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Gameboy Development - Business Plan

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Is there anyone here that has experience publishing gameboy games. I''m trying to assess the feasibility of starting a game development company that focuses on hand held games (like the gameboy advance or the new nokia system). Here are some of the questions that i have. 1. How do i gain permission from Nintendo to publish games i create? 2. What is involved in publishing a game? (is there a faq?) 3. What companies should i focus on if i need to get my game published. 4. Marketdata (hand held console game sales) 5. What sort of hardware/software development platform do i require to create these games? 6. Are there any example game development business plans on the net?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I would suggest that you you go over to www.gamasutra.com. They have more professionally oriented discussions and resources.

You could also ask this question in the business forum.

You can find the answers to many of questions if you learned how to use google.

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1) Check out www.warioworld.com.

2) There are many articles out there that talk about this, both on the net and in print form. Check out gamasutra.com or read a few issues of Game Developer magazine. Also, check your local bookstore - there are a couple books that talk about creating and publishing a game.

3) XiCat Interactive (www.xicat.com) helps indies publish their games.

4) Unsure

5) You can use an advanced linker to program GBA carts for testing, and for development, use an ARM-capable compiler. There are many websites out there for setting up compilers, like www.gbadev.org or www.devrs.com/gba

6) Unsure

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1) as Jim posted: www.warioworld.com
a. but:
- your company or at least its key staff will need a track record of successful retail games
- your company will need to be financially stable (and to be able to prove it) to be able to afford the development hardware you''ll need

b. if you can''t say ''yes'' to both of the above, then:
- find a publisher willing to publish your game (see the site for the approved publisher list), THEN approach Nintendo
- or get finance (from a bank, VC etc) to make a prototype of your game (maybe on a PC or emulator), THEN approach Nintendo OR a publisher.

2) I do think you''re confusing "publishing" with "development":

a publisher usually:
- pays for the development (advance on royalty basis),
- licenses well known brands for use in the game,
- advertises the game (TV, radio, cinema, magazine, web etc),
- sells multiple units of the game to the retail stores,
- manages duplication and distribution of the cartridges (+ boxes, manuals etc),
- deals with any legal issues (copyright theft, people suing because a game offended them etc)
- handles customer support
- tests and localises the game

a developer usually:
- designs the game (gameplay, technical etc)
- creates the art for the game
- does the programming for the game
- does (or commissions) the music for the game
- gets some or all of the development funding from a publisher
- does the initial testing for the game

Only the largest companies (EA, Capcom, Nintendo etc) do BOTH publishing and development - and even so, the two are usually still very separate parts of their operation.

The vast majority of companies fall into the "developer" category, and a few (the ones you''ve probably heard of) into "publisher".


- specific title information (such as how much it made, how much was paid for advertising etc) tends to be quite confidential information (it''s business and businesses have competitors!)

- expect to pay $$ for in depth market research - that information is valuable for business plans, and somebody spent time (thus money) collating it so they''re usually going to charge for it.

5) Once you''re accepted as a licensed Nintendo developer, you can purchase (officially it''s "hire") development kits from them, which include special hardware, and all the official documentation, tools etc. On top of that, things like EPROM burners should be costed in. Finally, there''s things like your programming environment - a commonly used one is ProDG from SN Systems: www.snsys.com. Codewarrior from MetroWerks www.metrowerks.com is another commonly used one.

6) Doubtful - a business plan is a business plan though - if you know the industry you''re trying to set up your business in well enough, you should have all the information you need to make a top quality plan.

Personally I''d say it''d be much easier, and better to get a job at an established GBA/mobile developer. That way you gain proper inside knowledge of the industry, useful contacts (at publishers, hardware manufacturers, freelancers etc), experience with the development hardware/SDKs, published titles (see 1a) etc

Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd

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You should also be warned that, AFAIK, there isn''t a great deal of money in the GBA market at the moment (atleast for software) and quite a few codeshops have been shutting down.

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GBA is such a great system, its a throwback to the time when four or five people could get together and make a game. When GBA originally started, it had a chance to produce too many games, because everyone and their mother wanted to make a game for it.

Nintendo responded by cutting the profit margin through licensing fees, making it more risky to produce games for GBA. This had a good effect and a bad one. The good thing(tm) is that games needed to execellent, or else they wouldn''t be published. The bad thing(tm) is that publishers won''t risk taking on new companies.

It will be difficult for a new company to produce GBA games. You may want to focus on a company that creates bargin and handheld, rather than focusing excusively on handheld. You can prolly find a few companies to base that stratagy on.

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