Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune has a long history of calling out game developers of his native Japan, but now he is turning from criticism to action.
Inflexion Point Capital is a new Singapore-based $15 million gaming fund that provides seed funding to independent mobile developers in Japan. The company will dole out investments between $100,000 and $500,000 to companies that it deems worthy. Inafune, who is chief executive officer of startup developer Comcept, is advising the fund, which wants to focus on Japan due to the country’s huge mobile-gaming industry and development talent. The mobile-app tracking firm App Annie reported that Japan is the top market for mobile spending, and it has held that title since October.
With someone like Inafune involved, IPC doesn’t plan to just write a check and then wait for a return on investment. The company instead intends to act as a “synthetic publisher,” according to chief operating officer Alexander de Giorgio.
“As a company, we aim to combine the best elements of a business incubator, a venture capital fund, and a traditional publisher in order to invest in and support the growth of startup video game studios,” de Giorgio said in an interview with the website Games In Asia. “In essence, we replicate the role of a publisher but provide significant additional benefits without handcuffing the developers with deeply unfavorable financial terms. Our goal is for the studios to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining as soon as possible.”
We’ve reached out to IPC for more details about the terms it is offering developers as well as how it is compensating Inafune, and we’ll update this post with any new information.
IPC will research potential companies and try to figure out their shortcomings. The firm will then work to address those needs in a very hands-on way. Those hands will often belong to Inafune, who has a long history in gaming. He started as an artist and advanced up to the president of publishing at Capcom. He oversaw Mega Man, Resident Evil, and Dead Rising, and he has had some harsh words for Japanese games over the last few years.
“I look around Tokyo Game Show, and everyone’s making awful games,” Inafune said in 2010. “Japan is at least five years behind.”
Involving Inafune in a lead role like this suggests that IPC wants new developers that are on the cutting edge creatively.
“We want to take the risk that other late-stage investors are unable or unwilling to accept because we believe the potential upside is significantly higher at this stage,” de Giorgio said.
Inafune is now working on a spiritual successor to Mega Man called Mighty No. 9 at Comcept. He will maintain that role while performing his duties with IPC.
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