Game Investor CAPNOVA Examines Alternative Investment Models

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The Danish game investor CAPNOVA is looking into alternative investment models that will be better at accommodating games that are just moderately successful. 

 

Denmark’s biggest game investor, CAPNOVA, is now looking towards alternative models for game investments. Specifically, they are looking at new models that can better accommodate projects that are only moderately successful, investment manager for CAPNOVA, Allan Rasmussen, tells Nordic Game Bits.

The de-facto most important game investor in Denmark, CAPNOVA, has a huge influence on the Danish games industry.  With approximately 20 million DKK reserved for investments in interactive projects per year, CAPNOVA is the single biggest local investor, as they invest solely in Danish projects.

 

“We are looking into adjusting our model for game investments so that there can be a better fit for projects that are not runaway successes,” Rasmussen explains. The new model is still in the very early phases, with Allan Rasmussen examining different possibilities for adjustments, but one of the things they are looking actively into is a form of slate funding where the investment will cover more than one project from the developer. This is done in order to allow the game developer to incorporate the experiences from their first project into an improved follow-up.

I could see a model where you, as you signed the contract, has agreed that you would be able to release two games, using the experience you got from your first title.

But this is not the only possible adjustment to the investment model that CAPNOVA is considering. “There are several possibilities that we feel are worth exploring,” Rasmussen says.

 

Originally, CAPNOVA started investing in Danish game developers back in 2006 based on a standard equity model. However, in the fall of 2012 they introduced a new so-called game investment model, which allowed for investments on a shorter timescale. According to Allan Rasmussen, this new model proved to be quite successful.

One of the advantages of the game model for investments was that it circumvented the need for a buyout from a larger company, which is often the exit for an investor in classic equity investments. These buyout are much rarer in the games industry because the creative people in the business feel much more connected to their products, and thus less willing to sell. Instead, the game model was based on a faster exit but with a lower potential revenue for CAPNOVA if the title turned out to be a success.

 

But lately the model has faced some criticism from the Danish game development community. The recent shutdown of all future projects at Copenhagen-based Fulll Control saw a considerable part of the blame for the events being put on CAPNOVAS shoulders, and brought new whispers of unfair treatment to surface in the Danish game development community.

Allan Rasmussen

Allan Rasmussen

But while Allan Rasmussen understands some of the criticism, he also emphasizes to Nordic Game Bits that investor exits are usually never easy. “You have two parties, each with a set of different priorities. While the developer will usually be more interested in keeping the company running, the investor will be more interested in getting a good return on their investment.”

 

Especially tricky is the question, if a developer should be allowed a second chance, after producing a moderately successful title, which only generated a revenue comparable to the amount invested. But Rasmussen explains, that in the present game ROI model this is a question purely for the investor to decide.

In the end, it’s up to the investors t decide if you should get a second or third shot at success –  or if they are satisfied with what’s already there.

However, Rasmussen also tells Nordic Game Bits that it can be a very difficult balance to strike. Especially since CAPNOVA is primarily funded by public money, which includes some additional considerations. That means that they are not only looking for the biggest return on the investments possible, but that they also have to look at whether or not they are creating innovation or employment, as these things are also among CAPNOVA’s objectives.

 

But Rasmussen also feels that it’s time to try to accommodate these project that might not be runaway successes. “We have been very satisfied with the game model,” Rasmussen says. “But now it’s time to try and re-evaluate it.”

Jesper K. Kristiansen

Multi-passionate game developer and journalist. Has been writing about the Danish games industry for more than ten years, and creating audio design for both Danish and International games for almost as long.

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