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Nazrix

publishers

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People are always saying that publishers take a long time to do anything. What exactly is it that usually takes them a long time? To let you know if they''ll accept your game? To actually start distributing the game? Or both? Just wonderin''....

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What they mean is one of these things:

1. They take a while to play your game. They have lots of games coming in per day and they need to play a good majority of it before they can publish it.

2. Getting the games onto shelves. However, if the publisher does not get the game onto the shelf within 2 months, you get all the rights back and you can find a new publisher (see for yourself @ www.godgames.com).


Top quality games don''t kick ass as well as these.

http://danavision.homestead.com

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Publishers take ages to give you a decision on if they will publish your game. For more details on the process chack out http://www.obscure.co.uk/acquisition.shtml.

Of course once they have decided they may not tell you their decision. They don''t like to say "No" just in case you produce something great so they often string you along just in case. It can be a real pain when you think you have a chance but don''t really.

Dan Marchant
www.obscure.co.uk

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Is it perhaps a good idea to release a game as shareware while searching for a publisher, so that you are getting some income from it while searching? Plus, the game would get some advertising for when it is actually published.

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I doubt that a publisher would be overly interested in a title that is already out unless it enjoys Doom like success.


Dan Marchant
www.obscure.co.uk

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There are a lot of things that a publisher has to think about when they are evaluating your game. We all have to remember that publishers have capital in their company. This capital is regulated by its shareholders and by the publishers Executive Board. Investing in a large project or piece of software most likely has to get by them or a group of people put in charge to measure the risks versus reward on all the projects the publisher takes on. As a publisher your stock doesn''t do well if you continuously throw millions of dollars at games that don''t make money.

This aside, as developers we need to recognize this and present our ideas in such a manner that the risk analysis is already done for the publisher. If you want to reduce their time to respond do their work for them. Below is a list of things that you can put into your business plan before you present to a publisher, your great and wonderful idea. Publishers read hundreds of ideas a year. Your''s IS NOT NEW. Even though they pass up on opportunities every day that may have made them tuns of money, they have become good at determining the amount of risk they will take on for a given reward. In that respect publishers are unique as every publisher will take more or less risk with respect to a game proposal and the companies objectives.

That said here is the list.

- Detail all of your major competitors, their financial issues, their implementation problems, and why this will not happen to you. If it is something that is not solvable(ie Internet Latency) you better have a good way of conveying you can control this risk.

- Figure out the industry. SWOT analysis works well here. The more thorough the analysis the better. Leave no stone unturned.

- Figure out how you will make money with this game. Why are your revenue streams different or better than your competitors. Do not forget to factor in some sort of bad debt number and other expenses such as MasterCard transaction fees. Between the two of these examples 8% of your money can dissappear. The publisher will think more of you if you fundamentally understand the cost structure of your product.

Theres more but this should take you a significant amount of time. In the end you are hoping that when the publisher hands your document off to its experts all they will do is look at it and arrive at the same conclusions you did. Questions that you miss will take up the bulk of your time in the process.

I hope this helps.
Kressilac


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I am afraid I have to disagree with Kressilac. The information mentioned belongs in a bunsiness plan and you do not need a business plan to pitch a product to a publisher. You may need one to raise VC financing or just to work out for yourself if your business works but stuff like a SWOT analysis does not enter into acquisition decisions. You need a proposal document, a design, a budget, a schedule and a demo.


Dan Marchant
www.obscure.co.uk

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My reply was about why it takes so long. Acquiring your game takes effort from not just playtesters and the like. The business people behind putting capital into motion within the company have to understand the inherent risk involved in buying the product. It is more pronounced if the publisher is also funding the development of said product. I firmly believe that if you show that you know as much about the market your targeting your product for as they do, you will have an easier time selling it. Not only will selling it be easier, but you will also answer the questions they bring to you faster and more efficiently. Aside from that the only thing that can help you get through the process faster is to have a good understanding of what types of games/risk the publisher is looking for and willing to invest in. EA is hot for Online titles right now so I would expect you to have a harder time pitching other types of games to them. The business folks there are looking seriously at applying capital toward online games. 5 years and $81 million dollars from AOL is a testimony to how the business side of the house effects the process.

Kressilac
ps I know the tidbit about EA because I just got through speaking with the VP of EA.Com in a business meeting two weeks ago. We are attempting to get them to buy into an online game we have produced.

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Afraid I still have to disagree with you. During my time in the industry (11 years) I have worked for 4 publishers, including 4 years at VIE Europe where I handled Product Acquisition. At no time did anyone from the CEO of the company, through accounts, down to the line Producer ever ask to see a SWOT analysis or other business plan related items for a product submission.

The only time these would be neede would be when you are seeking investment in the company. Publishers want a good demo, budget and a proposal document that covers the key business issues (how much, what territories, what genre, what format, target market, team.


Dan Marchant
www.obscure.co.uk

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