4mm Games came on the scene this year with Rockstar co-founders Jamie King and Gary Forman at the helm. Def Jam Rapstar, a hip-hop rapping game with video sharing features, will be the first title from the New York based studio.
How did a brand new studio get the funding to develop a game and pick up the Def Jam license, which juggernaut Electronic Arts previously held? I spoke with Nick Perrett, CEO of 4mm Games, to find out.
Why did you want to join 4mm?
Nick Perrett, CEO: One of the things I was most interested in before I came on board 4mm is there was this concept of the developer getting funding that would allow them to retain control of their IP (intellectual property) for a lot longer than they would normally do. They would have the freedom to choose who their publishing partner would be rather than ‘I’m going to run out of money next month, I need to go with this guy.’
How did you get funding to start the studio?
The company we’re working is CEA Autumn, it’s a new fund. CEA is actually a media investment bank in New York and they have like forty funds and a billion dollars under management. They do everything from mobile to mainstream publishing and they didn’t have any presence in games.
Their basis in entering it is it’s one of the best areas of entertainment to make money. Really, we have a great relationship with them and it’s slate oriented. It’s like film financing where you get a slate of films. We’re being funded for a slate of games.
[Editor’s note: Slate financing is when a company receives funding for multiple films or in 4mm’s case games. This is one way a financier can spread risk instead of investing all of their proverbial eggs in one title.]
How did you get the license to Def Jam?
We got introduced to Def Jam by Paul who was a SVP (Senior Vice President) at Warner Music and was an advisor to Def Jam while they were putting together Def Jam Mobile and things like that. He was one of the hires of the management team. He had a really great relationship with Kevin Liles [Warner Music Group Executive Vice President]. Kevin met Jamie [King, Founder of Rockstar] and they kind of hit it off.
I know Def Jam Rapstar is your first game, but are you working on any other projects?
We are, but we’re not talking about them at the moment.