We spoke with Blind Squirrel CEO Brad Hendricks to get some insight on the video game industry, and why he finds the need to receive funding is imperative to his business’s success.
Building Upon Their Strengths
Brad Hendricks isn’t your typical video game developer’s CEO. “You normally see game designers and artists running development studios,” Hendricks admits, “but I’ve created relationships and have the experience necessary to get a company rolling.” In fact, Hendricks was presented with an opportunity to start a development studio on a project, but had to create one within two weeks.
“[My contact] said ‘You got two weeks. I want the legal entities and everything taken care of,’ so I just did it. That’s how Blind Squirrel was born,” Hendricks says. Since then, Blind Squirrel has more than doubled their staff, and are looking to expand even more. Soon, they’re moving their humble studio in Orange County to a much larger workspace only a few miles away.
Game development requires several levels of production. There are first-party developers, who are the brains behind the ideas — the creators, if you will. Often, these developers need an extra hand in programming, sometimes in design, so they seek third-party developers to accomplish these tasks. This is where Blind Squirrel comes in, and where they want to evolve from — into a first-party developer.
Costs of Development
“What most people don’t realize is that making video games can cost tens of millions and we have seen some games sky-rocket to well over $100 million to develop, putting them right up there with some of the biggest blockbuster movie budgets,” Hendricks says. “With the next generation of consoles coming out (later this year), it’s necessary for Blind Squirrel to keep up with the technology you need to develop for this next generation. Securing this technology is critical to the success of our company.”
Blind Squirrel first approached Business Finance Store in June 2012, after recently working on the wildly popular Bioshock video game trilogy. Business Finance Store was able to get Blind Squirrel the funding they needed to hire more employees and upgrade their equipment to finish work on the latest Bioshock title — Bioshock Infinite — which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. In addition to Bioshock, they’ve been able to work on other incredibly popular video game titles like Borderlands 2 — which sold 6 million copies worldwide. Now a highly-sought after developer, Blind Squirrel plans to grow even further, and open up even more opportunities for them. They recently returned to Business Finance Store with plans to develop their own games!
Hendricks also says that it’s very difficult to get financial backing from game publishers, as it is a huge risk to invest in a game. In fact, very few publishers want to make this risk, and is why you see a lot of the same games — and sequels — on store shelves.
With a strong track record working on games such as the Bioshock Trilogy, Borderlands 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Hendricks is setting his sights on becoming one of the most sought-after game developers in the industry.
Author: Antonio Javier
"The Essential Blog to help Start-ups & Small Businesses grow"