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Pitching your game idea..best way


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#1 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 01 November 1999 - 10:15 AM

A partner and I have a a great idea in the works to be pitched. We both know the text format andall the details that go into making a game. Especialy my partner being ex-programmer for the final fantasy series. But what I'm curious to, is if anyone has seen, heard of, or has done a succesful game idea pitch? I'm doing research as what is the best way to approach a meeting and what would it take to convice the people with the money that our game will make them even more money. Any imput would be great.

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#2 DavidRM   Members   -  Reputation: 270

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Posted 03 October 1999 - 10:22 AM

Not sure this belongs in a Game Design forum...sounds like another of those misplace posts about the business-aspects of game development (shameless plug for the creation of GameDev business-related forum)...

In any case, what you're asking boils down to "How Do I Write a Business Plan That Will Attract Investors." Admittedly, there are game development wrinkles to be considered, but it is still a business plan.

There are a lot of books and articles covering writing a business plan. Just go to Amazon.com and look around. Or even your local bookstore.

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Samu Games


#3 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 October 1999 - 07:11 PM

Well first of all, I think you're in the wrong industry. The games industry shouldn't be all about making lots and lots of moulah. It should be about making games, and fun ones at that!

If you want someone to take interest in what you do, you don't NEED a plan. You don't NEED a strategy. You need honesty and a general love for what it is you're doing. Who in their right mind could refuse someone who's made their dream a reality? I know I'd be insane to. Make a game and make it amazingly fun. Show those you need to support your game, that people love it- that you love it. If they don't pick you up then, they're the fools.

It's no wonder the game industry sucks these days. Everything is about business first, games second. It's wrong. Take a look at gaming's roots and you'll see that there was never any big business behind game development. There were games first.

Forget your pitch. If you love what you're doing enough and consider money a secondary thing, you'll have people coming to you for a change. Besides, the more need for a pitch, the worse your game must be. That's what I always thought...

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#4 ghowland   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 19 October 1999 - 07:24 PM

The game industry is an industry because of business, no one should assume they can not deal with business and still be a successful full-time game company.

If you want to just do it as an art or as some higher-level of craft, stick with it as a hobby. Getting into it full time means you either work for someone who shelters you from business, or you have to deal with the business aspects of it yourself.

Unless you are independently wealthy, youll need funding to finish big games, and that means you need a real business plan and the ability to manage money and plan for all the things your game will need. So its not just about the coolness of making games...

BTW, original poster should really bring this up in the Business Section of the message boards, youll get a much better response there.

-Geoff

[This message has been edited by ghowland (edited October 20, 1999).]


#5 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 October 1999 - 09:39 PM

I agree, but only to a point. Sure, you'll have to deal with the business side of the games industry, but what is games developing with a love for it? It's crap games, that's what it is. What's the difference between going in with a passion for making great games, and not?

It's funny, but people always come to me. I never have to go to anyone. Of course, I'm not a professional games developer, but time after time I do things for people, prove my worth and just be honest about the gaming industry (and how much I love it) and I'm amazed at how many people offer to publish the things I do, or shout me a domain, and so on.

I'm not saying we should be naieve little twerps and forget about the business side of gaming, but we shouldn't focus on it. We should do what we love best, even do it for free for a while. People will see what you do and say,

"Hmmm... this guy is producing some amazing stuff right now. He's a favourite in the gaming industry and has a huge fan base following everything he does, because he does it with a passion."

I've had people tell me that any game I make in the future, they will buy, because they respect my honesty. What makes sence to me isn't business, it's games. These days, so many people think business first. They do it with the comics industry and... heck, almost everything. It's a real shame. Just because there's a lot of business in games these days doesn't mean it's right.

Something just seems wrong to me when you need a sales pitch from a book (or something) to get someone to publish a game. If it's good enough, you shouldn't need one at all!

*sighs*

Guess I'm the only one here who thinks this way. Oh well.


#6 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 October 1999 - 09:44 PM

Ooops

"but what is games developing with a love for it?"

That should be 'without a love'.

Me learn spell. Good idea methinks :P


#7 MikeD   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 19 October 1999 - 11:49 PM

Reactor...no offence old buddy, but you are bordering on sounding naive as hell.
I'm all for passion in the games industry, without passion people like me and you wouldn't bother doing what is essentially an underpaid, unthanked, stressful job.
But when it comes to the business aspect, either you have some sense and be proffesional or you don't and either sink without trace when no-one offers to pay for your game developement or you end up finding your contract screws you for every penny as soon as the game is one hour over deadline.
Business people run publishing corps. and they want to see that the company they are hiring and throwing money at is a business too. Personally I think the entire games industry needs to grow up and start acting like an industry, not like the bedroom hobbyist dinosaur that so many small companies are.
And the reason most companies that treat it like this are small is unsurprising. I've personally seen two companies who rose to multi-million pound _profit_ operations in the early nineties, fall flat on their faces when they have to compete with giants of business like EA, who, let's face it, know what the hell they're doing when it comes to making money.
People give money to make money and if they think all you have is a dream and all the passion in the world, then they're going to expect you to fail because without planning and design the best games people working with the best idea will end up three years and 10 million later trying their best to figure out how they ended up creating a monster.

#8 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 01:22 AM

Alright, business is business...that isn't out of the ordinary. However, art without passion is meaningless. If something is made to simply earn money or profit of some other kind, it will not likely get the same treatment as a project that really means something to the author.

The video game industry has been going downhill because of the money factor. Games are released too soon, you get patches that pile up quickly and there are deadlines deadlines deadlines. People dislike the "when its done" statements of id and 3dRealms, but hey, that usually means that the project means something to them. Sure they will probably covered with money seconds after the releases of Quake3 and Duke4ever, but thats because they want to do the games right.

By now, most game makers want to get a quick buck. Busines is busines...though that business now consists mostly of getting money. Hey...thats fair...we as the consumers won't be upset....right?


#9 DavidRM   Members   -  Reputation: 270

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 07:12 AM

I would have to say that the original post (and my response) had more to do with attracting the necessary funds to actually undertake the long, expensive task of developing a game, than with just getting lots of money from a great game idea.

And that is a very valid concern. If you have a project in mind that requires 8-12 people (producer, programmers, artists, musicians, et al) over 18 months, you're going to need *somebody* to pony up the dough (to pay these people, to buy licenses, and so on). Unless, as Geoff mentioned, you're independently wealthy. (And if you are, I have a plan I could show you... ;-) )

Creating a quality game requires a budget. If you can't make the budget yourself, you have to have someone agree to make it for you. And no one is going to volunteer without some assurance that they will see a return on their investment.

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Samu Games


#10 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 07:18 AM

Um, how the hell did this thread end up here? Ok... whatever... getting back on track...

I'm with Rust. I could write a whole lot of hooplah, but the gaming industry is changing. I don't like it. It sucks. Game are nothing what they used to be, just ask the hardcore gamers about that one. I'm sure there are thousands of very successful game developers here on this very forum, lending advice and all the rest, but what I hate is the lack of thinking behind it all.

A guy needs a book to help him sell his product. Something's wrong with that, and I feel ashamed I want to work in an industry, originally born of something vastly different to the rest of the world, that's now degenerated into a money hungry, 'pitch my product' to the businessman industry. We all need money to survive, but gaming gone business, is gaming no more.

You say, MikeD, that gaming is an underpaid, unthanked and stressful job. What a crock. Do you think the Id boys complain about money? Like everything in life, it can be stressful, but if you aren't thanked by those who are playing your games, you're either making the wrong ones or so far out of touch with the gaming world it isn't funny. I know of no one who is thanked more, and taken better care of by fans than the developers who come and spend time with them.

Anyway, yadda yadda yadda. What's gaming to you? For me, it's about making the best games. If I can do one thing in my entire life, it's to bring one moment of joy to the faces of those who see the work I do. Screw money. Screw big business, publishers, who falls, who survives. The games industry is NOTHING without great games. Eveything else is completely and utterly meaningless. Money is pointless without joy in your life, and I could care less about how many dickheads get sucked in by big business.

Ask yourself what it means, when thousands upon thousands of gamers complain again and again and again and again about the very thing you want for the gaming industry, MikeD. They hate big business. They hate patches and they want, more than anything else, to have gaming how it used to be. They want better games, not more of them.

You want things yourself, right? Sure, I've seen tons of guys on here who do the good old,

"We have an idea and might make some money!"

But what you don't realise is that the payment for gaming shouldn't be in the money. It is glory in achieving something. It is the looks on the faces of those who buy your games. It is their reaction, their thanks. Game developers seem to be a greedy lot. (the ones I've seen lately, anyway) They want money, they want thanks, and they want the game they're doing to be successful. They want everything.

They just seem to forget, they're robbing the gamers-- They very people who support them in the first place. Think about it. If you had a real love and passion for gaming, you'd understand what I'm saying. On this forum, it always seems to be 'money this, and money that'. It shouldn't be.

That's the decision I've come to. I'm not going to go crawling to anyone. I'm not going to sell my product with a sales pitch. I'm going to go into the industry with a passion and see what happens. Money is something that will come, when I have damned well earned it, and if I have to work cleaning toilets until I've reached that point, so be it. But, I'll be a better gamer for it, because I didn't have to do it the big business way. 'Nuff said.


#11 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 07:24 AM

...and a quick reply to DavidRM...

Well said. I'm just still rambling about the very first post


#12 Dave Astle   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 2307

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 12:14 PM

Reactor, MikeD mentioned that you are bordering on sounding naive as hell. I disagree with that. He shouldn't have said "bordering on."

Look, I can totally appreciate what you are saying about the fact that the industry shouldn't be driven by money, but you are way off blaming the developers for it.

Most of the game developers I know DO have a passion for making great games. But if they are doing it full-time, they have to get paid for it. That's not called greed, it's called feeding and providing for your family. To get the money, they usually have to go to a publisher, whom they then have to convince to give them enough money to pay their salaries for the next 2 or so years. The publisher stands a pretty good chance of not seeing a return on their investment and possibly even losing money (only a small percentage of games are profitable), so the developer has to do whatever they can to convince the publisher that they are worth the investment. They can't just say, "This is going to be a great game because we just LOVE making games, and everyone says they will buy our games because they know how much we LOVE games." (Actually, that might work for a few publishers, but most are going to want more than that to be willing to gamble the millions that games cost now). They need to convince the publisher that they are professional, serious, and comitted. The original poster was just asking for advice on how to do exactly that; I don't see anything in his post to indicate that he is just in it for the money.

You seem to think that if people are businesslike about making games, they must not love it. Talk about a crock! There is no reason that people can't both be passionate about making games and yet smart enough to know that if they want to keep doing what they love, they'd better make a profit too.

Also false is the claim that game developers are in it to make a quick buck. First of all, there is nothing quick about the development of most (notice I said "most") games, and often, game developers will make a game that is a clone of or sequel to a popular game in order to be able to secure funding for games they really want to make.

Another thing, pretty much everytime I've seen someone mention that game developers are underpaid and underappreciated, someone responds with "Oh yeah? What about Carmack/Romero/Sweeney/Garriott/Meier/etc.?" Look, not every game developer drives a Ferrari, and not every game developer has gaming sites practically worship them. The ones in that category make up a tiny minority. Most game developers will never get public recognition for their work (case in point: Can you name even one of the programmers of Starcraft off the top of your head? If you can, you're rare), and most of them make less than they could in a typical programming job, and they work many more hours to boot. So why do they do it? Obviously not greed. Hmm... what could it be?... Oh, I know...

It's because they love doing it.

They take pride in it. They get satisfaction out of making something cool.

The lion's share of the money from games goes to the retailers and publishers, not to the developers, so don't accuse them of being money hungry.

Finally, if gamers aren't happy with the types of games being made, they need look no farther than the mirror to place blame. As Geoff has said elsewhere, the game industry is a democracy, and you vote with your money. If you don't want developers to continue to make the same kinds of games, stop buying the same kinds of games. When a publisher is sitting there listening to a developer pitch their game, they are going to be asking themselves whether or not people are going to buy the game, and they will answer that question based on how similar games have done. Some few will be willing to take a risk on an original game idea, but until gamers make it clear that that's what they want, most of them are going to stick with what they think is safe.

And by the way, original games ARE being made, as they always have. You just don't usually hear about them because not enough people buy them.


#13 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 03:19 PM

Yeah, money is nice, and a business is by no means made on smiles and promises, but a product built to make money to afford to make more products...will be inferior.

Daikatana gets lots of criticism for the fact that its been in production since...forever... Who knows, it could be because they are taking the time to do it right (or more likely because nobody seems to work there for more than a week). Now I'm not going to judge if these people are talented or not, but jumping from company to company before a product is finished just spells "dollar sign" to me. Id and 3Drealms can afford to postpone deadlines and release games relatively patch free. However, many newcomers to the business are forced to compromise, make a crappy product, and throw out a patch later.

Making a game is a business, and you don't do it for free, but when that money becomes your primary motivator, you're in trouble.


#14 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 20 October 1999 - 05:26 PM

Did I say I was blaming all developers? I don't remember saying that...

I agree with what you're saying Myopic Rhino, but I think you misunderstood what it is I'm saying. You see, I get a lot of flack back because people think I don't understand them. I do though. But let's get one thing straight here... not all game developers are in the same position in life. Some have money, some not. Some are worked hard, some not so. Some are happy, some not. We can't really generalise about 'developers', because all their situations are different.

What bothers me, is games, and the wish to have the games industry grow from its roots and spread into a bigger industry where being a developer seems more like a job than a passion. Gaming grew from those who created games as a passion, but these days, you have to struggle just to get people to release something of quality for free. The first quesion they ask is, 'can I get it published?'. That might not bother you, but it bothers me.

I know there are game developers out there (the Blizzard guys who work REAL hard, for example) who aren't like that and who worked to get to where they are, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the younger generation of gamers who arrive on a board like this, (in the game design forum) and say,

"I have an idea and it could make money!!!!"

(with that many exclamation marks too

Do you see what I'm saying? Business is a part of the gaming industry these days, but most people who want into the industry these days, don't think 'games first'. Note I say 'most' too. Some people are great, don't get me wrong here, but not everyone...

And this, is where the problem starts, and my game designing instincts come into play (so to speak =) People think an 'idea' is what makes a great game. It isn't. A great game, is a great game. A well made game, a game complete. A game that is fun, not an idea brought into reality. Because of publishers pushing on time limits and the like, games just aren't what they used to be.

People pitch an idea to a publisher. Wrong move in the first place because a game should not just be an 'idea'. Most of the best games ever made are nothing special, and wouldn't be picked up by a publisher these days because they aren't anything new. However, they are games that are well made and fun. Then, time limits are placed on development... and so on.

Games end up being unfinished ideas brought into reality. It might be the only way to get things done, but the games are hardly anything new. I haven't seen a REALLY great game in a long, long time. Not even Doom, in all its wonder is a really, really great game. It was original for its time, but I usually fall asleep while playing it. It's the same kind of thing with 3D. It's all the buzz these days, but nothing lights up my brother's eyes like watching 'Metal Slug' on my Neo-Geo emulator, in all its 2D glory. What games really do it for people these days, aren't what publishers are picking up.

I really am a dreamer. I'd love to see the kinds of games that we made by guys like Andrew Braybrook, who make the Uridium series of games, from the C64 through to the Amiga. Games that people look back on these days and say,

"My goodness, that game is a classic!"

You didn't get much for your dollar with games like that, graphics or netplay wise, but I know a ton of people who'd be more than happy to pay for it because a game like Uridium 2 was a tough, brilliantly made game. Even though I played it for 3 months straight, I still wasn't good enough to complete the game! Now, how many games could you say that about these days, eh?

You might not agree with me on this, but there is truth in what I'm saying. Unless you've been around for a while, the games industry seems fine, but I know that things could be a damn sight better. Games could be a LOT more fun, and a lot less of a single 'idea' that someone HAD pitch to a publisher.


#15 Dave Astle   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 2307

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Posted 21 October 1999 - 06:26 AM

I agree with pretty much everything said in your last post. I've never agreed with the whole concept of having nothing more than an idea you are trying to pitch, at least not without a track record of quality games. If you really care about a game, you should start developing on your own anyway, and if/when the time comes that you decide you want to do it full time, then you'll have something concrete to show to investors.

Anyway, as long as I've been involved with the online game dev community, I've seen people making posts like "I've got this great idea that's going to make a lot of money!!!" I used to flame those people, but now, from experience, I just ignore them because know that they are just going to disappear without ever doing anything, or (a rare few) will realize there is more to games than just an idea and a desire for money, and actually start to learn.
(note: I didn't think the original poster sounded like what I am talking about here. It sounded like they had enough experience and knowledge to know what they are doing)

There were a couple of things I wanted to respond to.

First, I totally agree that when you are in it JUST for the money, you are probably going to make an inferior product. The game industry definitely needs to get rid of that.

Second, I'm not saying the industry as it is is fine. I've been playing computer games since the late seventies, and making them since 1982, so I'm well aware that the economic success of the industry has had a lot of negative consequences. I would like to see independent developers be financially able to make and distribute games without ever having to deal with external forces (i.e. publishers) that might be able to influence if not flat-out dictate what they are making. Will it happen? I hope so. It's ultimately going to be up to the gamers.



#16 Reactor   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 October 1999 - 10:15 PM

Very well said Here's to hoping...

#17 Imperitus   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 28 October 1999 - 11:57 AM

I have a bit of a variation on the question. I’m not involved in game design or production at all, but am an avid gamer, and have an idea for a game that I want to pitch. Not to make money, not to sell it and get rich, but because I think it is truly a strong concept and I want it to be presented to people with the skills and capabilities to develop it.

If I managed to pitch it to a company which interest I’d love to be involved helping them creatively develop it, but mostly I just want tit to be made so I could play it. How would you guys who actually work in the field suggest an 'outsider' go about getting an idea to the pros?


#18 kressilac   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 01 November 1999 - 10:15 AM

After reading the messages about the business side of it all and how to get a new venture off the ground, I am decidedly convinced that it requires not one or the other but both to make a game happen these days. After programming MUDs for the past nine years, I have come to the realization that if I am ever planning to go at the game industry full time, I will need to do it full-time and quit my day job. For years I have been faced with the "Gee I am tired after a long hard day at work and don't feel like programming the mud" syndrome. I want my game to be extremely successful. In order to do this I have to be able to compete with the likes of Sony, EA, and Sega. I can't do this on my own and there are only a handful of people that could match personal money against the likes of these corporations. This being said the only way for my game to get out to the public is for either a freak of nature lucky streak (ie Wolfenstein 3D) or convince a business type that I can help them make more money. I feel the latter gives me a better chance.

Making money is not raping the user. People pay for entertainment. Movies at 13$ for 1.5 hours of entertainment is a raping. Games deliver more entertainment for far less money. Money can't buy you happiness but it sure as hell will pay the bills which is something that happiness can't do. When the bills are paid, I am happy and when I am happy, I can focus my attention on creating a better game and doing what I love. For me that tells me that if I don't pay attention to the business side of the industry, then I will have to spend more and more time cleaning it up after it becomes a mess. This again detracts from the time I could spend doing what I love.

So you see, it really isn't about just passion or just money. It is about both. If you can afford to have your game suck the cash flow out of your family and you don't mind living in poverty then ride your passion horse all the way to the unemployment line. If you want to continue to make games in today's industry, you will adhere to the capitalist principles that surround it and find a way to make your game make money. It really is a fairly simple topic. That being said, anyone out there have a few million they could spare on a really great gaming idea. *evil grin*

Kressilac

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Derek Licciardi





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