Back in 2017, an unknown company known as Imackulate Vision (IMV) Gaming came out of nowhere to announce “the return of college football” video games with its upstart Gridiron Champions.
“Gridiron Champions™ is the future of college football video gaming,” the company said in its updated announcement in 2018 while also revealing what modes and features the game would have. Modes like Legacy which was its version of Dynasty Mode; Gridiron Icon, which was simply a career mode; Deep customization; and more. It all sounded like exactly what fans had been waiting for.
Upon that first reveal, many met the game with both skepticism and excitement. It had been so long since a college football video game was released, that a lot people were just clinging and clutching to any hope that one could be coming. So much so that IMV Gaming was able to sell preorder investments of the game without have a single ounce of development done. All they had to go on for those sales was some concept art and an idea.
Fast forward a couple of years later. The company had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the development of the game and it was even announced at one point that seasoned game development shop Big Ant Studios was going to be the team behind building the game.
It got to the point where more questions kept popping up from people about the status of the game. So much so that IMV had to go on the defense about the whole situation.
As part of that defense, August 2019 saw the company release a lengthy statement stating that a reason for the lack of movement was a lawsuit over what the company believed to be “extensive slanderous communications”.
After that release was posted publicly, IMV Gaming once again went silent. This time for nearly a year until July 25, 2020 when it took to Twitter again to post a number of tweets outlining what the company has been dealing with over the last 12 months with, once again, no sign of any sort of development progress.
According to the latest update, the company had been “taken advantage of by a lawyer and advisor” that were hired to help IMV Gaming network with more investors. This pair of individuals allegedly took payment in excess of $300,000 — which it claims was all of the insider presale money, all of the investment capital, and money from personal loans — from IMV with no results to show from it, leading to more litigation for the company against the accused parties.
“We have documented material evidence to support all of our claims against them and prove we were taken advantage of,” IMV stated.
That’s where the first major problem I have comes. The statements IMV made say that they paid two individuals all of the money they raised in order to basically have a chance to network for more money. That lends me to believe that not a single cent was put to actual development of Gridiron Champions. So, you mean to tell me that over $300,000 was raised, and nothing was done to build actual user interfaces, animations, gameplay, mode logic, or even audio?
If it was, then show that because saying “all of” the money was given to these people shows the community that terrible decisions were made and the game never had a chance of hitting a 2020 release date or anywhere even close to it.
Now the company is out of money and forced to start the whole process over due to terrible funds management and poor overall business decisions. It’s promised to refund all of those who’ve invested so far, but that won’t come until they get more money via private investors.
That’s where yet another problem arises, and it’s one that can take a long while to solve and has a good chance of not ending pretty. The executives of the company will be looking for money not to develop or release an actual product, but to pay back all of those whose money was squandered the first time around.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t see how that happens any time soon, if at all. Three years since an initial announcement and, again, no gameplay, in-game images, or any sort of development update. Instead, it was a group that seemed to be in way over their heads.
What happened with the Big Ant partnership? What about the agreement with Flonamix, Inc. that was supposed to see $5 Million invested into the development of the game? What about the initial lawsuit from 2019? Were funds from the presales used for the case? These are answers no one received after the initial announcements and reveals, leaving many frustrated, angry, and believing they were ripped off.
The company is once again saying they will come back and announce when the funds are in hand in order to begin paying back those who initially gave money for the game’s development. Based on past three years, however, it may be a long time that those people are kept waiting.
It just goes to show that while sometimes having an idea about something great can lead to something special, it’s better to have something already in production before asking the public for money.
No matter all of the good intentions, which I personally believe there were behind the idea of Gridiron Champions, raising funds and convincing consumers to pay for something that hadn’t even been started being built yet is something that all future crowd-funded games should take note of. If you’re going to ask the community for money, have something tangible to show.
There’s a saying that says you need to spend money to make money. And while that can and often is true, you also need to be smart with that money and use it to actually advance the game you’re trying to sell.
But, hey, at least they won’t crowdfund in order to have the money to give refunds…