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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


Intellectual Property


A right given to use a brandname or theme from another company for a game. For instance many movies have been licensed for video games, such as Goldeneye.

Licensed Games

A game based on a story or character from another medium, such as a movie, comic book or TV show. Examples include Batman, Beavis and Butt-Head, Bart Simpson, etc. The rights to make these types of games have to be licensed from their respective owners.

Licensing Deal

An agreement between a publisher and a developer where the developer grants the rights to distribute a game. Deals are normally exclusive and detail regions for distribution, such as North America or world wide. See Work-For-Hire.


The process of convincing a gamer to buy that piece of cheap tat on the shelf. A good marketer can sell snow to Alaska. A bad marketer would have trouble selling snow in a desert. So if you find you've bought a dud game, criticize everyone but the marketing team: they're *paid* to make you buy these things.


Market Development Funds. Money used to secure shelf space and end caps with retailers and advertising.

Mission Pack

See Expansion Pack.


Non-Disclosure Agreement


A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract between two parties which outlines confidential materials the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict from generalized use.

Niche Market

Buzzword for defining a narrowly-targeted market. Normally referring to a segment of consumers who are not being targeted by mainstream products.

Non Disclosure Agreement

A contract between two parties where they agree not to discuss details that they tell each other about matters they would rather keep private. This is different than a submission agreement though.

Paper launch

Product specifications released well before the real product launch. A paper launce describes all the features the new product will include in order to beat the rival companies. This is especially common in the computer hardware industry.


The act of counterfeiting software.

Price Point

A term used to classify a product in a price range.


Often this is someone from the game's publisher who will be the liaison between the publisher and the game development team. It is really crucial that this person knows how to communicate between both teams as otherwise a lot of problems can arise. Sometimes this is the title of someone in the game development company who is working as the project lead.


A company that funds and sells games, but usually not directly. Publishers usually sell games through retailers, and often do not develop the games themselves.

Publishing Deal

A deal that is made, usually at first for funding, between a development company and a publisher. The developer will often get a royalty percentage of the net profit on the game once it is sold, minus their advance.


When something is sold, it is said to be a retail item.


A retailer is someone who sells things. For instance, the store CompUSA or Babbages are computer software retailers.


The process of getting a product from the factory - the developer, in this case - onto the shelves in a store, and, ultimately, into a plastic bag in some hapless punter's hand. This process is nowhere near as easy as most people think.


Units sold to retail stores. See Sell-Through.


Units sold from retail stores to customers. See Sell-In.


Another name for the final manufactured CD. See Going Glass.


Stock Keeping Unit. Any unit recieved by the retailer that they have to keep inventory on.


When a product is not finished has passed its' date of completion.