Shroud of the Avatar: Launch Target Now July 2017; New Equity Crowdfunding Pitch
Portalarium dropped a pretty big bit of news during yesterday’s Telethon of the Avatar: the company has begun a new equity crowdfunding campaign to raise additional funding for Shroud of the Avatar, using SeedInvest:
Videogame development company Portalarium is preparing to release Shroud of the Avatar, the spiritual successor to Richard Garriott’s Ultima series. Players that seek to unravel the mysteries of Shroud of the Avatar will find themselves immersed in a deep narrative, co-written by Richard Garriott and New York Times bestselling fantasy author Tracy Hickman, replete with ethical dilemmas and moral consequences that will follow players’ characters throughout the game. Whether as the ruler of a player-owned town with hundreds of real players as residents, a dragon-slaying adventurer, or a master craftsman sought by fellow players across the world of New Britannia, the Shroud of the Avatar sandbox provides players with the next leap in the evolution of massively multiplayer games, a key segment of the games market pioneered by Portalarium founder Richard Garriott in the 1990s. The MMO market has since grown to over $20 billion in annual revenues.
Because the use of SeedInvest requires financial disclosure, we now also have a glimpse into Portalarium’s revenue streams, licensing agreements, and cash on hand:
- Can you talk more about revenue streams?
- We have one such contract with a Russian company that has already paid us a license fee as an advance against additional future royalties. We may sign additional territorial agreements.
- Why is monthly influx of cash in your cash flow so high in July and August 2016?
- Prior to July & August 2016, we erased players in our database approximately every quarter as the game data structures changed. In July 2016, we did our final player data wipe, which allowed played to claim goods and real estate permanently. While players still retained deeds they paid for previous to the final wipe, the specific property claims were all erased and everyone had to find new lots. This really motivated beta players to go online and claim properties that became newly available to the public. We will have a similar purge of storyline game state in Summer 2017 at the start of SoTA official story release launch to incentivize new players from our 200K registrations and others in the network, such as Ultima players, into SoTA.
- What is the current cash position?
- As of May 17th our current cash position is $528k, and we have one of our periodic telethons coming up which commonly net us in excess of $100k additional funds.
And, perhaps even more surprisingly, the SeedInvest page gives us a release date (well, at least a month and year):
The software is currently in development and expected to launch in July 2017 at which point sales are expected to increase.
Massively Overpowered also notes some other findings from the SeedInvest page:
It’s sent Reddit and the official forums into a tizzy as players and detractors question the game’s $25M valuation, its plans to fully launch in July 2017, the story wipe apparently coming, and some of the features touted in the investment briefing that aren’t in the game, like trade routes, a fully player-driven economy, town capture, and console/mobile functionality.
I’m not sure what to make of all of this, apart from the most obvious conclusion: Portalarium is looking to expand their coffers using a similar sort of equity funding option to what Crowfall rather successfully employed. If successful, it’ll give the company a leg up not only on fine-tuning Shroud of the Avatar for its initial release, but also for future development of later episodes in its planned storyline.