London independent studio Slightly Mad has launched a bold new crowd-funding system that could transform the way triple-A games are financed, built and played.
The group’s new online platform allows fans, developers and industry professionals to pool their money and time together on various game projects.
The investment levels are tiered, with bigger spenders given more influence on the outcome of a game project, though small contributions will have their own returns too.
It will cost €10 to become a junior investor, who in return is allowed to enter private developer forums, can read monthly meetings and can play monthly builds. On the other end of the scale, it costs €25,000 to become a senior manager on a project, in return for direct access to developers, game scripts and company meetings.
Providing certain profit margins are met, every participant will get a return on their investment.
A triple-A game that makes €25 million profit, for example, would give €45 back to a junior investor. A senior manager would receive €110,000.
Slightly Mad, which will both host and participate in the development platform, has not revealed the commission it takes from game projects.
The studio’s theory is that, by spreading costs across a number of people, developers will be allowed to take bigger risks with projects.
Anxieties of market failure have become heightened in the past few years with high production values and exorbitant development budgets obliterating profit margins.
Slightly Mad hopes its ‘World of Mass Development’ platform can allow for more disruptive ideas to prosper. Because concepts can be proposed and read by anyone, developers will already be able to gauge feedback on games before they’re green-lit.
“Our system negates the need for publisher backing and puts developers directly in touch with an already-active, interested, and involved community that can help with focus testing and feedback,” the company said.
Each game project will be given its own forum where regular builds can be given to investors, with players offering feedback. Votes can take place on in-game features, and Slightly Mad hopes it can launch a platform where the community feedback loop enriches both creators and potential customers.
Concept creators will be able to retain their own IP, but there are no full business details on launching a game for retail, marketing strategies, or who will be in charge of platform holder discussions.