top of page
  • Writer's pictureShanti Bergel

Welcome, Midsummer

As a Producer on The Sims 20 years ago, I had a front row seat as one of the industry’s now legendary franchises charted an uncommon yet meteoric rise. Unlike most of its contemporaries, the game was positive-sum, appealed to female and male players alike, and was popular around the world. Play patterns were varied. Engagement was deep. When I wore my development team hoodie out, young women would make a point of sharing how much the game meant to them and the idiosyncratic narratives they would create using its mechanics and characters. The experience left me in awe of the power of meaningful player-driven stories. It also instilled an abiding respect for how intricate the work is to unite community, systems design, gameplay, and user generated content in service of emergent gameplay. Still, for me, this was an early view into what an inclusive mass market modern gaming franchise could be. From that moment to this, I have believed there is much more surface area to the games industry than has historically been apparent.

Audience and technology maturation in the intervening decades has steadily revealed more of this surface area. Thanks to the compounding convenience resulting from advances in global device penetration, digital discovery, and frictionless payments, the addressable gaming audience of today is orders of magnitude larger. Play patterns and interaction models have evolved and expanded as well. Multiple billion dollar franchises now exist in categories that were embryonic 20 years ago. While finely crafted story arcs from games like The Last of Us and Fallout have made for compelling hit television and movies leveraging Mario and Barbie have broken box office records, their broad multigenerational appeal has necessarily come from distilling interactive play into classic linear narrative forms. Even as the market has grown dramatically, the power of games as a crucible for player stories remains stubbornly underexplored. Because of their fundamentally interactive nature, games are capable of evoking emotions in ways that linear media cannot. On the proper stage and in the proper context, player agency enables people to tell their own stories and meaningfully connect with one another through unique forms of shared play and spectation. While complex and nuanced, the potency of such experiences can be extraordinary. In the right hands, it will also unlock massive creative and commercial potential.

The founders of Midsummer are award-winning industry veterans with the rare experience and artistry required to deliver against this towering opportunity. Which is why my partners and I at Transcend were thrilled to lead the company’s oversubscribed $6M Seed round. CEO Jake Solomon is well known in the industry and launched Midsummer after a storied 23 year career at Firaxis Games as the protege of Sid Meier and longtime leader of the XCOM franchise. Founding CTO Will Miller worked closely with Jake over much of that arc as the lead engineer on key franchises including Civilization, XCOM, and Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Co-founder and COO Nelsie Birch brings decades of finance and operations experience. The founding team is joined by Executive Producer Grant Rodiek, who worked on every iteration of The Sims since 2005 during his distinguished career at Maxis. I am delighted to join the board and support their journey to redefine the Life Sim category.

We are excited to welcome Midsummer to the Transcend portfolio and look forward to working with the team. You might consider doing so as well - they are hiring!

About Transcend Fund

Transcend is a top performing early stage venture capital firm that partners with the boldest founders in the industry to collaboratively build the future of interactive entertainment.

Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, the Transcend portfolio features a preeminent group of high growth digital entertainment companies around the world.

More information about Transcend can be found on our website. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news from around the Transcend ecosystem.


About Shanti Bergel

Shanti is the founding partner of Transcend and a 30 year game industry veteran.

His global operating experience spans every major platform and business model transition of the last several decades and is animated by a career-long fascination with how changes in technology and distribution affect products, services, and communities.

Shanti is a recognized member of the Techcrunch List, speaks fluent Japanese, and is a frequent speaker on early stage investment, M&A, and strategic partnerships in digital entertainment.


Os comentários foram desativados.
bottom of page