- It used to be that venture capitalists left the video game industry well alone - mainly due to the gigantic hit-miss nature of the biz.

But with digital payment and the ability to spread risk, there's increasing amounts of investment in mobile, casual, online, and in-game ad areas of gaming as illustrated by a list of recent VC and angel investments in the game biz via the 'Stuck In Customs' blog, from John Galt Games' Trey Ratcliff.

The deals are undated, and a number of them are quite a few months old, but it's a good list because it gives an idea of where investors are looking to step up - and hey, here's one we all know: "Company: Telltale Games, San Rafael, CA... Investment: $ 0.8 million... Investors: Keiretsu Forum... Description: Telltale develops and deploys cinematic quality animation and storytelling technologies, to create interactive content. Telltale offers content development and custom publishing services to assist license-holders in adapting their properties for interactive delivery."

Of course, the interesting thing is that it's only for $0.8 million, whereas some of the other perhaps dodgier plays in the in-game ad market (even more dodgy now that Sony looks like it may be doing its own in-game ad platform) have seen double digit millions raised.

But it's all about chasing the prize, of course, and a lot of the fundings and subsequent acquisitions right now are for infrastructure companies in an unknown market, where the acquirers (often big media) feel like they 'can't miss out'. But there's very little creative about those companies in terms of making great art. Why can't VCs and investors gamble on companies that create lasting art?

[Answer: because art is subjective, and successful corporate entities are increasingly - and have generally always been, to some extent - those which sort and regurgitate art as a commodity, rather than create it. Oh well. Thanks to Raph Koster for the initial link, incidentally.]