Kickstarter’s New Competitor Has One Killer Advantage
Move over, Kickstarter, there’s a new crowdsourcing site in town. It’s called Fig, and it has one big advantage over Kickstarter. While Kickstarter allows fans to fund projects, Fig lets people invest in projects. That’s right, Fig lets you earn money by investing in games as they’re being developed.
As crowdsourcing platforms, Fig and Kickstarter share much of the same DNA. Both sites give fund raisers a page to pitch their project to potential customers. Both allow project makers to send rewards like T-shirts and copies of the game to people who pledge money to the project. But several key differences separate the two services.
For one thing, Kickstarter is open to just about any project or product someone wants to fund, including video games, wristwatches, and even dance performances.
Fig is focused solely on games. As such, it provides more game-specific information in a clearer way than Kickstarter does. It shows up front what platforms the game will be on, and it has a slider to illustrate how far along the in development cycle the game currently is, from concept to release.
Fig also cherrypicks the video games it offers. Currently, the company only plans to support one or two crowdfunding campaigns at any given time. By contrast, the “Games” category on Kickstarter is home to over 600 projects at the time of this writing.
And because Fig will curate its projects, the bar of quality will presumably be pretty high, whereas anyone can put anything up on Kickstarter. Remember the potato salad project that went viral and raised over $55,000? If someone were to submit the video game equivalent of potato salad to Fig, there’s little chance it would be approved.
But the most interesting and major difference between the two platforms is the concept of equity. When a Kickstarter game is successfully funded, people who pledged money get whatever was offered at their reward tier and nothing more. They’re not investors. They just helped it get off the ground.
People who fund a game on Fig will be able to buy equity in the game and receive monetary payouts once the game is released.
At the moment, only one game is available to fund on Fig, a space exploration game called Outer Wilds. It’s kind of a test run for Fig, so in order to become an investor, you have to be accredited and pledge over $1,000. To become accredited, Fig has to verify that you have over $1 million in net assets.
After a few months — during which the kinks will be worked out — Fig will begin allowing anyone to invest in games, regardless of their bank account balance.
In an interview with Polygon, Fig advisory board member Brian Fargo said, “This wouldn’t be as exciting a story to me if it were only accredited investors. The fact is that anybody can get in. Especially people who don’t know a lot about the stock market, but do know a lot about games. They have a sense of it, so they can invest money in something where they have more of a comfort level.”
Fig has yet to be tested in the wild, but if the games funded on the site find similar success to the top Kickstarter-funded games, investors could walk away with significant returns. That’s something Kickstarter doesn’t offer, and it could change the whole crowdfunding game for the better.
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