1047 Games raises $ 100 million thanks to the huge success of its debut title, Splitgate – TechCrunch

When you are hot, you are hot. And 1047 Games takes full advantage of the heat generated by Splitgate, his first game and now a great success. After working with very little money for years, the team has raised since May Three rounds, the last for $ 100 million.

Co-founder and CEO Ian Proulx credited a dedicated community and, as he described it, “taking a Silicon Valley approach to running a gaming business.”

At the time 1047 Games was founded, about 5 years ago, free (f2p) PC games were a niche genre. While games like Tank world and Warframe were succeeding and of course many mobile games relied on in-app purchases, Fortnite I had yet to prove to the industry that f2p could be so ridiculously profitable.

“5 years ago it was very successful driven – you spend years developing a product, you spend all this money promoting the launch, and then you hope it’s a success,” Proulx explained. “Our process was that there is no way we can take that risk: if we spent our entire budget and did it wrong, we complain. So we thought, let’s do a soft launch, put it up and see what happens, let’s learn, let’s listen, let’s look at the data. Why would I spend money marketing a product that I have no idea if it will be a success? If we wanted to spend money and we didn’t have a lot, I’d rather spend it on a product that has great metrics and KPIs. “

If you are not familiar with it, Splitgate is a competitive multiplayer online shooter with a lot of DNA from old school sand shooters like Earthquake 3, Unreal tournament, and aura. Those games are frantic enough, but Splitgate adds the ability to fold space with portals, like the eponymous Portal, adding a really ridiculous amount of mobility to the action.

Screenshot of the Splitgate game showing a player pointing through a portal

Image credits: 1047 Games

Proulx said investors repeatedly shut the door on him because they didn’t see Splitgate competing in any of the popular genres, battle royales and hero shooters, for example. But he was sure this update to a family formula would be a success in part because the demand was there, just sleeping. “People grew up playing these games, and the reason [the market] He’s dead, it’s not because they stopped loving them, ”he said. “Nobody has moved the needle because there has not been a lot of innovation and there has not been something that is accessible to the masses. Quake Arena it’s great, but it’s extremely difficult. No 12 years Fortnite the child is going to play it. We really fill this void. “

While the game Splitgate is more obviously similar to classic shooters, Proulx said a better comparison would be Rocket league, another great gaming success story that took a great concept and provided it as cheaply as possible, making money off of totally optional cosmetic items and other perks.

“You can just have fun, turn off your brain and play games, but there is an unlimited skill limit,” he explained.

However, it has not emerged fully formed since 1047 in 2019. The team released the game equivalent of a minimum viable product. “It was fun, and the basics were there,” he said, “but we learned that there is much more to running a business and playing for free than just having fun.”

The danger for any game is simply people stopping playing, so the team focused on retention and listening to community feedback to make. Splitgate a “forever game” that can last for years with “seasons”, new features and maps, and more.

MVP’s original release had some traction, around 600,000 downloads in its first month, but the big multiplatform relaunch, still as an “open beta”, this summer caused quite a stir, with over 10 million in July.

Suddenly the tables had turned and 1047 contained, as Proulx put it, “lightning in a bottle.”

“Our first round six months ago was extremely difficult. We spoke with all investors on the planet and they all said no, “he recalled. But the hard work paid off: “We were lucky and ended up with the perfect partners – I can’t stress enough the support our investors have provided.”

The next round (with Human Capital, like Splitgate It took off, went from the phone call to financing over a weekend. This third round, with 1047 picking and choosing, was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from “Insight Partners, Anthos Capital and previous initial round investors Galaxy Interactive, VGames, Human Capital, Lakestar, DraperDragon and Draper University” ( press release).

One wonders what a team of less than ten people could do with $ 100 million ($ 116 million if the previous two rounds are counted). But the bet investors are making is not that 1047 is suddenly going to make Assassin’s creedrather, they think that ten million (and growing) people playing a unique game is potentially a great opportunity – Yes developers have a chance to move on. This post-hype period is death valley for many games, developers starving after streamers and curious casuals moved in. But the funding means that, for 1047, it’s a license to hire like crazy and duplicate.

“The scope of what we can do now is through the roof,” Proulx said. “There are so many things we couldn’t think of because we were a small team on a tight budget, but now everything is on the table. We are focusing on the long term; I consider the game to be 25 percent over. We don’t need to be Fortnite tomorrow, but now it’s really about building the next Riot Games, the next big gaming business. “

In the meantime, Splitgate itself is still on the road to 1.0 and Proulx says the team can now really focus on making it the game they and the community have been shaping for years. He noted that many players have stayed with the team for years and helped make the game what it is, and that their contributions are just as important now.

“We read everything, we are listening, keep getting feedback. We continue to operate as the independent team that had to be close to our community. We’re still in that mindset, “Proulx said,” but now we have a ridiculous amount of money. “


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