Notes from NERD

Notes from Getting the Dough to Develop: Video Game funding
@Microsoft NERD Center.
#NEGGamesSiG Hash tag for the night.
New England Game SiG.
  • Drives awareness and growth of the New England games industry.
  • Mike Cavaretta @gamelaw Lawyer specializing in the games industry.

Monty Sharma moderating.
Tim Wright: Grand Banks Capital – VC Guy, Not a game guy.
  • They want to see a product with users on the product.
  • Make sure the person that you pick as an investor knows something about what you are doing.
  • VC’s can get talented people to help work on a project. They can bring expertise to the table.
  • The First VC in the door is responsible to help sell the company to other investors. To help facilitated additional rounds of investment.
  • Mobile social gaming. Will be or is the fastest growing thing ever.
  • Unity is an amazing way to create a game quickly and publish it to multiple platforms.
  • Whatever you do, make it reproducible, make things plug in.
  • Company invests between $750,000 to $2 million for %20 ownership.

Micheal Dornbrook: Board Member Common Angels 
{finds passionate people builds the product, and then feeds them to Grand Banks Capital for additional rounds of financing when necessary}
  • Don’t have one game.
  • We’re looking at the team.
  • Harmonix went through 6 rounds of investment. 3 Angels who know nothing about what they were investing in.  They believed in the team and invested based on that information.
  • People who invested in Harmonix waited 10 years for payoff.  ROI: 100 times investment.
  • Disruptive is usually done wrong: People tend to look at whats out there and go after the big guys who are doing well.
  • Just like Guy Kawasaki’s advice about attacking the unfortified hill.
  • Company invests between $50,000 to $100,000. But individual members of the group may invest outside of the group itself. Can even be a personal check.
Jamy Nigiri: Jagex Games Studio
  • Have something they can play, playable vertical slice. Go beyond the concept.
  • Passion test, is someone on their team passionate about a game brought to them.
  • How are you going to monetize. Very important answer. Give a pat answer.
  • Jamy says: “If you can fund your game yourself do it.”
  • Jagex says: We bring a trust and user community to the deal. They have passionate users.
  • They have knowledge and experience in the game world. They already know how to do it.
  • Currently working with one guy in his garage. Developer friendly!
  • Disruptive Opportunities: How do you get an audience that don’t consider themselves gamers to get into the game? How do you get them to spend money? How do you turn casual gamers in to spending gamers?
  • Likes resource gathering.
  • No deal is the same, so the percentage, the valuation, the revenue on the backside is different on each deal. Would generally split things 50/50. Each group has skin in the game, each group is passionate about the project. (Where typically the developer[you] might get 15%, publisher takes 85%)

Jamie Gotch CTO – Founder of Subatomic Studios
  • Plan for your audience.
  • Beware of feature bloat.
  • The game that I make is not the kind of game I would play.
  • Understand your audience.
  • If you are a hardcore gamer, your audience may not be a hardcore gamer.
  • Balance between deep experience and simplicity.
  • Look for people who are highly motivated folks, who will stick it through to the end.

Game Dev Story
  • Play this game. A game about building games. Remarkably detailed game about the contract traps.
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