Our weekly dose of hot takes, occasionally well formed opinions, and fevered outbursts is back. Yup, it’s time for the Question of the Week! This week we’re talking about the big week neophyte crowdfunding platform Fig is having. The launch of multiple campaigns, including Wasteland 3, and, more importantly news that the platform now has the ok to accept a broader range of investments for Psychonauts 2. Which leads us to ask…
Will Fig getting Psychonauts 2 unaccredited investment approval have a major impact on videogame crowdfunding?
I hope it doesn’t. Fig’s always been a bit of an odd bird as far as crowdfunding platforms are concerned, and this latest change really seems to emphasize this difference. Rather than funding something out of passion for the project, Fig is asking people to do it as a business endeavor. I’m sure there are some suits out there who are excited about this new prospect. To me it just sounds like a new barrier to entry for developers struggling to get their game made. It’s one thing to have to deliver on backer rewards, but having to share revenue with random investors feels like it goes against the indie dev spirit. I’m not sure I trust Fig to play publisher with other people’s money, even if the SEC does.
The alarmist in me wants to say this will be pretty bad for first-time developers looking to break into the industry through crowdfunding. Why bother with a cool t-shirt and your name in the credits when you could be getting paid to back a project? That said, every impression of Fig I’ve got from anyone but its owners has been very skeptical. Unless Psychonauts 2 is a massive success both as a game, and as a demonstration of Fig’s strengths, I still don’t see a big future for the service. Once again, all eyes are on Schafer, and the slightest bump in the road might prove devastating for the reputation of all involved.
This is a super interesting question that I’ve been curious about since Fig first appeared on the scene. Many in the business community are certainly interested to see what happens with unaccredited investors getting in on the venture capital sort of scene. The thing is, I’m not sure if there is really that much interest from everyday people to invest in this way. I mean, sure, some shall find themselves into funding on Fig (or other sites that may come around). But is that about to start a huge shift in funding? I’m not so sure. If it really does usher in tons of unaccredited investors then it will be big new for Fig (and Kickstarter will likely follow suit).
Will it have a major impact on crowdfunding? Absolutely. Will it be a positive impact? Well, not necessarily. While opening up non-accredited investment on Fig is great in terms of leveling the playing field between big and small investors, this also means there’s a higher chance for more people to become personally invested in Fig’s future products. As a result, public backlash can escalate above what’s normally observed, in the case of said games failing commercially. Gamers are extremely passionate to begin with, and I’m not sure what would happen now that they have the option to become non-accredited investors.
I’m really on the fence about this one. On the one hand, a lot of fans already have talked about Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns as investing, even though that’s not what it is. Actually being able to share the profits might be more appealing.
However, even the well to do geeks I know tend to prefer the physical rewards they’re used to from campaigns. I’ve met some hardcore geeks that make triple figures, but rather than investing in the stock market, they bought rare figures and metal replicas of legendary gaming weapons. Heck, even the ones that don’t make a lot of money seem drawn to swag and in-game rewards when given the option between those and, say, getting a huge saving on early access game store cash. It could just be the people I’m meeting, but I have this feeling that Fig in generally will be fairly niche, even if it does allow for real investing in games.
I think it will have an impact in terms of making Fig a more attractive prospect for some creators and backers. However, looking at the bigger picture I don’t think it will have a major impact on video game crowdfunding overall. Kickstarter already has such a firm hold on the market that I can’t see them needing to change their own approach, and in fact many users will prefer the social aspect of being a backer rather than an investor. What will be more interesting is seeing how Indiegogo is affected if Fig manages to increase their market share, seeing as how Indiegogo is already really struggling to compete with Kickstarter.
What do you think? Is Fig primed to changing the face of video game crowdfunding? Chime in below and let us know!