Fig Crowdfunding Platform’s Second Game, Anchors In The Drift, Falls Short Of Goal

by Mike Futter on Nov 21, 2015 at 04:30 AM

Fig, the crowdfunding platform founded by Tim Schafer, Feargus Urquhart, and Brian Fargo has hit its first major stumble. The program’s second game, 5th Cell’s Anchors in the Drift, has missed its crowdfunding goal by a significant margin.

The game raised $102,000 from investors, but only $5,000 from backers. This combined for just 21.4 percent of the $500,000 goal.

The crowdfunding failure doesn’t mean the end for the action-RPG-meets-CCG. The free-to-play game is still in development with continued plans to release next summer on schedule.

During the month-long campaign, 5th Cell provided only four updates with little fanfare as the game progressed through the funding cycle. Compared to efforts from high-profile project managers on other platforms, like Kickstarter, this seems to be a lower volume than we’re accustomed to seeing.

You can see the details of the funding campaign on Fig’s site. You can also read our previous coverage.

As for Fig, the entire landscape is about to change. The United States government has approved new rules regarding investment. Previously, you needed to be an accredited investor to seek a return. For individuals, being “accredited” means having a net worth of more than $1 million (excluding primary residence value), income of greater than $200,000 for the most recent two years (or greater than $300,000 if filing jointly) and a reasonable expectation that will continue in the current year.

Under new rules, nonaccredited investors (falling into two different categories based on net worth or income related to a $100,000 benchmark) can participate in equity crowdfunding. Those with incomes under $100,000 can invest the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of the lesser of net worth or annual income. Those with net worth and annual income both greater than $100,000 can invest up to 10 percent.

[Source: Fig]


Our Take
Because each project is different and every developer handles communication differently, it’s far too early to attribute this as a platform problem. However, this isn’t a great start for a new platform.

There are a couple of elements that may have caused 5th Cell problems. First, the frequency and content of communication with backers and press (for promotional purposes) were extremely thin. Four updates over a month when trying to raise $500,000 is inadequate to generate, maintain, and further grow interest.

Second, Anchors in the Drift is a free-to-play game. It certainly isn’t the first such to seek crowdfunding, but that model requires developers work that much harder to sell the game to backers. A developer must convince backers to part with money now for a game they’ll be able to play free later. 

The fact that the game is on track for a summer 2016 launch as planned also raises some questions about the need for crowdfunding. If the game is on track unfettered without crowdfunding support, was a campaign necessary? The pitch doesn’t address that question, and the end result indicates that backers weren’t crucial to development.