A New Way to Support Diversity in Games: Introducing Found Loot!

"Sometimes all you need is a little boost to keep going, so we're trying to do that.”

by The Editor & Tanya DePass on July 27th, 2016

This week, we’re really excited to share a new initiative for diversity in games: Found Loot!

Found Loot brings people in gaming together to help fund new games and gaming projects by and for diverse creators. It’s started by #INeedDiverseGames, led by founder Tanya DePass, and is seeking new members now. Participants in Found Loot pledge $50 a month, and fund a different game, gaming project or related initiative each and every month.

Found Loot fills a vital gap in the gaming space: often, diverse creators are cut out from mainstream games funding and profits, don’t have access to major games publications and events, and face serious harassment that profoundly threatens their work. And while online harassment has brought diversity in gaming into the spotlight, that awareness hasn’t always translated into tangible support for the work of marginalized creators in the field. Further, major crowdfunding campaigns on platforms like Kickstarter aren’t necessarily the right choice for independent creators, leaving them with few other options; for these creators, Found Loot provides a promising alternative. “We’re looking for things that don’t quite fit into a Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or GoFundMe campaign,” Tanya told us. “Sometimes all you need is a little boost to keep going, so we’re trying to do that.”

A group of four Black and brown gamers sitting in a living room, watching one of their group, holding a game controller, play intently.

Found Loot is modeled off of Fund Club, our joint project with AlterConf. Here’s how it works:

Each month, members will receive an email announcing that month’s pick, and will have seven days to fund it. Members donate directly to the creators — so there’s no middleman — and can leave at anytime. To ensure consistent funding, members who don’t donate will be removed at the end of each round, but can rejoin at any time without penalty. The best part? All projects, games, and other initiatives will directly benefit marginalized creators, and go to supporting their work.

One of the reasons why Found Loot is really exciting for us is because it specifically focuses on small collectives and individual creators, game-makers and activists. These are often the leaders doing the most innovative and creative work in the space, yet often struggling the most to get the funding needed to thrive. Found Loot is specifically seeking to fund games by smaller studios or single-person teams, as well as podcasts and online publications that are focused on gaming.

So, how can you help? If you have $50 a month to spare, please join Found Loot today — the first funding round starts in August, and it’s a fun and easy way to contribute directly to better games, better representation, and a more supportive ecosystem for diverse creators in video games. For people who can’t afford to directly participate, spreading the word with a Tweet, Facebook post, blog entry or email to friends is a huge help! And if you, or someone you know, has a great game or gaming project that needs funding, apply to be a Found Loot pick here.