Splitgate gets $100 million in funding

After two years of relative early access obscurity, Halo-with-portals arena FPS Splitgate became wildly popular over the summer—enough that investors are willing to spend $100 million to see where developer 1047 Games can take it next.

If you’re not familiar with it, Splitgate is a multiplayer online competitive shooter with a lot of DNA from the old-school arena shooters like Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and Halo. Those games are frenetic enough, but Splitgate adds the ability to bend space with portals, like the eponymous Portal, adding a truly ridiculous amount of mobility to the action.

The game has been a massive success since the release of its early access beta. Splitgate has enjoyed more than 13 million downloads across all of its platforms in less than two months. The small team at 1047 Games has turned what used to be a college final into what could be the next big esports title.

The popularity makes total sense, seeing as Splitgate absolutely rules. Fundamentally, it feels like Halo 3, right down to some of the guns (the battle rifle!) and modes (oddball!). Portal-style portals mix things up. Players can deploy them on many surfaces, adding a layer of mind-boggling dimensionality that constantly keeps you on your toes. Amid a landscape beset by battle royales, it’s refreshing as hell to play an older-style arena shooter that marries concepts from two of the most popular games of all time.

While set to launch in 1.0 over the summer, 1047 chose to keep the game in open beta indefinitely following the recent surge. That new-found fame coincided somewhat with the game's console release, but Proulx also reckons that in a space dominated by battle royale and hardcore options, there's sizeable demand for a good old fashioned arena shooter that sites somewhere in the middle.

Proulx said investors shut the door on him repeatedly because they didn’t see Splitgate competing in any of the popular genres, battle royales and hero shooters, for instance. But he felt confident that this update to a familiar formula would be a success partly because the demand was there, just sleeping. “People grew up playing these games, and the reason [the market] is dead is not because they stopped loving them,” he said. “No one has moved the needle because there hasn’t been a lot of innovation, and there hasn’t been something that’s accessible to the masses. Quake Arena is great, but it’s extremely difficult. No 12-year-old Fortnite kid is gonna play it. We really do fill this void.”

With this investment, 1047 Games plans to build out “the complete Splitgate experience,” according to the CEO of 1047 Games, Ian Proulx.

“We are far from finished building out what we feel is the complete Splitgate experience for our loyal and dedicated fans,” Proulx said. “The funding secured from our partners, combined with the belief and support of our vision, enables us to focus on both our short-term growth needs, and more importantly, our long-term vision for 1047 Games as a premier driver of completely fresh gaming experiences for fans.”

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