By Brian Brus
Courtesy of The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City-based GoldFire Studios is nearly ready to launch a new casino-themed role-playing game on its social gaming platform, President James Simpson said.
To fund the beta-test phase of CasinoRPG and move the game to market, GoldFire is asking for financial support from its current customer base and others who want a temporary stake and payoff for the investment. Simpson will open a Kickstarter.com campaign in January.
Kickstarter is a so-called crowd-funding website that allows people to ask the community for seed money to finance projects. Not all plans are able to win social support, but for successful presentations creators usually offer perks in proportion to the donation. In GoldFire’s case, the minimum Kickstarter payoff tier is beta-test access in CasinoRPG; the most generous donors will be re-created as permanent characters in the online game environment.
Simpson started GoldFire in 2008, right out of the University of Oklahoma with a business degree. The original business plan focused on drawing gamers to stand-alone games PokerRPG and B.C.Wars. He later attached those games to a common platform or portal and started developing a more robust game environment, CasinoRPG.
GoldFire’s games are not true gambling sites – no money is exchanged for betting on cards, for example. Instead he created a free role-playing scenario in which online avatars earn fantasy cash and spend it on a virtual lifestyle. Players can upgrade those items – a bigger on-screen house, for example – by spending real cash in small amounts. But the emphasis is on real-time social interaction with other gamers, he said. B.C.Wars provides a similar environment, but with cavemen and wooly mammoths instead of gambling tables.
Simpson said he and Chief Technology Officer Luke Sinkins are pleased with GoldFire’s growth so far, and he expects to add about eight employees in 2013. He also has other investors to help the company’s technology development and marketing. GoldFire also participated in the 12-week Venturespur business accelerator program in Oklahoma City in 2012. Venturespur provides selected participants with seed capital, office space, a team of mentors and development opportunities.
So far GoldFire has about 230,000 registered users. Simpson plans to open the platform to other game developers.