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Zild

Upgrading to Mainstream

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My team has a solid design for a game that I believe would give a good return if distributed 'the classic way' (shop shelves), but we lack the funding to make that a reality, and we realise that our chances of obtaining such funding are slim at best. Coding hasn't started yet, but we believe that the game could be realised with only minor adjustments as a lower-quality (graphics-wise) indie game. The question is, would it be possible to release the game using a less-mainstream model (such as shareware or any others that spring to mind), and - if it received a positive enough response - then re-release it maintream for a greater return? Have any titles done this kind of thing before? What would be the implications? For example, I'm wondering how any distribution partners might respond to this. Thanks.

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I am normally Mr Negative but for today, one day only, I am being Mr Positive.

Yes, you could try this. It might work, it might not but it is certainly a sensible way to go. You are right that (without proven game dev experience) you won't get funding. So, going the shareware route is your best bet. Then, if things work out, have a crack at a mainstream release. You may need to upgrade the art and maybe add more levels or other content but if you make some money from the shareware version that should be possible. Also, if it proves popular than miracle might happen and a publisher might give you some money to do the upgrade. Alien Hominid http://www.alienhominid.com/ started as a flash game before being moved to Xbox for a retail release - however the developers had to fund the xbox development themselves as no publishers would put up the money.

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Aw, and I was expecting you to dash my few remaining hopes ;)

So you don't see major problems with any future partners (as a pure example, somebody like RealArcade) trying to put a stop to us moving mainstream?

It looks like we're going to have to use rather a large combination of techniques if we're ever to have any 'major' success with this...

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They can only stop you if the contract you sign is exclusive to them. Even then you can add more content to make it a different titles.

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