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I'm in talks with publishers I thought I lot of question will come up during this so I figured rather than make individual post ill group them in one thread for all the questions that may come along while I'm on the ride

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First question.
Raising Capital

The costs of your game may be high, some publishers may not like the risk.
how about this idea, some small publishers may love your game but either don't have all the capital you ask for or feel they cannot carry the risk of the investment.

How about if rather than get the money from one publisher you split it across more than one publisher, if you split the money you need over two three or more publishers the smaller amount of money asked for may put you into a good bargaining position with a lot more publishers, they are risking less money plus if the title is a success they could make a good return on the investment with a much smaller risk, that way small publishers instead of investing small amounts on low cost games could then invest in bigger titles, the return as in royalty percentage may be lower than the small budget titles they usually publish but the title has a higher sale and so in the long run a much higher return, this could be very profitable for a small publisher working with a new studio that has a team of experienced designers signed to a new studio working on its first major game under the new label.

It makes sense to me, the rewards could be bigger for the small publisher and the developer will have a lot more publishers to bargain with and thus more competition for his title and so is in a better bargaining position.

Any ideas on this.

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re you talking about different publishers in different territories (Europe, US, Asia) or different publishers in the same territory?

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It could be different publishers in the same territory.
they may or may not be in the same territory.
I think you would have to find a separate distributor if that was the case perhaps, I make games not publish and distribute them so I'm looking for info.

I'm just looking a more ways to raise the capital to get projects done, as a dev you need capital to finish your game you have invested in, so you seek a publisher to get that capital, the big publishers are hard to contact and get your game to them, from my initial search I see loads and loads of small publishers, they are very keen and love your game, but some are small and don't have huge amounts of capital to invest , well not the full amount your are asking, or if they do have it its a risk to them being small if the project fails, I just see it as what if rather than having one publisher front the whole amount you want you break it down over more than one entity.
Just want to know how this can be done.

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Quote:
Original post by Dean Avanti
It could be different publishers in the same territory.
That certainly wouldn't work. Publishers aren't going to want to share a product in the same territory, especially if they are funding it. The concept that two competing publishers would co-fund a project and share the publishing in the same territory is a non-starter. Who would handle the marketing? who the distribution, the manufacture. Co-funding introduces too much risk because publisher A's profit depends on publisher B paying their share of the development fund and or doing a good job of the marketing (or whatever their responsibilities). If one of the publishers runs into financial trouble the other would be screwed and would lose any money already paid. Even two publishers for two different territories is very difficult for the same reason.

In addition to the above problems you would also have creative conflicts. If a publisher is funding or part funding development they will want to ensure that the product suits their idea of what the market needs. The US and European markets are quite different in what sells and this means you would have a US publisher wanting stuff done one way and a Euro publisher wanting something diferent - with you stuck in the middle.

Lastly you have to negotiate two deals with two seperate entities both of which would want approval of your other deal - this is both difficult and time consumming and, more importantly not something the publisher needs to do - There are simpler product deals out there for them to do, so they don't need the added hassle of yours.

The only way to "share publishing" would be with a 100% finished game where one publisher gets the rights in UK and other in France or Germany etc and they pay a guaranteed royalty advance on signing of the contract.

[Edited by - Obscure on January 20, 2006 12:53:06 PM]

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I have another question

I have had interest from the arcade department of publishers in developing for their arcade game market

Does any one have any links or info on developing for arcade rather than console and PC, I know dev for the home market, I have some idea of how the market works but for arcade I'm pretty much in the dark, does anyone have any info on how this business works how a developer works within this industry how profitable it is etc, any info really, id like to learn more about this market as I think it could have the potential to be a good platform to develop for.

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ive been asked this

is 360 Concept Approved by XBox?

what are they asking, the game engine can port to xbox360, is he asking this , or is he asking if i have some kind of permission from xbox or something

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Couldn't tell you how the arcade business works. I have licensed games for conversion to home systems but never been involved in arcade development itself. Its a very different business model because the machines are sold to arcade sites, rather than to end users.

On the 360 question, yes he is asking if you are a 360 registered developer and have concept approval from Microsoft for the title to appear on that system.

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Couldn't tell you how the arcade business works. I have licensed games for conversion to home systems but never been involved in arcade development itself. Its a very different business model because the machines are sold to arcade sites, rather than to end users.

-I thought it was something like that as I was informed that the machine has to cost under 5 grand UK, not sure if thats their manufacturing price or their retail price, ill find out more when I next speak to them.


he is asking if you are a 360 registered developer and have concept approval from Microsoft for the title to appear on that system.

- I'm learning there is too different skills going on in development, making games and the separate business of selling them.

well the unreal engine 3 does port games over to xbox 360 and ps3, so we know that is fine, I should think it does for the price of the engine, the engine makers epic have a dev kit from both and have made the engine capable of porting over to those systems so thats not a problem getting it onto those systems.

But being a registered developer, off the top of my head knowing human nature, taking a guess, I think that will be on the lines of submit massive file on company and huge report on game them submit large cash amount, hmm off the top of my head low 5 figure, say 10,000 usd, then one is a registered developer, then as we are not one of these the publisher will make a huge ding dong about it, like its only a formality anyway at the end of the dev, plus we don't have 5 figure amounts to start slinging about without having the knowledge of having a publisher behind the title, actualy we do have one, or have offers we just want a better deal, I mean the best deal we can get.

Am I right, or is it easier than that to be a registered developer. perhaps I'm being cynical, but I doubt it, infact it wouldn't suprise me if its a bigger cash amount like 25,000 usd.

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Quote:
Original post by Dean Avanti
- I'm learning there is too different skills going on in development, making games and the separate business of selling them.
It is scary how often I hear this. If someone wants to make a game as art and give it away, fine. If they want to do it to learn or for fun and give it away (freeware), fine. But as soon as they even think about making money then it becomes a business. The number of developers who set up a business without actually giving any thought to the actual business practices required always amazes (and scares) me.

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Quote:
Original post by Obscure
If someone wants to make a game as art and give it away, fine. If they want to do it to learn or for fun and give it away (freeware), fine. But as soon as they even think about making money then it becomes a business. The number of developers who set up a business without actually giving any thought to the actual business practices required always amazes (and scares) me.


(^_^) Hear, hear!

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Quote:
Original post by Obscure
It is scary how often I hear this. If someone wants to make a game as art and give it away, fine. If they want to do it to learn or for fun and give it away (freeware), fine. But as soon as they even think about making money then it becomes a business. The number of developers who set up a business without actually giving any thought to the actual business practices required always amazes (and scares) me.



Who was it that said:

"90% of all new businesses go bust within 1 year, and most game companies aren't even run as a business".

Allan

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Royalty Rates.

A fair deal?

So what is a fair deal, how should these be calculated,
does one look at expense, for example if a game cost 3 million to make the dev spent 2 million of their own money and the pub spent 1 million of theirs, is that a 66% royalty for the dev and a 33% for the pub, or do we have to throw in marketing costs as well, if the pub spent 1 million on marketing and distribution costs etc, that would be a 4 million cost with 2 million from each party, so a 50/50 deal then, can the publisher then expect to recoup their money first before you get yours, you both fronted the same amount of money, why should they recoup theirs first, after all you may of developed the game for 2 years on your own money, you risked 2 years and the pub financed 1 year of dev, so how should that affect the deal.
or does the pub give as little as they can, its up to you to get interested parties to bid over the project and you go with the best offer you can get.

Id like to know, royalty rates, whats the score.

I've put it down to the pub comes in with a bid, they hate giving advances on royalties and like to pay only for dev cost to bring to GM, they come in with the lowest figure they think you will take, then you get another publisher interested, they offer a figure and you say we already have that offer or you are under the figure we have been offered, to be considered you would have to offer a royalty deal above this figure, they then add 5% on top of the last pub figure, you go back to the old pub and tell them you have a deal 5% more, they then come back with a higher figure or pass on it, you keep doing this till you get the figure you actually want or think you are entitled to.
I get asked this from new publishers that have just been pitched, they see what I've got then ask this
What kind of deal are you looking for.
I'm unsure what to say, do I give them a figure f the last deal I was offered on the game, do I say I want this, the figure I really want, do i frighten them from the deal if I do that, if I tell them the last figure I was offered then they are going to come in like a few percent more only, do I tell them to offer me a figure and ill tell them if I like it,
how do I play this game.

[Edited by - Dean Avanti on February 2, 2006 7:34:25 AM]

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First off forget the notion of "a fair deal". This is business - You will get only what you are able to rip from the clutches of the publishers.
Quote:
Original post by Dean Avanti
does one look at expense, for example if a game cost 3 million to make the dev spent 2 million of their own money and the pub spent 1 million of theirs, is that a 66% royalty for the dev and a 33% for the pub, or do we have to throw in marketing costs as well,
Unfortunately it is nowhere near as simple as that. Royalties are based far more on who has the power, rather than who spent what. Factors that have to be considered include....
How good they think the game is, what your previous track record is, how desperate they are for product, how much has been spent, how much still needs to be spent, how good you are at negotiating, what type of deal it is, across which formats and in which territories. Then there are a host of other rights that you may or may not be giving them. The more you give in one area the more you may get in another (royalties) but ultimately you may decide that a higher royalty isn't neccessarily the best option. All of that is just to come up with the %. Then you still have to negotiate what exactly it is a % of.

Realistically as a new start up it will be somewhere between 0-25% Possibly slightly higher IF the game really is triple A (or rather, if the publisher believes it is).

Quote:
I've put it down to the pub comes in with a bid, they hate giving advances on royalties and like to pay only for dev cost to bring to GM, they come in with the lowest figure they think you will take, then you get another publisher interested, they offer a figure and you say we already have that offer.....
No, you negotiate with each interested party on a seperate basis. You can't measure them against each other because the likelihood is that each will be offering/wanting different things. They will likely make an offer or ask what you want and they will accept it or make a counter offer. You respond to their counter offer and maybe add some extra rights/options to the deal to get the % up or agree to accept their % but take some options/rights out of the deal.

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Realistically as a new start up it will be somewhere between 0-25% Possibly slightly higher IF the game really is triple A (or rather, if the publisher believes it is).

I think thats very high for a dev with a concept and perhaps a 1 level demo. As a game near finished for next gen pubs come in with initial first bid of 50%, to get 25% for a game that is just beginning is a hell of a lot seeing as the pub is paying for the game to be made, the dev has no risk, only making a demo and a games pitch, unlike the dev with near finished game that has at least a couple of years, more if they have bad funding to carry the game on their own back.

Id love to see examples of deals others devs have got, it gives a good ball park

On negotiating, say you have an offer of 54% you would like 65%. another publisher comes forward should you say we have an offer on 56% offer us more than that, or ask them to make you an offer and you will tell them if the bid is the figure you want, or tell them out front we want 65%.
also should you say who has given you a better offer or just say , we have a better offer than the figures you give, do they need to know the other interested parties.

What is good tatics for getting what you want.

[Edited by - Dean Avanti on April 1, 2006 9:58:12 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by Dean Avanti
I think thats very high for a dev with a concept and perhaps a 1 level demo.
Not if the team have experience and the publisher wants the game. I just negotiated a deal at that rate for a client.

It also depends on who the publisher is. A value publisher will offer a higher % but that will actually be worth a lot less because instead of being 25% of $15 it will be 50% of $2.

Quote:
As a game near finished for next gen pubs come in with initial first bid of 50%,
Are you asking or are you say that this IS what you are being offered?

Quote:
On negotiating, say you have an offer of 50% you would like 65%. another publisher comes forward should you say we have an offer on 50% offer us more than that, or ask them to make you an offer and you will tell them if the bid is the figure you want, or tell them out front we want 65%.
Any of those will do.

Quote:
also should you say who has given you a better offer or just say , we have a better offer than the figures you give, do they need to know the other interested parties.
You should have signed an NDA before you started talking to the publisher, so telling another publisher would who you are talking to and what they offered would put you in breach of the NDA.

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Are you asking or are you say that this IS what you are being offered?

-I posted you a PM about the details, I didn't want a publisher tracking my threads down and having a good snoop at what the competition is.

You should have signed an NDA before you started talking to the publisher, so telling another publisher would who you are talking to and what they offered would put you in breach of the NDA.

-Its one thing signing it its another acting on it, taking people to court is expensive and time consuming, but it can act as a deterrent.

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I've decided to contact some of the larger publishers, I figured for these larger companies I will mail them my info on a cd in a nice case with cover artwork incepts etc etc , I don't think I can expect the same aproach as I took for the smaller publishers (the ones not bankrupt or with dead email adresses or that publish anything bigger than bugman 3d for $10, is there anyone left for funding/publishing outside of the publishing giants) as in heres my stuff go and download it here, I'm sure the bigger publishers dont have the time the incline or have to do quite frankly, so if Mohammed wont come to the mountain the maintain will have to come to Mohammed.

(from obscure site on the pitching process)
4. Do - Phone the company and ask reception who is responsible for product acquisition (then hang up).

So thats it I just ask who is responsible for product acquisition, then bung my package to the company address with the personal name on the top.
then send my stuff in the post for their perusal how do I know the person got the thing, may this just end up on the secretary desk or in the bin, how does one follow this up if you don't get an answer from them.

Some publishers will have an international office and a main headquarters, is it a good idea to edge ones bets bt pitching to the IH first, if you fail then try the main office, so you get 2 cracks of the whip, I've noticed that some pubs even have more than 2 business locations and even have offices in individual countries as well, who makes the desision, who has the power to green light your project, what is the strategy for these large companies, if you contact their many offices you will get a an answer for a person and an address within that office to send your pitch to, but does that person have the say so of the game being taken up.

(from obscure site on the pitching process)
Do - Ask approximately how long the evaluation process will take. [This is important!]

I have never had an answer to that, I either get an offer or I get nothing/silence, only a very few times do I get a flat no, a lot of publishers just go completely silent.
How does one follow up on the silent publishers.

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Quote:
Original post by Dean Avanti
(from obscure site on the pitching process)
4. Do - Phone the company and ask reception who is responsible for product acquisition (then hang up).

So thats it I just ask who is responsible for product acquisition, then bung my package to the company address with the personal name on the top.
No. As I state in the next point you then talk to the acquisitions person before sending in your game. Many publishers don't accept unsolicited submissions and will just bin them or send them back.

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Just to re-enforce what Dan is saying. If you send any materials to a big publisher without contacting them first, then it will almost certainly not be acknowledged in any way.

I work for a big developer/publisher (as a coder) and I know for a fact that our design dept will not look at anything sent in by random people, and I'm fairly sure the same applies to the publishing side too. Basically as soon as they acknowledge that they have received something, even if it's just to say 'thankyou but we're not interested' then they open themselves up to this situation... Joe Blogs sends in his demo/game idea, which happens to be a bit like a game that one of the dev teams is just starting to make anyway. 18 months later when the game is released, Joe Blogs sues them for stealing his idea, and has a bit of paper acknowledging that they received his game demo/idea and so could well have nicked it from him.

So to avoid this, they just play it safe and bin anything that comes in unsolicited.

The only way to get them to look at your game is to begin some kind of dialogue with them, and persuade them to let you send in a demo that won't get thrown away.

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No. As I state in the next point you then talk to the acquisitions person before sending in your game. Many publishers don't accept unsolicited submissions and will just bin them or send them back.

-Send them back takes time putting it back in its package, then out with the tape to re package it, then writting the address, on with the stamps (paying for its return) and taking it to the mail room, very generous of them. it would be easier to look at the thing, or throw it in the bin, though throwing something that looks great would be stupid, how do they keep track of what is unsolicited or not, does the secratary keep a track of all expected mail and then throw all the rest in the bin as the mail has to be green lighted first, how would they know what mail is unsolicited.

Many publishers don't accept unsolicited submissions

-You make them sound like Pharoes.

Do - Phone the publisher and ask who is responsible for product acquisition.

-so you are asking for a name, I presume you either ask to be put through to them (answer machine time for you here I think)

Its interesting how emails are like gold but phone numbers are given out, personally id hate taking blind submissions from the phone, if I was in acquisition, I would sooner get a link to a web site, if I like it ill ask for your submission details, if I like that then we can talk, otherwise you would spend the day talking to developers on the phone asking to send you stuff and chit chat. from a blind phone call will they remember you and then make a note not to throw your package in the bin. Or do they just look at the cover, if the artwork is nice it looks good then they have a look, but if its shoddy then straight in the bin. I would not remember talking to a dev on the phone (unless they had a great rep prior/high quality shipped games etc) then when a package comes in remembering that it came from someone phoning me, id just take it on its own merit, looks good then OK, looks bad then straight in the bin without looking at its contents, unless it was from said big rep studio then id look at a shoddy looking box/package, but for a blind call then id judge it on its initial merit of the box.

Do - Talk to the product acquisition person and ask them what items they require in a submission (this is just to make contact and start a relationship rather than to find out what they want).

-What bothers me is that im very good at talking in person but I hate talking on the phone, im just bad at it, I think id harm my presentation by using the phone as a first base, infact using it at all, better to conduct myself well with emails and then meet in person if required rather than blow it at the start by bad presentation on the phone.

Do - Ask for a meeting (but expect to be refused); you might get lucky.

-Does that work, hell id never meet with a dev unless they had a rep with good shipped titles.


Do - Ask approximately how long the evaluation process will take. [This is important!]

-I had one publisher contact me months after a proposal, they can sure take their time, but I notice that if they are interested then the decision is instant, though I'm sure the machine runs slower in the very large companies.

On development I see vast amounts of online info, but I find it interesting that on the business of games and the process of acquisition to be incredibly small, virtually nothing, hmm I wonder why the big gulf in information here.

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Just to re-enforce what Dan is saying. If you send any materials to a big publisher without contacting them first, then it will almost certainly not be acknowledged in any way.



The only way to get them to look at your game is to begin some kind of dialogue with them, and persuade them to let you send in a demo that won't get thrown away.


-sent my response before I saw this, you have pulled my arm, looks like im going to have to talk on the phone, ahh I hate that as well.

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Check your messages - sent you a couple of PMs a few days ago.

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QUOTE- Check your messages - sent you a couple of PMs a few days ago.

Dan Marchant

-I sent you an email a couple of days back with our details, dont know if you got it.


-Does anyone have an email of Namco, they have a game in development that uses the same game engine that we are wanting to port our game into, the game they have in development is being slammed left and right as it looks like the team that are working on it do not have experience with the engine, in fact it looks so bad that it looks like the last generation of the engine but with a bloom filter tagged on, they have had to make an announcement that the game has gone back to the developers to be changed and apologize for the lack of experience that they have with that engine and that the problems will be sorted out. anyway my team has years of experience with the unreal engine and may be in a more developed state than the game they are working on, if the game was really bad how about they can the project and use the engine on our game, since that is what the costs are on our game, the development cost to finish is a drop in the water in our dev plan, of course I want say can that game use the license on ours but ill make it know to them that we are an option, they could be saving a lot of money if they haven't spent much on the dev costs, the unreal license is serious money, if the game has not been developed long then that is the cost that they have outlayed, if after then ploughing in more money to make the game and then marketing on top, its just throwing good money after bad, i think we could offer them a good option.

I just need an email of the acquisitions department at namco, anyone have it here, please email or PM me if you have it.

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Dean wrote:
>I just need an email of the acquisitions department at namco, anyone have it here, please email or PM me if you have it.

Dude, you have to phone Namco. You can't just email. And you have to find out the name and direct phone number of the acquisitions guy and talk to him on the phone. Good luck with that. It wouldn't be unusual if Namco's US office has to defer to the home office in Japan on acquiring products.

If you really need to talk to acquisitions, that is - hard to tell from your post. But use the phone, not email, either way.
Tom

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