Investors Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Investors RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Cloud9 Hits the Jackpot - Raises $2.8 Million From Unknown Investor Fri, 25 Nov 2016 05:38:50 -0500 KonradGamez

Can you imagine waking up one day and finding yourself $2.8M wealthier?

That's the reality for the Cloud9 Esports, Inc. organization after receiving this sum from an unknown investor, according to this U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the Esports organization.

C9 was created in 2012 after CEO Jack Etienne bought the League of Legends team from Quantic Gaming for $10,000 USD. Since then, C9 has grown its brand and expanded into other competitive titles such as CS:GO, Hearthstone, Overwatch and Smite.

With all the recent investments being made into the Esports scene, mainly by NBA franchises and associates, it was only a matter of time for Cloud9 -- a prominent name in Esports -- to receive some interest.

Cloud9 has won its fair share of splits in the NA LCS. While they have proven their status in North America, they have yet to show any promise on the LoL international stage.

We will have to wait and see how these newly acquired resources will be put to use.

Don't Waste Your Money -- Watch Out for These Red Flags on Any Indie Title Tue, 08 Nov 2016 11:27:32 -0500 Aaron Grincewicz


Be Informed


The key takeaway from all this is that you should be an informed indie game investor. This applies not only to the concept of the game you plan to back, but to the actual people your are backing.  Having a well thought out concept, a plan for development, and regularly interacting with backers are the signs of a funding campaign you can feel confident in.  


Keep up with your investment, checking for major changes in plans and staff. Lastly, do some research.  Find everything you can on the people who are making the game.  Use Google's Image search to check the authenticity of artwork, making sure it wasn't copied from another site.  Search for the developers on social media. If you can't find anything, contact them. 


What other red flags have you seen for indie game projects? Got other advice for would-be game investors and backers? Let me know in the comments!


Can't Take Criticism


Taking criticism, as constructive as it may be, is tough.  It's often said that it requires a certain level of maturity to take criticism. Sure, the internet is full of people that just want to push buttons and piss you off. It's also full of great advice from people that genuinely want to see you succeed. 


If you see a developer responding with hostility to a simple comment, you can bet they do the same with coworkers.  While they don't exactly have to give in to the demands of investors, being able to listen and just consider their ideas is a good trait.  A developer that responds in a friendly way, thanking you for your input, is one you can be confident in.  


Too Many 'Cooks in the Kitchen"


Leadership is often the determining factor in a company's success.  Effective management can pull everyone together and provide a cohesive vision for the whole team. Sometimes, a team of leaders can be more effective than one. The important thing is that they all have specific roles, and don't get in the way of the overall vision.


Creative projects can be some of the most sensitive when it comes to having a coherent vision. Conflicting opinions on the direction of the game, art-style, and other factors can not only delay development, but be catastrophic for everyone if they can't be settled peacefully. A heated argument among management could lead to the development team splitting up and a game being canceled.


In the interest of investing in a project, it's good to know who is doing what. Who leads character design? Who leads level design? All of the roles should have a name with them. You should also check to see if those names change.  Did they update their backers on the change?  If not, ask why. 


Who are they?


It sounds cliche, but the world is connected.  If you're a business owner and you don't have a fairly visible web presence, you might want to take a few classes on social media marketing.  When you can't find any significant information on the so-called studio or developers you're considering investing in, you could be better off throwing your wallet in front of a dog like it's a pig's ear.  


The same goes for their location. If the developer's funding page says they are located in California, but the contact info looks foreign, sound your alarms. As an informed investor, you should always check where the phone number prefix or email domains originate from. The U.S. doesn't use anything but "1" for its phone numbers.  So if a studio listed in California has a contact number starting with anything but the number one, be warned.


You could always call and ask exactly where they are, and why the info doesn't match if you're still unsure. 


Changes in Scope


Developers can often get over-excited about their game -- which is understandable since it's often a passion project. It's similar to a new restaurant owner with plans to have a franchised brand. Long-term goals are great, as long as you can still complete the steps to get there.  


Game designers can sometimes promise a lot of features and concepts for a game that doesn't even have a working build. When you invest in a game, and the developers announced they've scrapped plans for a console release to focus on mobile, or change the game from a single player story to a multi-player experience, this essentially changes the idea you put your money into and creates uncertainty.  


If they made one big change that doesn't seem to match what backers signed up for, how do you know they won't make more?  


No Core Concepts


The best investments are often made with people that have a plan.  It's for this reason that just about every checklist for starting a business has "Write Business Plan" somewhere near the top.  


A core concept could be considered the business plan of a game.  If the developer asking for money doesn't have any concept art, a prototype build of the game, or any real idea what the final game is supposed to be, that shows a lack of a plan. So goes the saying, "Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail."


Backers Beware!


No matter how big or small the studio, making games is a business. You have a budget, resources, staff, and expenses. And just like any other business, game developers also have investors. Whether these investors are wealthy entrepreneurs or backers on a crowd-funding site, they are showing faith in developers with their money.  


And no matter whether your investment was great or small, you want to be aware of some warning signs that signal a scam or bad idea when it comes to a project you've backed. This is especially true at a time in the industry when it seems like more and more indie games are failing to deliver on their promises.


So here are some of the major red flags to look for when putting your money behind an indie game. If you see any of these, watch out! Your game's developer might be biting off more than they can chew.

Nintendo's Shares Drop Overnight... and There's No Reason to Freak Out Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:38:22 -0400 David Fisher

When Nintendo dropped the world preview of the Nintendo Switch yesterday, fans went crazy. Twitter went mad about the Switch, while fans took to DeviantART and Tumblr to post parody images -- both in good faith and otherwise -- about the new console/handheld hybrid. Unfortunately, Nintendo's shares did not match this rise in spirits, instead dropping just over 6.5% overnight.

Sure, a drop in anything's price sounds like a bad thing. But don't freak out! This isn't necessarily a bad thing. If anything it's great news!

Understanding the Situation

Take a look at the graph above. From the start of October 20th to the time this article was written we see the aforementioned 6.5% drop in Nintendo's share price. Looks pretty bad, right? Well it isn't. Take a look at the graph below:

Over the course of this year, Nintendo's shares had actually gone up by over 50% since July 2016. In reality, the 6.5% drop is microscopic in scale - negligible even. But nevertheless investors, fans, and others have been making a big deal about this drop as if it has already spelled doom for the Nintendo Switch before its rise even began. But this simply isn't the case.

So what's actually going on?

There's multiple reasons as to why Nintendo's share suddenly dropped. Considering the success of the Switch's announcement among fans it seems hard to believe that Nintendo dropped the ball. As such, a drop due to a failed announcement is not in the cards. So then what caused the drop?

Reason #1: Simple Wall-Street Money Making

The most common one is the typical rise and fall in share prices that we typically see whenever any company announces a major new product.

For example, in the above graph we see Apple's share prices before and after the announcement of the first generation of iPhone back in 2007. What's clearly visible here is that the share prices increase just before and after the announcement of the iPhone 6. However, they immediately start declining from that point onward. The graph -- if scrolled right -- continues to see a downward trend until it stabilizes down the line.

The reason I bring this up is because the price of shares fluctuate wildly just before and after any company's big announcement. There's a saying among stockholders that one should always buy the rumors, but then sell the news. Essentially: when a company is rumored to have a big announcement, shares should be bought. Once the news breaks, sell the shares to make the biggest profit.

This is actually really common in the world of buying and selling shares, and so it should come to no surprise to any experienced shareholder that the prices would fluctuate. After all, who wouldn't want to cash in on a spike in share prices?

Reason #2: Fears Over Cartridges

Anyone who has worked in retail knows that customers can be absolutely convinced they need to buy something, even if they don't know what it is. Try as you might to convince them to buy something better, they won't. Often times it's because they have heard bad things about it, and as such they don't want it.

The same can be said of share and stockholders.

Looking at the Nintendo Switch, it's been overwhelmingly well received. However, many investors are stuck on why Nintendo is returning to cartridges. It may sound absurd to those of us who know a thing or two about cartridge media's advancements in the last two decades, but to older investors who still believe that a cartridge holds no more than 2 GB maximum this undoubtedly sounds like a nightmare.

Now, I'm not going to start another list of why cartridges are better than disks. However, I will say that it is likely a contributing factor for why Nintendo's share prices dropped. This is, as I said, a result of ignorance and a lack of information on the system. After all, this was only a preview teaser trailer. Nothing was said about the system's specifications other than how it visibly functions.

Furthermore, I don't expect many investors or shareholders to know how many gigabytes a Nintendo Slide cartridge can hold based on how big we already know The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition is (that's 22.75 Gigabytes for any investors reading this, by the way). Nor do I expect them to understand how much faster the Nintendo Slide will load up areas in the game as a result of running on the cartridge. Maybe I am giving them less credit than is due, but let's face it -- many of you probably didn't know how big Skyrim: Special Edition takes up on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 either.

Reason #3: The Drop is Fear Mongering More Than Anything

Reading through the Financial Times piece that discusses the 6.5% drop in share prices, one thing became considerably clear to me. Many of the concerns that were brought up were nothing more than speculation. As with the lack of knowledge about cartridge capacity, the article states that analysts are concerned about: the machine's price, competing with other consoles, whether it would require a mobile carrier to function, and more.

And this is where I, as a gaming journalist, truly get to laugh at economists for just a little while, and here's why...

1. The Price of Fear is Always Higher Than It Is Worth

While I would agree that the Nintendo Switch would have to sell for around $299 USD to be successful right now, I can't imagine that it won't. After all, Nintendo has never been known for being on the higher end of the pricing scale.

As it stands, the Nintendo New 3DS sells for about $200 USD. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Wii U sells for about $299 USD. Before either of these devices, the Nintendo Wii - considered to be the weakest performing system despite sales - sold for $249 USD (which would amount to about $325 USD after inflation).

Based on this pattern, I would find it hard to believe that the Nintendo Switch would sell for much more than $350 USD at the most. Considering it is a hybrid console, it wouldn't surprise me at all if it reached up to $400 USD for certain bundles and still gaining favor from potential buyers.

2. Competition is no Issue

When it comes to the war between consoles, Nintendo is already "losing" as far as anyone is concerned. Nevertheless, Nintendo titles have been going quite strong in terms of install rates for their first-party titles, with first-part software having some of the highest attachment rates per-console out there.

As TIME's Matt Peckham said two years ago, Nintendo doesn't need third party sales to drive its console sales. The first-party titles are what truly sell their hardware. While third-party support would certainly help Nintendo boost its profits, it isn't necessarily a requirement.

Even then, third-party support for the Nintendo Switch has been nothing but positive. If the switch is proven to have comparable performance to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 -- even while in portable mode -- then it has the potential to destroy its competition. Doubly so if they maintain their cost-free online gaming policy. For these reasons and more, competition should not be a concern for investors.

3. Mobile Carrier Requirements

This one once again reaffirms my position that investors have no idea what they are talking about. The Nintendo Switch's preview had no hints whatsoever that mobile carriers would be involved in any way. None of the games presented required the internet to play, and the games were all played using the very same game installation cartridges they all seem to be worried about! 

This concern tells me that the investors -- despite clear indication in the trailer that the console uses cartridges -- do not understand that video games don't need mobile data to work! 

Honestly, I blame mobile games for this more than anything else. You would have to have no experience with a GameBoy or DS handheld to make this misjudgement...


Fans, investors, shareholders, and other persons of anxiety need to seriously calm down. Shares dropped by 6.5% after a large spike. They're about the same as they used to be, and they won't at all affect how well the console actually sells. Remember, the price of shares are heavily affected by how many people currently own them, and the forecast of the company - which is based purely on speculation.

In the end, there's no use in worrying about Nintendo's share prices. Consumers will enjoy -- or not enjoy -- the Switch console regardless of where the share prices sit at. However, if it does affect your ability to enjoy the console, you have my deepest condolences.

EA Financial Officer Comments on Possible Battlefield Annualization Wed, 20 Nov 2013 12:29:42 -0500 Wokendreamer

The recent Electronic Arts investor call saw one of what I feel to be the dirtiest words in the modern gaming industry applied to the company's Battlefield franchise.  It is a word almost guaranteed to consign a franchise to derision and accusations of even more blatant than usual monetization.  The word is annualization, and as a gamer, I have a very strong negative reaction to it.

In response to the idea being presented, Blake Jorgensen, EA's chief financial officer, has stepped forward to offer his own thoughts on the idea.  They are much more sensible than one might expect from someone in charge of the money of those investors who want annualization to make.

The challenges are you’ve got to most likely do it out of two studios because it’s hard. It’s a two-year project.

Battlefield takes us about two years to develop and so you want to make sure that you’re sharing talent across studios, so you keep [the] core talent of the product and the experience for the consumer there. You also want to be really careful that you don’t destroy the franchise along the way. You got to make it exciting and different, but at the same time you want to make sure you maintain a great franchise.

It is not often a major gaming studio discusses how long it takes to make a game as an argument against a new form of monetization.  While we've heard talk of timetables before, it is mostly used to explain delays for a game's release.  A two-year development cycle makes a lot more sense than an annual one, even if the game can technically be put together in a single year, and Jergensen hits on all the main reasons.

He also pointed out a bit later that the game does not just sell when it is released initially, but over the full two-year timeframe, meaning selling the game annually would likely cut into its final sales numbers for the sake of getting the initial sales more regularly.  It is also much harder to market for a game when it comes out every year, as the very knowledge of it being an annual release dilutes excitement.

My favorite of his points, however, is definitely where he warns about destroying the franchise.  The main argument gamers make against annualization is always nice to hear worded in such uncompromising terms.  Fans of the Battlefield series can only hope EA takes Jergensen's words as seriously as they should.

Concern over EA's future development Fri, 09 Nov 2012 16:32:32 -0500 Larry Everett

Former BioWare producer Ethan Levy doesn’t believe that Electronic Arts is in the business of making original games anymore. As we hear more and more about EA’s future plans (for instance, from the Q2 earnings call), you can easily assess that existing IPs and licensed games are the new wave of EA’s future.

Levy gave us evidence of this in his blog earlier this week. He said that he counted a total of 36 new franchises launched by EA in this console generation and literally hundreds of titles based on existing licenses. When you combine that figure with EA CEO Frank Gibeau’s statements about the out-of-the-park success of the iOS Simpson’s title Tapped Out, you have to start to wonder about the long-term effect this will have on big-budget games.

The BioWare example

Veteran gamers know that EA has a reputation for latching onto the latest gaming trend to suck the life out of it. Many fans of BioWare like use that studio’s experience as an example. As veteran gamers, we can easily compare pre-EA BioWare to post-EA BioWare. Pre-EA, BioWare would release one maybe two titles at a time -- one to show and one to go. However, once EA took over, BioWare would work on multiple projects at the same time. As interviews with BioWare employees have stated, the studio worked on DragonAge 2, Mass Effect 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and many other smaller projects and expansions at the same time. The brand slowly became diluted, and as many fans of those franchises would tell you, those titles didn’t even come close to living up to the originals -- all show and no go. This change in focus is even more exemplified by major players in the BioWare family leaving the company, including the founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka.

The rock and hard place

The unfortunate side of running a public gaming company is that you have to please two vastly different audiences at the same time. Number one, you have to give players what they want, which anyone with even the least amount of experience will tell you, it’s not always what they are asking for. Number two, you need to please investors so that you have money to make your gaming dreams come true. Unfortunately, you have to show investors that your product will make money before it has any substance. So you have to fall back on public opinion, which as I eluded to earlier, isn’t always what will sell.

With a number of games that have performed poorly, especially the new IPs, it’s only natural for EA to attempt to tackle low-budget, high-yield games like licensed titles and social games, which is the exact idea that brought Levy back to Tapped Out in his blog. He claimed that big brands, like the Simpsons, combined with a high marketing budgets and high production values (which usually means short development times) equals big money for EA, thus big money for investors.

Social games or epic games

The real question is "has EA stepped into the social gaming market too late?" Many companies in social gaming are starting to so a downward trend as the market is now becoming saturated. Will EA find its foothold there or is this just another money grab before the market has completely dried up? If so, who is going to make our next line of epic games? Bethesda, you might be our only hope.