The Download: Josh Fairhurst, Co-Founder and CEO, Limited Run Games

Josh Fairhurst started Mighty Rabbit Studios in 2010, right out of college, and led the independent development studio for five years through several games launches and publishing deals.

Apex-based Limited Run Games was formed in 2015 as a division of Mighty Rabbit and its growth and success came quickly, with Oddworld, Shadow Complex, Shantae, and Firewatch among the company’s first releases. The quality and commitment from Limited Run Games has positioned the company to remain a leader in the category. Through his leadership, Limited Run Games has maintained its success with sales of over 1,000 limited-run launches of physical video games including titles like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game, Celeste, Shantae, and Castlevania.

Josh oversees the company’s overall strategy and day-to-day business operations while also taking on a lead creative role in identifying the best partners, brands and games for Limited Run Games’ signature bespoke Collectors’ Editions.

Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from NC State’s College of Engineering. He is a double Eagle Scout as he earned the highest award from the Boy Scouts of America and the highest award from the Venture Scouts of America.

  1. What is in your pockets?

I have my phone and my wallet. That’s pretty much all I carry around.

  1. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?

The big thing for us is we’ve been building out a solution for re-releasing older video games. A common problem in the video game world is that the hardware gets updated every five to 10 years. Once the hardware gets updated, the old games become incompatible with new platforms. Unlike the movie industry, where people have hundreds of movies that they can constantly deliver to people and allow them to consume, in games that can’t really be done easily.

A lot of the partners we work with have these dormant libraries of classic games that they can’t tap into. We’ve been building tech on our side so that we can help them easily bring their older games back for platforms like Switch and PlayStation.

While the entire industry was moving towards digital, we recognized that there were still people who liked owning tangible physical goods and actual discs or cartridges. The model we created was based around the idea of either limited availability in terms of number of units, or a limited window where people could order those. So, at that point, manufacture demand, but still be time-limited. And that cut out a lot of the waste from traditional retail.

  1. What is your favorite coffee spot?

I usually get coffee from fast food places. I’m not super picky about it, especially during Covid. I haven’t really sat anywhere and just enjoyed coffee. But prior to that, I would occasionally go to Barnes & Noble, sit down, and drink coffee there because I liked to read gaming magazines talking about Limited Run.

  1. What keeps you up at night?

I just think about problems that we face as a company, which are fulfillment issues. We’re shipping and producing a lot of physical goods, and in the world right now, just getting things from overseas is a nightmare. When we do these collectors’ editions, and we’ve got statues to make, we have to make them in China. We’ve localized as much of our main manufacturing as we can. There are certain things we just can’t make here. If we wanted to make statues here, for example, they’d be five times the price and consumers just won’t bear that.

So, we’ve been dealing with the state of the world where you place an order in China and they can’t even give you estimates anymore of how long it will take. At first, they’ll say maybe it’ll be eight months, but then eight months will turn into a year, and then it will go three or four months beyond that. Just trying to get shipping crates on a boat right now is insane, and then trying to get your stuff off a boat is insane. There’s just no predicting it, and that’s frustrating to customers. Then they yell at me about not being able to estimate when things will be out, but it’s impossible unless I had a crystal ball.

  1. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour

I’m not much of a foodie, so it’s hard for me to pick. I like Mezza Luna Pizzeria in Apex, it’s a small Italian food place. I’m not super-picky, so I don’t eat a lot of expensive foods. I tend to just DoorDash salads from Wegmans for lunch. I’m very low-tier when it comes to my food choices.

  1. What is next for you or your organization?

It’s just continuing to build out. We’re trying to move more global so next year we’re going to expand into Europe. We have officially formed our Japanese division to help us expand our presence in Asia and Japan. We started building that back in 2020 and just getting a business set up in Japan, it’s been a very long process.

About Brooks Malone 106 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.