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Tomlinson

How much does a NES game developer's license cost?

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If someone were interested in getting a developer's license for a Nintendo game, and the company which made the game originally still exists but is not doing all that great, how much would the developer's license cost them? Just a ballpark figure? Are we talking thousands? Tens of thousands? More?

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However much they want. Depends on the game, on the company, on whether they want you to get the license at all, on who you are, on the terms you negociate with them...

[moved to the Business forum]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Depends on the game and whatnot. You got to be more specific here in this case. DOn't worry no one will steal your future plans for world domination.

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why would you get one?
there are emulators all over the place.
plus plenty of programs that allow you to make NES game (compatible with emulators).

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If, as per your title, you are actually referring to the 8bit NES console, I don't believe you can get a development license for that console anymore considering its been dead for many years. However, if you are referring to the newer Nintendo consoles, that is another story. I don't know about the GameCube, off the top of my head, but I do remember seeing the Nintendo Revolution dev kits being sold for a nice $2,000. This, however, does not include the licensing costs to actually bring a game to market for the console. That I do not know the cost of.

However, there are a lot of variables to consider. From what I understand, this is not necessarily a fixed price.

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I think you're asking about getting licensing rights to a specific game franchise, yes? i.e. you want the license to Zelda not a license to be able to actually develop console games which you'd get from nintendo.

I think the only person able to answer that is the company itself. Just call them and talk to them. Have a proposal about the game you want to make, etc. There's just too many variables to consider. There's a really good chance that no matter how poorly they are doing that you'd be unable to get a liscense unless you're company has shipped titles before.

Otherwise it depends on the license, on the subjective estimation of the worth of that license, on the company, on any pending deals with that license that you may be unaware of, on your personal industry reputation, etc.

-me

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I believe what the OP was referring to was getting a license to remake an old NES game, not actually developing for the NES.

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OK, I'll spill the beans.

There's a certain sports game which was made for the 8-bit NES, around 1991, which I think could sell like hotcakes if re-released with brand new features but keeping the same awesome gameplay and interface.

I am not in the software development business. I contacted the orginal makers of the game and they said the copyrights are not for sale but they are "interested in a developer's license". Which got me feeling all warm and fuzzy, but once I told them I'm not a software developer, they withdrew their offer. We never got to money because we had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and they wouldn't do it because I'm not a software company.

So basically this thing is possible, but the question is how much money? I have money, but not alot. And to re-program this great Nintendo game wouldn't take but one really brilliant programmer fluent in 6502 Assembly. I could find one of those at the local college. But I don't have a company so the original makers won't talk to me.

Any more info/help would be appreciated BIG time!

Thanks! Great forum...

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Tomlinson wrote:

>There's a certain sports game which was made for the 8-bit NES, around 1991, which I think could sell like hotcakes if re-released with brand new features but keeping the same awesome gameplay and interface.

In other words, you have one idea. And the idea is to update an old game, which you don't own. But you didn't say what platform you think the updated game belongs on, and...

>I am not in the software development business. I contacted the orginal makers of the game and they said the copyrights are not for sale but they are "interested in a developer's license".

That doesn't make any sense. Maybe they said they are "interested in a license," and later on in another context they also mentioned "developer's license," which is something you'd need to port the game to a current console like the Xbox 360 or the PS3 or something. It doesn't make any sense for them to tell you they are "interested in a developer's license" - it's a nonsequitur.

>...but once I told them I'm not a software developer, they withdrew their offer.

This is a non-starter, Tomlinson. You're not in the industry, you're in no position to carry out your one idea. I just don't see any way for you to accomplish anything in regards to this idea. Sorry, but that's the truth.

>the question is how much money? I have money, but not alot.

Unless you were a millionaire willing to form a company to pursue this idea and other ideas (no company can succeed on just one idea), I don't see how there is anything any of us can do to help you with this. It's not even clear what you're asking us. These FAQs might shed some light on the issue for you, although neither of them exactly dovetails with what you're trying to do:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson29.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson21.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson35.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson39.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson31.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson43.htm

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Tom,

I've actually got more than one idea. For more reasons than this space will allow, there are about a half-dozen sports games (and several others) for the 8-bit NES that had terrific, addictive gameplay, but were archaic in terms of features. I had the idea of releasing these games with the same gameplay but with 21st century features (online play, franchise mode, etc.).

There is one game that this especially applies to.

When I contacted the makers of said game, the part I quoted you about "interested in developers license" was exactly what they wrote. Not being experienced in this industry, I just assumed that meant that this company would allow a software company to update their game, release it, market it, and pay the original makers a share of the profit.

About platforms, this would be something to explore. It's my understanding that it costs millions to have your game released for PS3 or 360. So I was thinking about PC for online play, or one of those new 8-bit NES systems (cant think of the name right now).

I do realize I'm in no position to carry out the idea right now. But here's what I'm getting at: if the original makers told me it would cost $5,000 to get the developers license, I would start my company, interview and hire a great programmer or two, and get it going. But the original makers will not give me that figure, because I'm not a company yet. So I was hoping there was a way to find out through this forum how much the license would cost without having to start a company just to find that out. I would even help finance an existing software development company with this project if that would be a possibility.

Thanks,
Tomlinson

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