For nearly a decade, Digital Development Management has focused on representing a growing roster of videogame creators. But over the last several weeks, the company has significantly expanded into financing and producing games as well.
The company has formed a joint venture with Marc Jackson’s Seahorn Capital Group to launch Seahorn Investments, which will help secure capital for new game projects for DDM’s clients.
Seahorn has focused on financing interactive media and videogames since it was founded in 2008. It helped launch Big Red Button Entertainment, Fearless Studios and Rocksteady Studios (behind the “Arkham” Batman franchise) by managing more than $150 million in project and equity financing for clients like Warner Bros., Eidos Interactive and completion bond company Film Finances.
New division will help raise funds for DDM’s clients by orchestrating private placements, mergers and acquisitions and complex project financing structures or by brokering deals with angel investor and incubation partners.
Jackson, Seahorn Capital Group’s managing director and founder, as well as finance director for Seahorn Investments, said he wanted to take the financial models that have worked in the independent film world and apply them to videogames.
With more platforms emerging through which games are distributed and monetized, “It can be a tricky space if you’re an institutional investor to fund and take advantage of the huge consumer embrace of interactive entertainment,” Jackson said. “It’s not about hits anymore. You have to throw in the notion of platform changes and all the areas of the game industry that are being impacted by different models where people are spending money to play games,” he added.
“Seahorn is the premier investment firm for financing in the videogame industry,” said Joe Minton, president of DDM. “When we looked to add a finance arm to the slate of services we offer our clients, Marc and his team were the obvious choice. His expertise in this industry is a great asset and by joining forces with Seahorn, we are now a true one-stop shop for all videogame business initiatives.”
The financing option “was the piece that was missing from our arsenal to be able to talk to any party who wants to do work in this business,” Minton said. That’s become increasingly valuable as more publishers ask developers to find financing for their games, especially mobile apps.
Seahorn has already begun working with Tequila Works (“Deadlight”) to secure funds for its next game.
Last month, DDM launched its Games Production Services division to offer up a network of service providers through which its developer and publisher clients can produce, launch and promote their games globally.
For example, Massive Black provides illustration, artwork and animation support, while Imagination Studios produces motion capture and animation, Levenson Artists Agency offers up the composers and sound designers that it reps, Games Production Services provides marketing and brand services, and Localize Direct releases products in multiple languages.
DDM felt it needed to launch the division as large publishers seek out projects they can distribute across new mobile and digital platforms on which consumers are playing more games — and are relying on content creators to mostly finance themselves.
“With the current platform proliferation and increased reliance on outsourcing, finding the best services for your game can be daunting,” Minton said. The GPS division “demystifies the process by providing personalized introductions to the right service providers, which can save money, time and aggravation,” he added.
DDM had already inked a deal with Trans Technologies to form Red Stallion Interactive and develop games specifically designed for the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East. It also has a deal with Verve to develop games with writers, producers and directors it manages like “Tron: Legacy” helmer Joe Kosinski, “RED” and “Battleship” writing duo Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber and Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”).
Company reps such developers as Ninja Theory (“Devil May Cry”), Yager (“Spec Ops: The Line”) and Zombie Studios (“Blacklight: Retribution”), as well as Terminal Reality (“The Walking Dead” games).