an architecture built to serve cat cafes, smart watches and YouTube channels equally. When Bailey sat down with GamesIndustry.biz last week in San Francisco he proved his point by opening up Kickstarter and navigating his way to the games section. Right away he shows me that video games are actually just a sub-section of the games category, which also includes card games and puzzles. In that sub-section there are currently 202 live games, the majority of which won't come anywhere close to their funding goal.

Bailey and his team don't think that's good enough, and wanted to offer a solution that could combine the benefits of gamer pledges, investor interest and expert curation. There are nice touches like a timeline that show which development stage the game is at, an easy way to pick and choose pledge rewards that's simple for developers and pledgers and, promises Bailey, because the site will be focused on games developers can customise their campaign page more easily.

Right now only accredited investors can use the investment route (gamer pledges will work just like any other crowdfunding platform) but the plan eventually is for anyone to be able to offer anyone the chance to invest in the future. Bailey's vision is for gamers to "have the opportunity to participate in the financial success of the games they help make possible.”
Fig is backed by Spark Capital and Tim Schafer, Feargus Urquhart and Brian Fargo make up the platform's impressively experienced advisory board. Fig also plans to help support developers through the life cycle of the product, not just until the funding campaign ends.

Much more at the first link.

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Former COO?? JUSSTIIIIIIIIIIN 3

Fig is backed by Spark Capital and Tim Schafer, Feargus Urquhart and Brian Fargo make up the platform's impressively experienced advisory board. Fig also plans to help support developers through the life cycle of the product, not just until the funding campaign ends.

This sounds awesome, though, and sounds like he and DF/Tim are still in a business relationship of a Figgy sort, so that's neato. And Brian Fargo is on the board as well??? That's so rad!!!

I think creating a crowdfunding platform that specifically serves games is a really good idea. Something like this would have been really helpful a long time ago to help common backers better understand how the game development process works and make things more clear/transparent/less surprising... avoid the typical misunderstandings... etc.

It'll be interesting to see how this evolves.

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It'll definitely be more interesting after October when the law is relaxed to allow anyone to become an investor, but I think they've got a solid base and that launch campaign looks sorta rad.

Also, in the Q and A session Justin said they plan to launch a big and a small game campaign every month, more or less. I'd be very surprised if one of those didn't turn out to be one of DF's unannounced projects, soon.

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So for those of you who are paying attention to this and find it interesting:

--Have you actually poked around the fig website and checked out its design and the information it provides?

--Based on your experience with past crowdfunding/kickstarter projects and your knowledge of what went right/wrong with other such projects, do you think that the design/layout/information on fig tells you everything you'd want to know?

--Can you think of anything else they should add or change that would make it more informative to you as a backer?

I'm sure there will be little changes here and there (and reportedly there already have been some within the first day or two), so I'm very curious how it will shape up, and very curious how well other people think it is addressing the problems of kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms.

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I have poked around the website, and information so far seems rather sparse. I'm mostly interested because they have good people on the board, and this might be an excellent way for Double Fine and Inxile to have projects funded and find other projects that they can fund themselves.

I have only good experiences with Kickstarter, except that their new layout is confusing.

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I like the idea, and curious to see how it works in practice.

Smiles

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Well I'm sure you all have read the article and heard it described as Kickstarter specifically for game development, and to that end there are some features that stand out from the backer point of view right away:

--Immediate knowledge that funding may come from backers AND investors (though I personally would like to see a more prominent/graphic display of the backer/investor dollar ratio)

--Which development stage the game is currently in, and a small description of what that means (are these standard descriptions or are these descriptions customized by the dev team?)

--Media for the game is given its own tab

--Background information on the developer in a prominent place

--Platforms to be supported are displayed (although perhaps a bit too tiny/inconspicuously??)

--Breakdown of language support

But is there anything else as a backer that should be included there on the project page that you would be useful for backers to know or be able to regularly check?

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Very interesting.

I just so happened to have a game with a deadline of October 1st for having a trailer, screenshots, steam greenlight and kickstarter campaign all set up.

Maybe I can get on this instead while it's new and fresh and eyes are on it.

There will only be two campaigns per month and they're vetted : O That's stiff competition

https://help.fig.co/hc/en-us/articles/206542498-How-are-games-selected-for-Fig-s-platform-

I think I'll just go to kickstarter because I'm not lucrative enough.

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I wonder why their website is in Colombia. Are they getting funding from the drug cartels? ;-)

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I wonder why their website is in Colombia. Are they getting funding from the drug cartels? ;-)

.co has become increasingly popular among tech startups, including AngelList (angel.co), 500 Startups (500.co), Vine (vine.co), Jelly (jelly.co), Brit + co (brit.co) among others. The .co domain is also used by many established brands for social and mobile media, such as Twitter (t.co), Google Inc. (g.co), Amazon.com (a.co), American Express (amex.co) and Starbucks (sbux.co).

(source)

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So they have it there in order to become increasingly popular? Well, let's hope it works then. :-)

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So they have it there in order to become increasingly popular? Well, let's hope it works then. :-)

No, that's just pointing out that it IS popular among tech companies and tech startups. You seemed to think it was strange or unusual, hence the joke about drug cartels. That link just points out that it's not unusual and lots of internet businesses/startups are using .co domains.

I don't know the specifics of why it's so popular. I'm guessing it's partly because .co is so similar to .com but it also sounds like registering for a .co domain comes with perks and goodies that a .com domain doesn't. Maybe there is a price difference, too.

Here is one place where you can register for a .co domain name. Definitely not a drug cartel. =P

http://www.go.co/

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So for those of you who are paying attention to this and find it interesting:

--Have you actually poked around the fig website and checked out its design and the information it provides?

--Based on your experience with past crowdfunding/kickstarter projects and your knowledge of what went right/wrong with other such projects, do you think that the design/layout/information on fig tells you everything you'd want to know?

--Can you think of anything else they should add or change that would make it more informative to you as a backer?

I'm sure there will be little changes here and there (and reportedly there already have been some within the first day or two), so I'm very curious how it will shape up, and very curious how well other people think it is addressing the problems of kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms.

Kickstarter does a great job of pulling you into a fun environment where cool projects are happening all the time -- I'm not getting that vibe from Fig at the moment. Maybe it's because I know there's an Investor side, but it seems quite cold and corporate. Hmm. Maybe it's because the one project available at the moment doesn't grab me?

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So for those of you who are paying attention to this and find it interesting:

--Have you actually poked around the fig website and checked out its design and the information it provides?

--Based on your experience with past crowdfunding/kickstarter projects and your knowledge of what went right/wrong with other such projects, do you think that the design/layout/information on fig tells you everything you'd want to know?

--Can you think of anything else they should add or change that would make it more informative to you as a backer?

I'm sure there will be little changes here and there (and reportedly there already have been some within the first day or two), so I'm very curious how it will shape up, and very curious how well other people think it is addressing the problems of kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms.

Kickstarter does a great job of pulling you into a fun environment where cool projects are happening all the time -- I'm not getting that vibe from Fig at the moment. Maybe it's because I know there's an Investor side, but it seems quite cold and corporate. Hmm. Maybe it's because the one project available at the moment doesn't grab me?

I'm getting this from it, too. At first I thought running only one or two projects at a time was a great idea, since that way they don't run into the Steam problem where there are so many projects coming out of the firehouse so fast that you can't keep up with them all and so all the games suffer in terms of exposure. But I'm starting to think limiting it to just one or two games might be bad for the platform, too. I'm interested in Fig, but I don't know how interested I am in the current game. But if there were some other project on Fig I could back, I could potentially be giving them money right now. I still think sticking to a low number of games to maximize exposure is a good idea, but I think as long as they keep it under 10, they are still doing pretty good. They say the greatest number of items people can immediately recognize without counting (i.e. subitizing) is 3 or 4 (possibly as high as 5 or 6 for some people), so maybe they should stick to around that range.

I do see what you mean, though. Although I like the idea of them making investment part of the deal, the site does give off a kinda "this is a site for business-minded people" vibe and doesn't feel quite as laid back and cozy as kickstarter. Fig is coming off a little like the white house correspondents dinner: technically a party, but a little bit stuffy. Maybe they should create like a special investing tab to put all of the investment info in so that it doesn't kill the vibes for just regular folks.

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My main concern is that they're not actually generating enough interest with this new platform in order to have a successful launch.

They've been hovering between 75-80k for several days now, and they need to make up $125k in the next 17 days to hit the target (I am making the assumption that they don't add the investment money to the total at the end or something, which would be weird)

I assume they thought they were launching strong with Outer Wilds (and I agree - it's an award winning concept already with a lot of progress to show in development with a setting that's currently in vogue) but it just hasn't seemed to have resonated in the way one might hope.

The question is, what happens if the first project on the new platform fails? That would be very difficult for the launch. It feels like they would have to follow it up with something certain to succeed.

Now, it could be that they're looking to launch Psychonauts 2 on this platform at some point, but I doubt they're ready to yet, and it would have to be an incredible campaign with both great crowd numbers and a high level of investment to hit the numbers they need.

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My concern is that I havn't heard more than a single mention of this service from any other source than these forums.

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My concern is that I havn't heard more than a single mention of this service from any other source than these forums.

That doesn't surprise me as there hasn't really been all that much to announce except for the initial announcement, but it'll be tricky to keep momentum unless they have something big to pull out.

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OTOH, much more impressive was the investment interest, which amounted to 500k in offers (they were only taking 50k). It's just a shame that this doesn't seem linked to the success of the project as a whole.

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Then again, it seems to have jumped up to 100k today, and they've released a playable alpha that should help!

I think in some ways the timing must have been tricky. They would have had projects ready to go, which sorta dictates their launch schedule, but it obviously would have been preferable to launch with the non-accredited investor laws already worked out. Still, looks hopeful!

Ohhh, I see, they increased the equity share to 70k

THAT is interesting. It means they can limit the amount of investment as desired, but then top up the investment levels if the project needs a boost.

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