How games get made is fundamentally broken. As a token example, Electronic Arts released 60 games in 2008, and last year they released eight (EIGHT games!) — with virtually all of them sequels. Large publishers have for years tried to suck the risk out of what is inherently a risky business, and along the way they sucked all the creativity out as well. That’s been great for stabilizing their public stock price, but terrible for the players of those games, and for the thousands in the creative community trying to bring amazing new ideas to the world.
I have a personal criteria that every company I invest in needs to be something I would be willing to join if I wasn’t a VC, and this has been one of those problems I’ve been anxious to see solved.
Fig is not the first company to see this problem, there have been piecemeal attempts for years that have nipped away at the edges; from Valve’s Greenlight, to Indyfund, to Kickstarter. But when Justin and his team first presented the idea of Fig what was immediately apparent was how fully they had re-thought the whole ecosystem, from the players, to the game makers, to funders, in order to develop a company that would be healthy for everyone.
It wasn’t about how to do equity financing, or how to crowdfund a project, the team seemed intensely focused on how you would build a major publisher in the Internet age. And, perhaps more importantly, how that company could be built to be able to take the creative risks that both creators and consumers want you to. Fig’s answer was to align everyone together, from the conception of the product, to how it is marketed, all the way through to allowing those early adopts to participate in the rewards if it succeeds.
At Spark, we’re passionate about companies that give creators ways to, well, create stuff. From our investments in Tumblr to Medium to Twitter we believe in the internet’s ability to be an engine for creative energy. We were happy to seed Fig and even had them get started right here in Spark’s San Francisco offices for the first few months.
It was just a little over a year ago today that Fig launched their platform and in the first 12 months they’ve funded over a half dozen new interesting and innovative games (several even raising multi-million dollar budgets). It’s been amazing to watch them at work, and we’re thrilled to now be partnering with Fig in their Series A along with the excellent folks at Greycroft. I’m excited about what they will help enable for game developers, players, and the industry.