Tag - gaming industry

Fig Raises $7.84 million in Series A Financing

San Francisco, CA, January 18, 2017 — Loose Tooth Industries Inc. (d/b/a “Fig”), the only crowdfunding platform and publisher that sells SEC-qualified shares tied to individual game projects, announced it has raised $7.84 million in Series A financing.

Spark Capital and Greycroft led the round, with participation from Resolute Ventures, NextView Ventures, and Draft Ventures. The investment will allow Fig to accelerate the number of innovative game projects made available to investors and backers on its unique crowdfunding platform, which lets fans support games through either rewards-based campaigns or by investing in shares tied to a game project securities, such as Fig Game Shares™.

“Fig is singular in video games in that it is the first to allow fan investors to participate in the upside of a video game’s financial performance,” said Spark Capital’s Nabeel Hyatt, who was also the lead investor of Cruise Automation (acquired by General Motors for $1 billion). “Investors on Fig don’t have to wait for a company to be sold before they can reap returns, an occurrence that is rare and can take 7 to 10 years.”

“Interactive Entertainment is a $100 billion-a-year industry¹ yet many talented, veteran teams are still constrained by lack of resources.” said Jon Goldman, Venture Partner of Greycroft and Partner at Skybound, the IP holders of The Walking Dead. “Fig provides a new avenue for funding that brings makers and players into an entirely new relationship, which should foster innovation and help this amazing creative industry grow even bigger.  

In 2016, Fig hosted four of the year’s 10 largest crowdfunded games including Psychonauts 2, Wasteland 3, Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch, Consortium: The Tower, Kingdoms and Castles, Make Sail and Trackless. In 2016, Fig has a 78% campaign success rate that was twice the success rate² for all campaigns on a leading crowdfunding platform, and nearly five times the success rate³ for the video games category. Fig released an infographic detailing it’s 2016 year in review which can be foundhere.

“The opportunity for fans to invest in the games they believe in opens up an entirely new narrative in the evolution of crowdfunding,” said Fig CEO Justin Bailey. “Fans on our platform have already demonstrated that they’re willing to invest over 20 times more money per person for equity over rewards. This creates an avenue of funding for independent games that has never existed before. In addition, our model is allowing investors to reduce content risk by finding out if there’s sufficient market demand through fan funding prior to completing development.”

Fig CEO Justin Bailey added, “Looking forward, we’re exploring the possibility of amplifying the impact of fans even further by inviting institutional investors who have already expressed interest in our unique model to provide matching funds across our platform.”

With Fig Game Shares, non-accredited investors are able to participate in the potential success of a game. Fig Game Shares pay returns based on the sales revenue of a single game, so investors get paid when a game launches, rather than having to wait for an exit if and when that occurs, which is the case with other crowdfunding platforms supporting investments in game studios.

Founded in 2015, Fig strives to create an ecosystem where game development studios can stay independent, new talent can be discovered and profits can be shared with fans who invest. Development funds are raised in two ways on Fig.co’s platform. The first is through the developer’s rewards-based campaign. Secondly, Fig can offer securities, such as Fig Game Shares, that have returns tied to an individual game’s sales. On Fig, developers keep 100% of the rewards proceeds (minus credit card fees), and backers receive copies of the game, T-shirts or other items.

Bigben Interactive Acquires Test Drive Brand

Lesquin (France), December 14th, 2016 – Bigben Interactive has announced the acquisition of the rights to use and develop the TEST DRIVE brand from the Atari group and announces its project to develop new titles from the franchise Test Drive Unlimited. Atari retains all rights to sell all previously-released Test Drive games.

“We are more than confident with respect to the quality of this franchise, which is loved by so many players,” stated Alain Falc, CEO of Bigben Interactive. “Our teams are very enthusiastic at the idea of being able to work on this license, which has already proven its worth – the game Test Drive Unlimited 2 sold 1.8 million units,” he concluded.

The acquisition broadens Bigben’s catalogue, taking its place alongside such titles as WRC, TT Isle of Man, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, Outcast and 2Dark. It is a clear demonstration of Bigben’s desire to offer quality video games on all current platforms.

Annapurna Interactive Announced

(Los Angeles, CA) December 1, 2016 – Annapurna Pictures, the production company behind ZERO DARK THIRTY, HER, and SAUSAGE PARTY, has expanded its operations with the creation of Annapurna Interactive, a division entirely dedicated to producing and publishing video games. Annapurna Interactive will focus on developing personal, emotional, and original games that push the boundaries of interactive content and encourage artists to bring new visions to the medium.

Annapurna Interactive is set to publish two games targeting Spring 2017 release dates: Jason Roberts’ Gorogoa and Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch. Gorogoa, by Jason Roberts, is a beautifully hand-illustrated story suspended inside a puzzle with a unique mechanic where the player moves panels on a grid as though arranging framed drawings on a wall. What Remains of Edith Finch, developed by Giant Sparrow, is a playable collection of short stories, each with different art styles and gameplay mechanics centered around the cursed Finch family.

As part of its growing portfolio, Annapurna Interactive will also release games from highly regarded industry talents, including San Francisco-based developer Funomena and Creative Director Keita Takahashi, creator of the Katamari Damacy franchise, and Mountains, which is led by Ken Wong, best known for his work on Monument Valley.

The new publisher will be run by a team of game veterans whose credits include Journey, God of War, Mortal Kombat, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Flower, and Fat Princess.

“I’ve had a great passion for video games for as long as I can remember. Growing up, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of my all-time favorites. My brother and I ran up quite a bill calling the 1-900 numbers for tips on those games, before the internet provided game-guides. The artistry and diversity of interactive storytelling is exciting and we look forward to exploring the limitless possibilities in gaming. We want to empower artists across this medium to make Annapurna Interactive their home and I believe we’ve assembled the perfect team to make that happen,” said Annapurna’s founder and CEO, Megan Ellison.

The Annapurna Interactive team added, “We believe video games have a powerful ability to stir emotion. We are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with the artists who inspire us in order to bring memorable experiences to all players, whether experienced or first-time gamers.”

Annapurna Interactive is located on the company’s campus in West Hollywood.

To learn more about Annapurna Interactive and to stay up to date on its upcoming releases, please visit annapurnainteractive.com.

THQ Nordic Acquires All NovaLogic IPs

October 24, 2016: Today, THQ Nordic announced that an asset purchase agreement with NovaLogic Inc. containing all games and/or projects owned by NovaLogic Inc has been closed. In essence, that means that they’re back at it again with the acquisition of partly forgotten, but classic game IPs and this time is all about first-person military themed game franchises like groundbreaking and genre-defining Delta Force, Comanche or Joint Ops.

Novalogic’s games struck a strong chord with the market from the late 80s throughout the 00s, with its strong focus on military simulations like for example with the F-22 series, the Comanche series, and, last but not least, the Delta Force series.

“After 30 years of creating ground breaking Computer and Video Games we are proud to pass the baton to THQ Nordic. As individuals, they are enthusiastic gamers and as a company have shown the agility and acumen needed to propel our industry towards a much-needed reset”, comments John Garcia, owner, founder and CEO of NovaLogic Inc. “We are happy to see the franchises we created in such capable hands.”

“NovaLogic pioneered military simulations and military-themed multiplayer shooters with vehicular combat and also clearly targeted at an adult audience,” said Reinhard Pollice, Business and Product Development Director, THQ Nordic. “We are extremely satisfied with the new additions to our portfolio, and also very thrilled about how to continue some of said franchises, we are open for talks in this regard if any developer approaches us with a concept for a potential sequel to any IP.”

Here is an extract of the acquired franchises and brands:

  • Delta Force Series
  • Comanche Series
  • Joint Operations Series
  • Armored Fist Series
  • Tachyon: The Fringe
  • F-22 – Series
  • F-16 Series
  • NovaLogic Trademark
  • and more…

SAG-AFTRA on Strike Against Video Game Industry

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 21, 2016) — After nearly two years of unsuccessful negotiations, SAG-AFTRA has called a strike against certain video game producers, effective at 12:01 a.m. PT today.

SAG-AFTRA is striking the following video game employers: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. The strike covers all games made by these companies that went into production after Feb. 17, 2015.

SAG-AFTRA members will picket Electronic Arts in Playa Vista, CA at 10:30 a.m. PT, Monday, Oct. 24.

For additional strike details, click here.

Razer Acquires THX

IRVINE, Calif. – Razer™, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today confirmed it acquired the majority of the assets of THX Ltd. and have brought onboard the management and employees of the company. Financial details of the transaction, which closed earlier this month, were not disclosed.

“Razer has a vision for innovation at every level of entertainment, a vision which THX has championed since its inception more than 30 years ago,” says Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “This acquisition will allow us to reinforce Razer’s leadership in gaming and extend the brand into broader areas of entertainment, while at the same time empowering THX to develop into a global powerhouse, independently.”

THX will operate as an independent startup under its own management and apart from the ongoing business of its parent company. Further to the point, the audio technology business will have discretion to seek agreements with other product makers, service providers and financial partners apart from Razer.

“For over 30 years, THX has maintained a proud legacy of being one of the leaders in audio technology and certification worldwide,” said Laurie Fincham, Sr. Vice President of Audio Research and Development at THX. “With their focus on quality, design and innovation, Razer supports our vision to optimize and deliver the best audiovisual experiences to audiences worldwide.”

Ty Ahmad-Taylor, CEO of THX, says: “Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs. As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers.”

According to Tan, “The value of THX rests in its bedrock competencies with certification, optimization of audio and intellectual property development. We expect Ty, Laurie, and the executive team and employees of THX, who we have also retained, to continue leading the world in innovations and technology in the audiovisual space.”

Nordic Games is Now THQ Nordic

VIENNA, Austria (Aug. 12, 2016) – This is not your standard press release. Instead, we would like to make this corporate statement regarding our company Nordic Games reincorporating to THQ Nordic.

Obligatory Flashback Part (in only 2 paragraphs):

It all started out in Sweden in 2008 as a mini-venture to self-publish such illustrious titles likeDance Party Club Hits, Kart Racer and Truck Racer (just to name a few) on PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii. The following year, we landed We Sing, a million-plus selling karaoke franchise for Nintendo Wii. In 2011, with our first of many acquisitions to come, Nordic Games began its transformation from small scale, two-platform games publisher to a multi-platform, multi-genre global player.

One could say the most defining moment for our company happened in 2013, grabbing headlines like; “Who the FUCK is Nordic Games?”, “Darksiders Gets Bought By…Nordic Games?”, and “Nordic Games explains who the f they are, plans for THQ assets”. Funny enough, back then, this was so true. Until that point, we had been a low profile publisher uttering expletives of our own along the way, and all of a sudden we found ourselves in the international gaming media spotlight. We knew then, with great certainty, that we’d just made the best deal in our company´s history.

Nordic Games By The Numbers:
Since our formation in 2008, we proudly look back on 8 years of continuous growth on all (!) aspects of our business, not just the bottom-line. During that time, 16 individual IPs and franchise acquisitions were concluded, resulting in a catalogue of more than 250 actively sold games, over 60 trademarks, hundreds of web domains and a few patents for hardware and software.

61 game development projects were initiated and have launched, and most importantly, we have created 82 jobs (if you include external development teams this number amounts to 325) and pride ourselves on our very, very, very low staff fluctuation, which basically amounts to zero.

Two development studios were setup – one located in Phoenix, Arizona (let’s hope Donald Trump reads this), the other one in Munich, Germany, and we have managed to grow our group wide team size from 2 in 2008 to 84 team members today.

Introducing THQ Nordic (the KISS part):
Whilst we take great pride in our Swedish roots and accomplished a great deal under the Nordic Games masthead, we decided it was time to incorporate the THQ name. Those key brands will continue to shape our business in a meaningful way going forward, and THQ Nordicrepresents a core approach of doing much more than “owning” a highly competitive portfolio of IPs. We cherish them, and align them with the very best development resources to expand upon them with the level of experience that communities and established fan bases expect and deserve. Side note – another upside to this whole rebrand thing is we don’t get asked about the Nordic Game parties at Gamescom anymore – it was the other guys who threw them.

With this rebrand we are entering the next phase in our company’s evolution.

As of now we have 23 game projects in development, 13 thereof have not yet been publicly announced, but are sure to be in the next months. Needless to say, the majority of these projects are based on former THQ owned IPs and franchises.

As far as the logo design is concerned, Lars Wingefors, founder and owner of THQ Nordic (formerly known as Nordic Games) would like to say this:

“As for the new logo design, we literally stumbled across it when browsing some art files, after we bought the THQ trademark and figured: why not? We hope the reception from our partners is less ambivalent but we’re OK either way. We invite you to our Gamescom booth to play our games and see the logo in large-scale format.”

Please visit us in Cologne and stop by our booth to take a look at our current projects and also some of our upcoming games. If you’re not interested at all, you can still pop by to charge your mobile phones, hunt Pokémons, or just hang out and chat with us.

THQ Nordic at Gamescom 2016:
Entertainment area: Hall 8, C20
Business area: Hall 4.1, D21

TL;DR:
Nordic Games + THQ = THQ Nordic from now on, due to numerous reasons explained in a bit more detail in the text.

Paramount Television Options Rights for Battlefield

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 11, 2016) – Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to one of the most successful and dynamic videogames, Battlefield™, from DICE, an Electronic Arts Inc. studio. Michael Sugar, 2016 Academy Award winner, and Ashley Zalta from Anonymous Content will serve as executive producers.

The Battlefield series has consistently been praised by critics for its world-class multiplayer gameplay, and is recognized for delivering the premier all-out war experience across land, sea and air. The award-winning Battlefield franchise has amassed more than 60 million players worldwide since debuting in 2002, and the franchise continues to boast highly-engaged audiences across its catalogue titles.

“Paramount TV actively seeks smart content from all sectors that will resonate with audiences and translate to compelling programming,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount TV. “EA’s Battlefield has an incredibly dynamic narrative, coupled with a loyal fan base, which will allow us to bring this exciting and unique property to the small screen. We look forward to working with EA and Anonymous Content and thank Michael Sugar for his tenacity in bringing us this exciting project.”

“Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation,” said Michael Sugar, partner, Anonymous Content. “Together with EA and Paramount TV, we’ll develop the Battlefield TV series with the same commitment to robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success for nearly fifteen years.”

“Battlefield is one of the most loved properties among our players,” said Patrick Söderlund, Executive Vice President, EA. “We are thrilled that Anonymous Content and Paramount TV will look to introduce fans to Battlefield through a new medium.”

Battlefield continues the partnership between Anonymous Content and Paramount TV, which have a first-look production deal for scripted television programming across broadcast, premium cable, cable and online audiences. This marks the organizations’ entrée into content based on a videogame franchise.

“Michael’s track record speaks for itself,” added Patrick O’Brien, Vice President of EA Entertainment. “Combined with his passion for Battlefield, we cannot imagine a better team than Anonymous Content and Paramount for this project.”

Watch the Battlefield 1 Official Reveal Trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7nRTF2SowQ

E3 2016 Photo Gallery

Another Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone. E3 2016 was a fun event where I got the chance to see a lot of upcoming titles from a variety of publishers and developers. Still, there was a strange sense of emptiness while on the show floor – and no matter how large booths became, that emptiness hung in the air like a bad smell. Was it the big companies that pulled out of the show that caused this or simply a lack of some “killer apps” on the horizon? I do not know. What I do know is that E3 is still the premiere industry gaming show in the United States and there is so much of the media spotlight to be had, I don’t see where it is going anywhere anytime soon. The big game houses seem to do this mass exodus every so many years – but history has shown that they always come back soon after.

Here is my photo gallery from around the expo, enjoy!

Photo Gallery