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Gamefam launches multi-million dollar fund for UGC creators


Gamefam has created a $5 million fund for user-generated content (UGC) creators working on Roblox, Fortnite and other UGC gaming platforms.

Gamefam calls itself a metaverse media company for GenZ and Gen Alpha. It has more than 30 live-service games across Roblox and Fortnite, with more than 30 billion lifetime visits and 12 million average daily visits, said Joe Ferencz, CEO of Gamefam, in an interview with GamesBeat.

One-quarter of the funds are reserved exclusively for investments in creators from underrepresented backgrounds. The commitment follows Gamefam’s emphasis on supporting all players and developers as they make their mark on the vibrant gaming industry.

The 25% of the fund going to underrepresented creators is “part of our commitment to being a great community member in the creative community and to the values of diversity, which is a strong value at Gamefam,” Ferencz said.


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How the fund works

Gamefam has had good results on UGC platforms.

The Gamefam Creator Fund is a pool of capital up to $5 million available to fund the most ambitious game ideas across Roblox, Fortnite and other UGC gaming platforms. Gamefam aims to support and give back to the rapidly-growing creator community in UGC gaming with seed funding, expert advice and proprietary resources for the most innovative creator visions, Ferencz said.

Selected creators will be awarded funding between $10,000 and $100,000. The creators will benefit from game design advice and roadmap planning. Gamefam’s expert team will provide invaluable guidance in game design and roadmap planning, ensuring creator projects reach their full potential and remain on track.

It will also offer monetization guidance. Gamefam will share proprietary tools and proven best practices to help developers maximize opportunities for monetization.

Gamefam specializes in bringing brands and IPs to UGC gaming with scale and impact, and with established partner relationships, Gamefam will provide brand opportunities for games in the fund.

The company will also give creators access to Gamefam assets. With access to Gamefam’s repository of custom pre-made assets and intellectual property, creators selected for the fund will be able to streamline the development process, saving both time and energy.

Gamefam will also help with marketing and influencers. The firm will ensure creator experiences resonate deeply within Gen Z and Alpha communities across social media platforms where they live when they’re not in the metaverse.

And it will provide access to analytics. Gamefam’s multi-faceted measurement solutions offer developers comprehensive insights into player behavior, in-game engagements and monetization strategies, allowing creators to optimize games in real time to meet audience preferences.

Ferencz said, “We are extremely proud to unveil the Gamefam Creator Fund, designed to give the next generation of creator heroes the resources they need to build amazing experiences for amazing communities. Since day one, Gamefam has set out to amplify the voices and visions of developers on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. After 5 years as the leader in this space, we are delighted to share financial resources and best practices as part of our long-term commitment to championing creators and creative innovation and excellence. – the Gamefam Creator Fund is another tangible example of our dedication to the community.”

Each deal will take the form of an investment, where creators retain ownership of their content and Gamefam gets a meaningful part of the business.

The funding amounts will be doled out on a rolling basis until the fund is fully deployed. Over time, Ferencz said he hopes the fund will grow bigger, as third parties and creators have requested a chance to put money into it.

The thinking behind the fund

Joe Ferencz is CEO of Gamefam.

“Since we started the company five years ago, our goal has been to partner with Roblox creators and support them in creating the next generation of mega hit franchises from UGC gaming,” Ferencz said.

He said the company has been doing funding on a one-off basis, strategically picking games and pouring resources into them.

“We realized that what makes Roblox go is really the zeitgeist and serendipity of innovation. And so this is an initiative to move even faster,” he said. “We already moved very fast. And we want to move at the speed of Roblox because there are new releases all the time.”

He added, “And the way to do that is to partner with the creative community, knowing that whatever they were going to do on their own, with a combination of financial and best practice, and tangible asset resources from game plan, we’ll be able to do it even faster.”

Other funds like Epic Mega Grants have been focused on pushing technical boundaries or a particular agenda. Ferencz said this fund will highlight creativity.

“We’re really looking for the most exciting, creative ideas. It could be something that exists in the blocky-looking graphics. Something that exists in the highest resolution graphics that platforms can offer — that’s not part of our selection criteria. Our selection criteria is will it delight players.”

Eligibility

Gamefam Super Bowl activation.

Eligible creators and projects must meet the following guidelines:

  • The fund will largely be focused on Roblox and Fortnite but all UGC games are eligible for consideration.
  • Global: There are no applicant restrictions based on location. Gamefam wants to hear about the best game ideas from wherever creators are.
  • Game Status: Entrants must have a working prototype of the game in consideration. If not, entrants should have launched games in the past.
  • Employment: Entrants must not be a full-time employee of a video game company. Selection for the fund must not conflict with any agreements with existing employers.

Entries will be reviewed by a roundtable of judges including Gamefam employees – across game development, marketing, finance and operations – and industry leaders from Gamefam’s advisory board and investor partners. Well-known UGC game creators will also be participating in the initiative.

The Gamefam Creator Fund is currently open for applications. The Gamefam team will reach out if they want to learn more. Entries will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Gamefam’s growth

Sonic was a huge success for Sega and Gamefam.

Established in 2019 as an early professional Roblox developer, Gamefam now has a huge audience and a stable of brand partners. The intellectual property partners include Paramount, Warner Music Group, the NFL, Netflix, Mattel, Sony, Sega, Samsung and Crunchyroll.

Some brands like Barbie, Sonic, Hot Wheels and SpongeBob Squarepants have done fantastically, Ferencz said. Titles built by creator s such as Super League Soccer and War Tycoon and Car Dealership Tycoon are also pretty massive, he said.

“Roblox is a mix of the creator and brands and anything and everything can happen on a given day,” he said.

Gamefam’s top branded and original franchises include Sonic Speed Simulator, Twilight Daycare, Barbie DreamHouse Tycoon, SpongeBob Simulator, Deadpines: Zombie Survival, Obby But on a Bike HD, Super League Soccer and Car Dealership Tycoon.

As for Roblox, Ferencz said it is considered by brands to be the most important gaming platform from a user and audience engagement standpoint. But he added that it is not yet at the scale of revenue that can be achieved with mobile free to play games or console.

“That’s still coming online and growing all the time. So we are looking at how to build long-term strategies for global brands, where Roblox is a critical engagement platform the same way Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

Case studies in success

War Tycoon

I also interviewed Michael Galstyan, creator and publisher of War Tycoon at Gamefam, (known in the Roblox community as KizmoTek), and Matt Zanazzo, head of Fortnite at Gamefam (known in the Fortnite community as “Immature Gamer“).

“The resources provided by the Gamefam Creator Fund are very similar to the model that catapulted my game War Tycoon in just two years to become the No. 1 game in its genre and a top 25 overall game on the platform,” Galstyan said. “Gamefam has the amplification solutions, data analytics and overall best practices for live operations in the segment, and they work even better with a passionate creator-owner at the forefront. We can’t wait to meet some new creator-partners through the fund.”

Zanazzo is an influencer in the Fortnite community and he created Infinite Zonewars.

Regarding the Gamefam fund, Zanazzo said, “I’m proud to work for a company that is so focused on helping the creator community. It’s not just about funding projects; it’s about helping the next generation of game industry professionals find their voice and footing so they can delight audiences around the world and be a force for fun and joy. As a creator and developer whose Fortnite studio found a home with Gamefam a few years ago, I’m excited to further support creators in whatever corner of the metaverse gaming world they’re building in.”

Infinite Zonewars

Zanazzo said, “What really attracted me to Gamefam was just their wealth of knowledge. For years, they’ve proven they can make hit after hit. We’ve seen larger studios coming into Fortnite and they’re trying to set their foothold here. It’s hard. And that’s what Gamefam really brings. They’ve been around. They know the UGC space better than anyone and understand what players are looking for.”

Ferencz said the selection committee is still being formed, with creators like Galstyan and Zanazzo likely joining it as well as seasoned developers from traditional games. Gamefam will look at the top genres on the UGC platforms and look for product-market fit as well as innovation.

Galstyan’s game became a small hit when it launched, but Gamefam helped take it to another level. Galstyan was able to work on deeper mechanics to keep players focused on coming back to a “live service” game. Gamefam helped with things like renaming the game as War Tycoon, which a more broadly appealing name than the original Oil Warfare. It helped with SEO, revised the logo, and hired people who understood how to make weapons and vehicles for such games. The KPIs grew and the game has had more than 400 million plays to date. It is the No. 1 military game on Roblox.

Ferencz said that Zanazzo created a game years ago called Infinite Zone for Fortnite. It had great KPIs at the time, but it fell out of prominence with the Fortnite algorithm. Gamefam will relaunch that game in conjunction with one of the biggest Fortnite influencers in the world.

“That’s the kind of thing that Gamefam can do,” Ferencz said. “I always say we can’t guarantee we’ll get a deal with anybody we target, but we can guarantee we can get in touch with almost anybody in the world. And that is valuable to indie creators who don’t necessarily have that network.”

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