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Fig (crowdfunding platform) will now accept investments from regular gamers

ashecitism

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Jun 29, 2013
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http://venturebeat.com/2015/11/24/f...ts-from-fans-for-game-crowdfunding-campaigns/

Enabled by accounting regulation changes with securities laws, the change could open up a whole new set of opportunities for game startups and fans alike. Now fans will have a chance to own a piece of the action. The change will go into effect for a third Fig campaign, coming up shortly.

Fig chief executive Justin Bailey told GamesBeat that Regulation A+ of the JOBS Act changed securities laws to enable ordinary people to fund game development in exchange for publishing rights and owning a share in the company raising the money. So unaccredited individuals (or people who aren’t already super rich) can now invest in a startup and share in the financial rewards if it is successful. That’s the difference between getting a free T-shirt from a crowdfunding campaign and getting a pile of money from a successful investment.

Bailey, the former chief operating officer of Double Fine Productions, started Fig in August as a new crowdfunding site built specifically for games. He partnered with some big names and studios who previously had success on Kickstarter: Tim Schafer (Broken Age), Brian Fargo of InXile (Wasteland 2), and Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian (Pillars of Eternity). Each has pledged to launch campaigns for new games on Fig.

Previously, Fig was allowed to raise investments for startups only from accredited investors. Pre-approved under SEC regulations, accredited investors earn a minimum salary of $200,000 or possess a net worth of at least $1 million, not including their homes.

With this next campaign, more fans can be investors, though they may not invest more than 10 percent of their annual income or net worth. The minimum a fan can invest in the upcoming campaign is $1,000, and the maximum is $10,000. The minimum will change with each campaign.

more at the link
 

BiggNife

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Aug 15, 2007
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Can't help but think that Fig is suffering from the stigma people have against non-kickstarter crowdfunding sites.

Their last project only hit 20% in like a month. That's...pretty bad for a crowdfunding campaign.

https://www.fig.co/campaigns/anchors-in-the-drift

Regular people being able to invest is interesting but I'm not sure it's enough.
 
Apr 10, 2007
934
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Brighton, UK
Don't understand how developers are going to use this though?

Fund your next game by selling shares in the company? What about the next game? Do you reissue and devalue current shareholdings or set up an SPV for each title?

Doesn't seem like a practical business model for games development IMO...
 

Visualante2

Member
Oct 20, 2011
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Surely they'd make each game or IP a vessel. You invest in that alone. Nobody wants to sell shares in their company to gamers of all people. Would be a disaster.
 
Bailey said that Fig learned that free-to-play games aren’t good models for crowdfunding campaigns, and so Fig won’t do them in the future.
Well, I guess that's one way to try and spin things.

Let's see how some other f2p games did with crowdfunding.

HEX: 17,765 backers pledged $2,278,255 to help bring this project to life.
Shadowrun Online: 6,003 backers pledged $558,863 to help bring this project to life.
SolForge: 6,971 backers pledged $429,715 to help bring this project to life.
Duelyst: 3,578 backers pledged $137,707 to help bring this project to life.

Yep. The problem was definitely f2p.
 

Delusibeta

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Feb 18, 2012
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Surely they'd make each game or IP a vessel. You invest in that alone. Nobody wants to sell shares in their company to gamers of all people. Would be a disaster.
That's essentially what happens, all of the equity is for a shell company that's specifically for delivering the game in question.

The bigger problem is Fig's absolute failure in attracting non-investment backing.
 

Jebusman

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Nov 10, 2013
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While I know they are not mechanically the same or functions as a good comparison, why do I feel like Fig is going to be the Tidal of crowdfunding.
 

LewieP

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Jan 30, 2015
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F2P was a factor, as was the game concept being extremely generic (game might end up being good, but what we saw doesn't seem particularly unique, there are loads of games like that on the market), but by far the biggest problem is the fig business model being inherently unappealing to people at a backer level.

"Please fund us making this game so that people richer than you can profit".

If I am going to crowdfund a game, I don't really want the developer answering to external investors, and ideally I'd want the profits from the game to go into funding their next game, not to go into the pockets of investors.

I think there is always going to be a degree of friction when trying to merge these two business models. I'm not convinced fig are going to overcome this friction.
 

NoFaceNico

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Sep 8, 2014
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Nice, we now know how much they're going to charge for equity, $1,000 - $10,000. I still think that's kinda greedy because the rules allow them to sell equity to even the lowest backer/investor, so that $1,000 minimum buy-in makes that legal exemption pretty pointless. Buying equity is still expensive, the only difference now is that people who have more to lose can play. I doubt the average gamer is willing or able to give $1,000 to a crowdfunded game but if Fig had decided to make their minimum buy-in $200, then you could probably get a lot of fans who would rather have equity than high tier perks.

But because of the law, not everyone can invest up to $10,000. It's still income based and in order to give more than $2,000 you need to have an income or net worth of more than $40,000.

Here's the rule, from the actual SEC regulations:
Thus, under the final rules, an investor will be limited to investing: (1) the greater of: $2,000 or 5 percent of the lesser of the investor’s annual income or net worth if either annual income or net worth is less than $100,000; or (2) 10 percent of the lesser of the investor’s annual income or net worth, not to exceed an amount sold of $100,000, if both annual income and net worth are $100,000 or more

That might be confusing to read so with in the SEC regulations, they provided this to illustrate some examples of how it will look like in practice:

But you have to remember, that's not a limit for each campaign, that limit lasts for a 12 month period.

From the SEC rules:
We have modified the final rules from the proposal to clarify that the investment limit reflects the aggregate amount an investor may invest in all offerings under Section 4(a)(6) in a 12-month period across all issuers.

So if you max out your investing limit on their first campaign, then you can't get equity in any other campaigns for 12 months. Which is another reason why limiting their investors to a $1,000 minimum is ridiculously stupid. Many people will be limited to $2,000. So under that rule, many investors will only be able to invest in two campaigns per year. Again, it would be much wiser to have the minimum at $200 so they can invest in up to 10 projects in the year.

And unfortunately for Fig, the SEC also threw a big stick in their spokes. The bill that made all of this possible gave the SEC the power to set the limit of how much money a project can raise under this exemption. The SEC decided to set that limit at a relatively low $1,000,000.
We are adopting as proposed rules that limit to $1 million the aggregate amount that may be sold to all investors by the issuer in a 12-month period in reliance on the new exemption.

That's way below what Fig was hoping to be able to raise. Brian Fargo, who sits on Fig's advisory board, told Polygon back in August when Fig was formed:
... it’s not unreasonable to think these things might start going $10, $15 or even $20 million. Now we can make a different class of product."

But that's not going to happen now, at least not by selling equity to backers. But the rule only limits $1,000,000 to the sale of equity using this exemption, a project can still raise more than that through regular crowdfunding that just gives backers the game (but I would argue their two campaigns prove that people aren't willing to give money to fig if they can't get equity in exchange). They can also still accept huge sums from accredited investors and it won't count towards the $1,000,000 limit. Which I see as another problem because if an accredited investor buys a bunch of equity, that could dilute the value of everyone else's investment.

This is also ignoring the main problem I have with Fig, the fact that when you have "investors" giving relatively huge sums of money to a sub-par crowdfunding campaign, the total amount raised makes it look more successful than it actually is because people will confuse the amount invested with how much regular gamers are giving to the idea for that game. I made a video of my thoughts here.