In the past, game makers set a monetary goal for their 30-day campaigns and only received the money if they managed to reach or surpass that number by the end of the month. With Fig’s new Open Access model (now available as a beta test), studios receive the funding right away and don’t have to stick to a specific timetable.
Instead of working toward a monetary goal, developers use content roadmaps and feature-based milestones to show the progress of their campaigns. After investing into the project, backers will receive the latest build of the game, one that’ll continue to receive free updates throughout the Open Access period.
The first indie game to take advantage of Open Access is Vagrus — The Riven Realms, a strategy role-playing game for PC from Budapest-based Lost Pilgrims. It has already passed several milestones with $11,500 raised. The next game to launch in Open Access will be Fowers Games’s Pegleg on May 15, which mixes pinball with tower defense mechanics.
According to a representative from Fig, developers will still have the option to use the original 30-day campaign model if they want. But unlike Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sites, Fig decides which studios they work with — past campaigns have come from companies like Double Fine, Obsidian (before Microsoft acquired it), and Harmonix.
Open Access is an attempt to blend the popular Early Access model (from Steam and other digital platforms) with the community aspects of crowdfunding campaigns. While similar to Early Access, Open Access’s main differentiating factor is its structured milestone system — certain mechanics and features will only be added if the project reaches these mini-funding goals.
“The traditional crowdfunding structure no longer works for video games and a 30-day campaign isn’t enough time to properly build long lasting awareness for an indie game,” said Fig founder Justin Bailey in a statement. “As much time as it takes to build a great game, it takes just as long to build a strong community. … [Open Access] provides developers with the ability to immediately and positively impact their financial situation, the game’s development cycle, and organically sustain awareness growth.”