Former Bungie CEO publicly unveils his new multi-studio games company

    
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Harold Ryan, the man who led Bungie for 15 years, has re-entered the games industry with a new company called ProbablyMonsters, which works a bit like a publisher but not exactly.

Allow me to explain: ProbablyMonsters is a company that effectively invests in new game studios and becomes a majority owner of those studios. The company helps these new games studios with business planning, creating a vision for a game, and development support. Furthermore, any studio that launches under the ProbablyMonsters umbrella is reportedly free to leave and go indie at any time — a topic that is likely close to Ryan’s heart, as he was the driving force behind Bungie leaving Microsoft in 2007.

“The goal is to build development teams that eventually don’t need me,” said Ryan in an interview. “In success, those teams have the opportunity to become wholly independent.”

ProbablyMonsters has been working under the radar since 2016, having already linked up with two studios, Firewalk Studios and Cauldron Studios, both of which are working on AAA-level titles and have been picked up by major publishers.

source: Gamasutra

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kjempff
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kjempff

To the critical comments. Remember that most games would never exist if it weren’t for funding. Sometimes(most of the times) it is better to actually make your game idea come true and share the success, than never getting anywhere with it.
Also, investing in games has a very high failure rate. An exceptionally good deal would be a buyout option (buying out the investor) and anywhere up to 20x the invested as return is fine. Not a lot of investors offer a buyout option..I do not know what this one does.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

If they are majority owners in the studios, how could a studio ever decide that it wants to go independent?

And realistically, would a majority owner let a real success story, a very profitable studio go independent?

Letting moderately profitable studios to go to independent to show others that the model works, yes – but if they have a studio which turns out to be the equivalent of a goose laying golden eggs, I am somewhat doubtful…

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mysecretid

Read more. Changed my mind.

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Anstalt

As long as the details of contracts between Probably Monsters and whatever studio they are funding are ethical and benefit both sides, then this seems like a great idea.

Just sounds like a business incubation service provider really, but focused on games. I’ll be curious to see what comes out of it all.

On a more personal note, Harold Ryan basically has my dream job! Essentially an investor, he can inject cash into other peoples businesses (thereby shaping the industry by his choices of who to invest in), then gets to have loads of exciting meetings and discussions about games. Those other people then go off and do the hard work, and Harold gets the satisfaction of watching these fledgling companies grow and be successful whilst hopefully getting a nice return on his investment.

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Bruno Brito

ProbablyMonsters is a company that effectively invests in new game studios and becomes a majority owner of those studios. The company helps these new games studios with business planning, creating a vision for a game, and development support.

You know what this sounds like? An abusive relationship. The split is always hell on the dependant party, and they go through a lot to be able to stand on their own two feet, specially when it’s about money.

And what MilitiaMaster said too. They’ll buy cheap, it’ll go big, they’ll get out with all the money and rights, and the smaller company will be left in the dust, like EA studios when they loot them.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

ProbablyMonsters is a company that effectively invests in new game studios and becomes a majority owner of those studios.

In other words, they make the money when it goes big, and walk away with the rights to what someone else created. See also : Scam

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Matthew Yetter

You seem not to have read the rest of it. The other party is free to leave at any time. To do this they most likely have to buy out ProbablyMonsters, plus a percentage.

They put up most of the money to get that somebody else off the ground. They are entitled to make a higher percentage of what that title ultimately brings in, or to at least get a return on that investment if the other party decides to part ways. Both sides win, no matter which way it goes. That’s not a scam; it’s fair.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

In your opinion maybe.

But after being told for years ‘To pull myself up by my bootstraps’ and ‘use my own grit’ and then watching companies left and right taking advantage of others with nonsense like this, I view behavior like this as what it is.

When there are people in society with so much money they are bleeding it, and others who are struggling hard just to even get food, I don’t see someone’s hard work being ‘less valuable’ just because some other person has more money…and can walk away with even more.

Especially since most people with money didn’t even EARN IT, they inherited it, or lucked into it, or some other happenstance that made their situation ‘flush’.

There’s a huge imbalance in things of this nature and it’s growing…pushed by a lot of corruption and blase attitudes about things like this.

It’s similar to people talking to someone with an idea, and then going and patenting it before they can. It’s scuzzy.

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Arktouros

Neat.

Lets see how many of his game studios sell out to Epic.

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Scott Leyes

Too bad he couldn’t raise enough money to pay a graphic designer to choose a decent typeface and/or adjust the kerning to not look like sh*t.

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Arktouros

I can’t unsee it…

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Baemir

Oh please, his nephew has at least 2 years of experience with Paint.NET.