We put together a bunch of technology demos and showcased them at a variety of conferences to build interest and discuss potential partnerships with publishers. After speaking with more than 20 publishers I decided that it wasn’t an avenue that I wanted to pursue. It ranged from reasons including to shitty deals, corporate mentality and DLC intentions. With this decided we began pursuing other platforms for raising capital, including investors and online crowd-sourcing.
In February 2011 we began our Kickstarter campaign. Back then this wasn’t a wildly known platform and no major games had used it to launch their products. It had an element of risk attached to it and we kept to a lower overall goal of $10,000 to cover the Multiplayer Beta, Conferences and Marketing. In the end we had raised nearly $18,000 - $15,000 of which we were to keep after payment processing.
This was the largest sum of money we had ever obtained and while it seemed like much it really wasn’t. In comparison that amount is roughly 1/4th of one AAA game developers salary. This not only had to cover a significant chunk of development but also play multiple developers and assist with conferences and marketing. We needed to supplement this and to do so without a standard publisher.
Over the Summer of 2011 my brother had mentioned he had a friend out in London who would be interested in investing. This was of course very appealing to me as I needed to supplement our Kickstarter capital sooner than later. It was my first company and the idea of anyone finding it appealing enough to put their own money into was extremely captivating, attractive and tempting. This is where things started to go very sour.
What originally began as an extremely fair and easy deal between the company and Investor ended up spiraling out of control. My brother ended up trying to protect and side with the investor by sharing confidential business documents, details of other dealings with publishers/partners to aid the Investor in negotiation as well as trying to increase the Investors take back by a 3x multiple.
At this point I had to step back into the business aspects to complete the deal just in order to continue development. I was able to revert the deal back to its original and fair terms.
Shortly after I flew to Germany for GamesCom 2011 and connected flights out to London to meet with the Investor in person for the first time. We went to a big dinner and then had drinks and talked about anything and everything to sort of figure each other out. By the time we were done I’d say we were both confident in both the mentality and plan of things going forward. I flew back to the States to get back to work.
At this point I had self-invested thousands of dollars and an immense amount of time towards Orion over the last 10 years. My brother also assisted with expenses approaching the 2011 Kickstarter and Conferences. Originally this was an intended arrangement in exchange for a significant portion of the company via very loose details. Once the money landed it became obvious to me that new terms had to be updated and expanded. So I had arranged for a Skype call to figure out what to do with him and his amounts.
My brother wanted every penny for everything he had put forward immediately from our first investment rather than waiting a few months and to take it from net profits instead. This would be sabotage. This wasn't acceptable and so I offered two other deals. The first was where he’d be able to get his loaned money back 1:1 from net profits and in addition a small game royalty (instead of company) to supplement this OR to keep the originally intended company royalty, where the money wouldn't act as a loan and instead the percentage of company ownership would be the repayment method. In addition, if he were to choose the company ownership route he’d need to be more involved, more present including things like attending conferences when needed and to attend developer meetings.