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New crowdfunding service offers a game-focused twist on the Kickstarter formula
New crowdfunding service offers a game-focused twist on the Kickstarter formula Exclusive
June 5, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

June 5, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



Kickstarter may have become the leading crowdsourcing service during the past several months, but this week a new platform has emerged to give game developers an alternative means of raising the funds for their dream game.

The platform, known as Gambitious, is the result of a partnership between the founders of Devolver Digital and the Dutch firm Symbid. Itís a service catered specifically for game creators, and it plans to differentiate itself by offering equity-based crowdfunding in addition to Kickstarter's donation-based model.

The equity-based funding model allows interested parties to buy a stake in a project of their choosing, and if all goes well, they'll take a cut of its eventual profits. Until the American JOBS Act is enacted by the SEC, however, this functionality is only available in Europe, but the Gambitious team thinks it'll provide a great solution for lesser-known developers or those with large-scale projects.

"We believe that the donations/pre-sales model is great for a certain level of game at this time, but most indies aren't going to get what they really need to get to market just from that model," said Devolver co-founder and Gambitious partner Mike Wilson.

"We believe that there will be a lot of excitement from people who can suddenly place bets on their own instincts about games, rather than say mutual funds or stocks in industries they don't really follow or understand. Being able to invest in your passion is a rare and special experience."

In addition to this equity-based model, Gambitious plans to add support for traditional donation-based funding sometime after launch. Wilson added that unlike Kickstarter, the traditional donation model will be available to European users in addition to those from America, so users from both regions will be able to participate even if they aren't interested in equity-based funding.

Gambitious will also include a more experimental hybrid model, which in the right circumstances, could help developers jump start projects that are too big for something like Kickstarter, Wilson said.

"This is what we believe nearly every developer doing a project of any real size/scope is going to opt for, because it will give them the best chance of succeeding. Imagine two bars, one representing donations on a project and one the equity raise," he said.

In this model, developers can sell off a certain amount of equity for their project and accept traditional donations. By using this two-pronged approach, Gambitious believes teams will be able to reap the benefits from both crowdfunding models.

"If donations go through the roof, the developer can offer less equity if they want, or if the donations aren't moving the needle at all, they might choose to offer more."

In addition, Wilson said Gambitious will try to help backers pick projects that have the greatest chance for success. For every project submitted to Gambitious, teams will have to provide a rough business plan that gives potential backers some insight into what will happen once a team receives funding.

"You'll be able to tell at a glance, even before looking at the full plan, whether the team has ever delivered a game on the platform they are saying they will, whether they have concept approvals where necessary, whether they have a publisher or not (if they need one), are they are prototype or vertical slice or just drawing board stage, etc," Wilson said.

"One core difference you'll see with our projects is that the amount raised will be (should be, at least) truly the amount to get to the finish line. I think some teams on other platforms are raising less than they truly need, thinking they can get more from elsewhere later, which could result in some big disappointments."

As of its debut today, Gambitious only offers its equity-based funding model for European backers, though Wilson told us the service will add the rest of its functionality at Gamescom this August. For more on the new service, visit the official Gambitious website.


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