Game engine developer Unity is launching a new accelerator initiative called the Game Growth Program, intended to help indie developers working on mobile game projects.
The program will choose certain developers and provide them with access to various resources and funding for user acquisition, as well as a team of Unity developers to help provide guidance on growth strategies. Unity has stated that any partners in the program will have full creative control and ownership of their IP, nor will there be any permanent revenue sharing commitments to Unity once the program is completed.
A statement from Julie Shumaker, a VP with Unity, reads as follows: "Great games often go unnoticed, especially within the indie segment. We believe creators shouldn't choose between their entertainment vision and the tactical execution required to build audiences and make money. Ultimately, the Game Growth Program supports developers in the journey to yield the highest success for their game all while retaining ownership of their company and IP. Our measurement for success is that these participating developers will eventually outgrow the program because they've built a sustainable business that can stand on its own as a result."
Food For Thought
The basic criteria for joining the program are pretty straightforward (has to be using Unity for the game's engine, free-to-play, connected to the Unity Dashboard, English language support, aimed at the teen and older age groups). But the criteria for being selected for the program seems kind of arcane, very much a "many will enter, few will win" sort of scenario. Moreover, the revenue sharing model sounds oddly skewed. Unity puts up the money to grow the user base (assuming X number of dollars per month for those efforts), then takes the cost of those efforts out of the new monthly gross income, along with half of anything that's left over. If the new monthly gross is less than the amount of money Unity puts up, the indie studio risks never seeing a dime. Unless the game is wildly successful, the increased revenue going to the studio is going to be severely constrained as far as growing their operations.