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Radu094

Putting the game in boxes

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Hello ! I''ve been reading arround this forum in and out for the last week, getting quite a bunch of usefull infos on gaming development.Incidentally this turns out to be quite usefull, as I''m seriously contemplating switching my "career" into game dev. I have this game ideea, quite laid down into a design document, and on my way to build a demo of it. I also got a (somewhat small) team to work it up into a playable app. I can afford the costs for the equipments (already bought) and for the team durring the development phase. I''d guess (well, hope) I can even come up with enough cash to get a few 1000''s of CD printed out...but that''s it. What are my chances of getting some serious distribution company to take care of the advertising & distribution of the product? I understand they will be reluctant to finance mill. of $ on a small-inexperienced team, but provided I build the software on my own costs.. I guess all I need is for someone to actually deliver the CDs to local shops,really...who do I have to send the demo to? Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur

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I''m not really too scared about the development part..more worries about the distribution. Mainly I''d say because I have experience in one area and none in the other...




Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur

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No, worry about how your going to sell it first. If you're investing money in development you need to have some idea of how your going to sell it. If you spend all your money making the game and then find there are extra costs (you can't afford) in order to get it in to retail then you have wasted your time and money.

Many retailers require you to pay them (a marketing fee) to get your game onto their shelves. They may also only be interested if the product has a significant marketing budget behind it. They don't want to stock an item no one has heard of (unless this is a really cheap budget item, where impulse purchase may come in).

As for distribution you should at least talk to a few companies now. Find out what their terms are, what they do for you and what you need to provide to them. Again some may only deal with you if you have a decent marketing spend or if the order is of a reasonable size.

Obviously you can't finalise a deal now but you should at least have some idea of the entire process you need to go through.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions
Game Development & Design consultant

[edited by - obscure on November 18, 2003 7:36:53 PM]

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quote:


If you''re investing money in development you need to have some idea of how your going to sell it.



Exactelly the point..

quote:

As for distribution you should at least talk to a few companies now. Find out what their terms are, what they do for you and what you need to provide to them. Again some may only deal with you if you have a decent marketing spend or if the order is of a reasonable size.



That''s what I was afraid of..
(BTW: marketing is not something distributors usually do? is it the developer who needs to do this?)

Bigger problem yet is that the country I''m living in (Romania)is not a market for games (people just *ahem* copy the games), so local distribution is out of the scope ( which is why I can''t even do it myself)

My ideea ( as ignorant as stupid as it sounds to me right now), was somewhere along the lines:

1) Stample a few 1000''s CDs , then send them by truck to some disributor (maybe UK,maybe US?) who would market it and sell it ( for a % )

2) Simply e-mail the gold product to some distributor who would print CDs, market, distribute it (for a bigger %)


does this sound too crazy?

Again, I''m just testing my options .. apollogies if I seem ignorant in some parts of my post..

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur

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I think you might have a much easier time distributing the game as shareware on a website. I''m in the U.S., and don''t really have any idea how distribution works in other countries, but generally over here, you need to be backed by a publisher in order to get your game into almost any typical store. The publisher usually handles the marketing and distributing, but it''s hard to get a publishing deal unless you''re planning on making a "big hit" game with a huge budget. It seems to me like you''re staying on the small side and not planning on selling millions of copies, in which case I think setting up a website and doing it as downloadable shareware with a demo version / full version if you pay is a better idea. Then if you want your game on actual CDs, you can have some luck getting onto "compilations"... some people make big shareware compilation CDs of hundreds of free demos and then get them distributed to bigger stores in the bargain bin sections for like $5, or put them on demo discs in magazines. Then people get to play your demo, and if they like it, they go to your website and buy the full version.
That''s the way I''ve seen most smaller developers do it over here... I don''t really know of anyone who''s been succesful these days using actual boxes and CDs and trying to distribute on their own to stores, but it might be possible... and like I said, I have no idea how computer game stores work in other countries, so it might be easier to get some shelf space elsewhere for smaller titles.

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I see what you mean... online download + online payment.

I was thinking about this, somewhere in the back of my mind, ''though I''m kinda scared about the availability of people who would download 100''s MB for a game. Just out of curiosity what''s the average (most common) bandwith available for the average Joe in the US?

Also, would I be right to assume that boxed games (ie. CD+ manual + box) would cost more per piece than a downloaded game (for the same game) . Hence bigger profit per sale ?

I guess what both of you guys are saying is that distributors handle big bucks productions only .. no "small bussiness" department there...



Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur

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Guest Anonymous Poster
If you want to target online audience your game should be as small as possible.
under 5-10mb is the norm. a biger game will lower your download count and therefore bring much less profit.

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However, another (more difficult) possibility is to print the cds as you planned (say somewhere between 200-2000 for a first run) ...

then you can plan to do a few things ...

- about 3-6 months before completion, set up a web site for the project, and begin hosting information and screen shots, etc ...

- talk to some publishers, particularly small publishers like "garage games" and their competitors ... and tell them about your game, and point them to the website. Make sure to inform them of your expected schedule (after you are over 2/3 complete with project), as well as the games expected size.

- as your game nears completion, send demos to publishers ...

- as your game is completed, send actual copies of final game to publishers ... prepare to wait 3 months to do anything else ...

- IF no publisher picks up your game in all of this ... THEN sell copies of the CD online for a price between $5 - $20 US, online. It will be hard to get a foothold this way, because they don''t have a means to play your game before paying, but if your game is good, and cheap, then the sales should slowly increase over time ... repeat, slowly.

unfortunately, there is no easy way to get rich with self published games ... it happens once in a while, but usually only through extreme luck, or a game so compeling that it commands enourmous mindshare in those who see / play it (such that they tell everyone they know) ...

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