Much has to happen behind the scenes in order for a video game to hit the market. Luckily for indie game producers, they have a Good Shepherd.
Formerly known as Gambitious, Good Shepherd Entertainment provides independent game producers with the help they need to get from concept to reality, CEO/CFO Brian Grigsby said. The idea grew out of the crowdfunding efforts of some of the early platforms where many game producers found success.
While crowdfunding sometimes solved the issue of funding for game producers, it didn’t address the other ones that they often struggle with, Mr. Grigsby said. Good Shepherd Entertainment does and that is what makes them different.
It begins with an experienced global team that knows talent and is plugged in. Good Shepherd’s green light team consists of four full-time and two part-time people who identify and work with promising producers.
“The funnel is created with our connected tissue into the marketplace,” Mr. Grigsby said.
A typical designer can create the great bones of a game but needs help in several areas, Mr. Grigsby explained. Good Shepherd will help with the typical business and marketing needs, but they also can take a game from a good idea and make it something special. With access to a roster of writers, musicians and voice actors can make a game come alive.
“We offer those things that are part of the story,” Mr. Grigsby said. “What we are crafting today, what we are creating, is an artist community. We very want much to be the platform that connects the ecosystem components together.”
There is a natural symbiosis between musicians, actors and video game producers who have to struggle to get their creations to market. Just as a few large studios and labels dominate the movie and music industries, there is the potential for similar control over game design and production, Mr. Grigsby said. That is why it’s increasingly important for companies like Good Shepherd Entertainment to provide valuable nurturing opportunities for independent talent, Mr. Grigsby said.
“It’s been well, well received.”
Popular musicians are increasingly seeing video game scoring as another venue for their talent, Mr. Grigsby said, while adding he expects more big names to gravitate to the space.
“They want exposure into the space. They know it’s big.”
The gaming industry is facing significant challenges as distribution methods and even subscription fees change the landscape. Mr. Grigsby said Good Shepherd is closely watching developments.
As they do, he said the company doesn’t aim to join the industry giants but is so far content with providing producers with the chance to get their creations in front of thousands of people, not necessarily millions.
In addition to providing the creative assistance producers need to complete their work, Good Shepherd fully finances and produces each game they work with. They put in their own money, along with outside investor capital. Every project has been completed and successfully released to market, with the majority being profitable within one year of their release. The remainder are projected to be profitable within the investment term, Mr. Grigsby said.
“The portfolio of titles that have been in the market for at least a year have a profit of approximately 30 per cent,” Mr. Grigsby said.
His company is also a good shepherd of investment dollars, Mr. Grigsby said. Projects are only opened to investor capital toward the mid-point of their development cycle, shortening the gap between investment and return. Investors get priority return on generated revenue after publication until 100 per cent of their investment is paid back. Outside investors receive the same terms as Good Shepherd and their founding partners.
Once investors have been repaid in full, developers receive approximately 60 per cent of proportional payouts, with investors and Good Shepherd evenly splitting the remaining 40.
“Eighteen months out the model has worked to a ‘T’,” Mr. Grigsby said.