Making your own game but need some money?
On the 15th October, game developers, publishers and investors from all over the country gathered in Rich Mix, Shoreditch for the second Games Funding Forum.
The event is a half day conference and networking event designed to matchmake game developers in need of funding and investors looking to back the next big thing.
Ten different unsigned indie games were on show and there were seven different talks from a range of experts to advise those looking for sources of funding.
Funding expert and conference chair Ella Romanos of Strike Game Labs gave an overview of the different funding sources in the UK including Altara and Tenshi Grants.
Romanos then interviewed former EA Vice President David Lau-Kee of London Venture Partners.
Lau-Kee suggests that 25% is a good amount of equity for founders to give away in return for investment and advised against giving away too much of the company, which he believes affects founder’s motivation and therefore won’t benefit anyone in the long run.
He discusses dumb money vs. smart money, emphasising that ‘dumb’ isn’t meant in a derogatory fashion but refers to funding that might be from friends and family or investors with no experience in the sector.
He explains how LVP provide smart money, looking to give more than just funding to the companies that they invest in by advising them and putting them in touch with key people.
Mike Hayes of Mercia Technologies is up next, telling the audience about Mercia’s ‘soup to nuts’ approach to games investment and how they want to join developers on their journey right from the beginning, reinforcing Lau-Kee’s views about smart money.
We want to be in your business and help you
…and stresses the importance of a good prototype when looking for investment from Mercia.
Hayes reinforces another of Lau-Key’s points by saying Making sure the founders own at least half of the company ensures a high level of motivation.
In an age of clones and copycat games it’s reassuring to hear him state they look for originality in the projects they fund, before making the refreshingly different statement that they’re not looking to invest in free to play games.
Tanguy Dewavrin then looked at Kickstarter
Advising the audience that backers often don’t read the text on a Kickstarter page so it’s therefore beneficial to ensure all important information is conveyed in the video itself.
While he admitted that running the Kickstarter had cost their team a lot in terms of their time and attention, essentially putting the game’s, development on hold for two months, he also stated that it gained them more than just the money:
Crowd validation; media exposure; investor contacts; more Youtube, Facebook and Twitter followers; and new partners such as musicians and other developers.
Dewavrin advised against asking for too much money suggesting that it’s better to ask for what you feel you can achieve and looking elsewhere for the rest if necessary.
As the majority of backers tend to be in the US he suggested running your campaign in dollars if possible.
Jas Sohal then took to the stage to inform attendees about Creative England’s Greenshoots programme in association with Microsoft. Eligible companies can receive £25k or £50k match funding for their games, now available in every UK region bar London.
He showed this video to give an overview of the scheme and some of the teams and games that have benefitted from it.
The deadline for applications closes on the 30th October.
Harbottle & Lewis’s Alan Moss then gave a talk on practical tips from the film industry and how game developers may be able to learn from the film industry.
Moss’s main takeaways were that tax credit loans may help with cashflow and raising further funding, completion guarantees may help to finance bigger budget games, sales forecasts may help to stimulate investment and utilising a collection arrangement could help you work with film financiers.
The ten titles on show in the Gaming Lounge were:
- Online multiplayer hack’n’slash SKARA The Blade Remains by 8 Bit Studio
- 2D runner Theo & Lizzy by Butcherlab
- Mystery exploration game Mute by RG Bird Games
- VR racer Radial-G: Racing Revolved by Tammeka
- Turn-based, rogue-lite 2D battler Insane Robots by Playniac
- Colour switching first person puzzler Spectrum by Dan Smith
- Puzzle platformer Mimpi Dreams by Silicon Jelly
- Physics based platformer Snot! by House of Fire
- Local multiplayer co-op title BFF or Die by Honey Tribe Studios
- Pvp turn-based combat game MMA Federation by 360 Studios
Lastly, Paul Sulyok, founder of Green Man Gaming took to the stage to announce their exciting new finishing fund designed to provide developers with between £20k – £200k in the last 3-4 months of development in order to help developers finish off their game.
It works by providing a cash advance against future royalties and therefore developers don’t need to give up their IP or any equity.
After the talks there were a few networking drinks and attendees got another chance to play the different games on show.
In the harsh world of game development where companies are constantly springing up and going under, the Games Funding Forum was an uplifting and inspiring event that demonstrated there are a variety of different way to find that elusive funding to help you develop and release the game of your dreams.