We have seen a number of small independent game developers use the crowd-sourcing business model to help fund the making of their games. Web sites like Kickstarter have served to help raise money from the public for some of these efforts. Today a big game developer who has created two major retail racing titles for publisher Electronic Arts has announced that it will be using the crowd-sourcing model to help fund its next project.
Gamesindustry.biz (free registration required) reports that UK-based Slightly Mad Studios, who developed the Need For Speed Shift games for EA, has announced plans to create a free-to-play racing game called C.A.R.S. But instead of looking for a traditional publisher, it will be enlisting the game community to not only help fund the game but also to assist in its development. Under the terms of the business model, Slightly Mad will sell shares in the development of the game to individuals for $5 and $10. Groups can buy shares for $250 and small businesses can chip in for $1,000. Major businesses and investors will be able to help fund C.A.R.S.' development for $100,000.
Slightly Mad Studios plans to keep 30 percent of the profits from C.A.R.S. and the rest will be divided up between the other shareholders. Revenues for the game will be generated by micro-transactions with prices ranging from 10 cents to $10. In addition to funding the game, the shareholders will also be able to play early versions of C.A.R.S. until the final game is ready for release. The developer claims that if the game generates a $25 million profit, a person who bought a $10 share will get back $35. There's no word yet on when the company will start accepting offers to help fund the game in this manner.