How many games are we not finding? That’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves for a while now. So far, we’ve been funding an average of about 4 games per year, predominantly through introductions, and people and games we randomly come across both in person and online. It’s not bad, but can we be of service to more developers? How many more? The major bottleneck has been, from the very start, our own limited ability to identify Promising Projects* to invest in, not a lack of money. If we spent more time and effort looking for developers and projects, that might help, but we all have full time gigs and operate Indie Fund in our spare time. We simply can’t make more time for it. Starting now, we will be trying something new. We are working with a small team of talented folks from different backgrounds to help us find more promising projects we can get involved with. So far this team includes John Polson (@JohnPolson), Kelly Wallick (@KellyWallick), and Simon Ferrari (@simonFerrari).
John comes from a media and games vetting background. After earning his indie stripes with Boston-based developer Dejobaan, he worked for Simon Carless of UBM Tech, finding games for Indie Royale, running IndieGames.com, assisting with GDC Vault, and testing and judging for IGF. In his spare time, he co-created and organized Media Indie Exchange and alternative controller exhibit alt.ctrl.GDC, both high-exposure efforts for indies doing something different. John will be in LA for E3 (June 10-13), and indies who have a game they’d like to show him can get in touch with him via twitter.
Kelly is the founder of Indie MEGABOOTH, a showcase that brings indie games into the heart of conferences previously dominated by AAA budgets and works to create support networks for small development teams. She’s involved in local community building along with creating cross community networks and acts as an advocate for indie developers with platform holders, distributors, publishers and press. The MEGABOOTH’s current focus is on expanding community support efforts and addressing discoverability issues for indie games.
Simon is a researcher and instructor based out of the NYU Game Center. For four years he assisted Ian Bogost on the Journalism & Games project, writing about games that comment upon (and often parody) current events. These days, Simon mostly works to connect game festivals with the people who design, publicly perform, and live-stream competitive play.
So are we finding all the games we should be finding? Are we missing dozens of projects we could be supporting each year because we’re doing a less than perfect job with outreach, scouting, and research? We honestly don’t know, but we are going to find out. We’re really excited to be working with you, John, Kelly, and Simon! Welcome aboard.
— * A note on what we mean when we say “Promising Projects”: Our goal for Indie Fund is to help developers become, and then stay, independent. What we consider a Promising Project is one that (a) is doing something new/interesting/special/noteworthy/remarkable in our medium, AND (b) stands a good chance of making the developer enough money to self fund their next game.