FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

We get approached with a lot of offers by firms offering services, especially wanting us to outsource. A lot of them don’t understand our business model or structure to understand we don’t tend to outsource.

Here is an overview of our business operations structure.

FSpace Publications as a game development company is effectively a virtual corporation, but legally is set up a specific way to comply with New Zealand regulations.

At it’s heart is a sole trader owned and operated by Martin Rait, and this is where the trade name is used. This business is a single owner/operator employee, has no other staff, and never has other staff. It is primarily funded from Martin’s personal finances or contracts he undertakes as a designer, analyst or developer for other organisations. As a game company it is not self sufficiently funded - venture capital in New Zealand being elusive.

This sole trader is tax resident in New Zealand.

The wider business and those other people that look like staff are part of the virtual corporation side of the business. Individuals in this group fall into 3 categories:

Paid contractors

This is a very rarely used model, and has been used for the odd art commission. Funding doesn’t exist to continue this.

Volunteers

In the beginning everyone was a volunteer during the early product development phase. Now that products are commercial, many individuals are decided to leave their work as a voluntary contribution, and enjoy the credit for being involved. Every now and then some of them turn up to events and might be roped into a bit of play testing, but this is rare. No volunteers are currently contributing to new product development a the core of the business, but royalty earners may be using some.

Some volunteers have been remunerated for their past work when it was significant. This is typical for some artists who’ve moved from volunteer to a paid model in the past.

Royalty earning stakeholders

Those volunteers who evolved their skillsets and have a true passion have gone on to develop full products for publication. They have opted for a royalty earning model from their works. As such they have funded their own world up to the point the core sole trader (and registered publisher) takes over the process, and Martin weaves his craft of collaborating with the creator stakeholder in getting it to market.

Royalty earning stakeholders usually turn to family and close friends to help with product development, and tend to source specialised services from these people they have relationships from.

 

It should be noted that those people who have been involved started as New Zealand citizens or residents based in Wellington. This has now changed with the group scattered across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Their locations may change over time due to work and family life. All have day jobs working for other firms, and working on things for FSpace Publications is just a hobby for most. Martin is the only exception, who at times has to make a living from the business - as a contractor, but would like the heart of the reason for the business - game publishing to be liveable.

This business structure and the way it is funded is a prime reason why it’s ongoing activities are not outsourced. Outsourcing strips essential revenue away from those trying to generate revenue. Outsourcing the existing level of activity will not increase revenue.

While the business has a significant product backlog, and could produce more output, and therefore more revenue in a given time, it simply doesn’t have the funding or capacity to borrow to finance this for these goals. Literally it is hindered by it’s virtual structure and the financial fortunes of Martin Rait and the sole trader operations.

So if you are a vendor trying to pry business from us that we already do - we cannot afford to do this. We are happy to take voluntary donations of services. And we are happy to have new product developers come in on a royalty sharing model. We just don’t outsource.

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