Sign in to follow this  
Broadway

Serious Video Game Pitch

Recommended Posts

I've been working with 2 parters for about a month now, evolving and creating a storyline/gameplay. Long story short... LLC paperwork has been sent in and in 3-4 weeks making it an "official" company. We're finishing a website, working on very detailed storyline, most paperwork is done having to do with gameplay features, multiplayer, ect. In about 1 - 1.5 months, all trademarks, copywrites, legal work should be finally done and the website up and running. Our goal is to pitch what we have to a company (We want to get a parent company). Basically they would fund it, taking % sales, stamping their logo on it, and we'd be a seperate entity still. My question is though... I've been doing Pitch research and can't seem to find the information on how to do it. I found info related to "Personal Submissions" but this would be a serious pitch from our Company. This isn't small.. it is intended for PC first, then console. It has a very strong gameplay but also a very strong storyline to go along with it. Any information would be helpful Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some broad wrote:
>I've been doing Pitch research and can't seem to find the information on how to do it.

Then you must not have found my FAQs 21 and 35.
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson21.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson35.htm

>I found info related to "Personal Submissions" but this would be a serious pitch from our Company.

OK, well, I don't know what you were looking at before. But there probably isn't much of a difference in how to pitch, regardless of whether you're an individual or an "official" company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was waiting for you to respond eventually to something I posted. You seem to be on top of every form.

As for pitching it, I doubt there is a difference between personal and companywise, but was more looking for information to actually get the meeting setup since you have to prove to them that you're not some 16 year old trying to pitch some pacman spinoff they aren't going to care about to hear.

Every major video game had to have a start somewhere. All it takes is the one company to see in the project, to have semi decent sales once released, and the next title that has been arranged can be supported entirely without a parent company. It's a storyline that has never been done with twists just like any other good storyline, and it will have some of the best gameplay available. If you saw the paperwork that we have done so far on it and how it'll look in the end, you'd want to play it. It's going to be a hit, just have to get the parent company first.


Cute joke about the some broad, haven't heard that one 50 times before or being asked if I'm on a broadway show :P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some broad showed up and asked a way out question:

>was more looking for information to actually get the meeting setup [sic] ... since you have to prove to them that you're not some 16 year old trying to pitch some pacman spinoff they aren't going to care about to hear.

Only the first few words of your sentence matter. See the place where I inserted an ellipsis? The part of the question after that ellipsis nobody can help you with. As for the part before the ellipsis, here's what it says in FAQ 21 about how to actually get the meeting set up (note: that's two words):

1. Get a lawyer.
2. Select your target game publishers.
3. Determine the submission policy of your target game publishers.
4. Get the needed forms, addresses, etc.
5. Submit your game.

Which part of that are you having a problem with? Submitting a game is a straightforward business activity. Nobody will assume you're a pimply teenager unless you come across like one. There's no way to tell you how to make people think you aren't one, if you are one. And if you aren't one, why would anybody think you were one?

When you call a new dentist to make an appointment, he doesn't assume you've got a stinky mouth full of cavities and abscesses. He waits to meet you before he makes any judgments about your mouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, FAQ 35 covers step four and a half - what to put into your submission. If you do that right, you don't come across looking like a teenager. You've read that FAQ, so where's the question? Just clarify the question (if it's not covered in the FAQs), and you'll get a straight answer.
Still standing by ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was taking a nap, been a really busy day. I have a Pitch Document, Design and Prototype Docuement, and just a random one (Has storyline, how it incorperates into the levels, character progessions, Primary Objectives, Secondary Objectives, Upgrades, sample dialog, multiplayer features, all that stuff). Working with my partner who is doing PR work and we're both working on creating the long and painful detailed story that will be used on the copywrite. It's going to take a good 1-1.5 months of our freetime to get it all smoothed out. The LLC paperwork takes a good 3-4 weeks to process anyways before the storyline can get copywrited under the company. After the 3-4 weeks the website should be up and running too. Not terribly worred about things right now, things are running extremely smooth. Been working with a lawyer to make sure papers everyone signs who works on the project free or not knows exactly what to do and what not to do with the information provided and what was created free or not.

Haven't read everything yet, but have been paging through your site. Saw it back in october when I first had the idea with this story. Just haven't done anything with it till the past 3-4 weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Broadway
I have a Pitch Document, Design and Prototype Docuement, and just a random one (Has storyline, how it incorperates into the levels, character progessions, Primary Objectives, Secondary Objectives, Upgrades, sample dialog, multiplayer features, all that stuff).

You seem to be missing a working prototype. See... Preparing a pitch and Preparing a demo for more info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're combining a lot of steps. When the LLC is finalized by about may 1st, the storyline and all paperwork should be finalized and ready for copywrites, trademarks, ect. From there we were going to start setting up initial pitches with some companies we picked out and while doing that working on a demo. We can get a parent company without a demo, or they may want to see a demo before they parent us. Either way it doesn't hurt to pitch it while working on the demo, since they can just tell us to come back with a working demo and we'll go from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Broadway
...We can get a parent company without a demo, or they may want to see a demo before they parent us.
What do you mean by "parent company"? That term normally means a company which owns another subsidiary company. Are you expecting someone to buy your company when it hasn`t done anything (and thus has no value)? Or is it that you are using the term to mean a publisher?

Quote:
Either way it doesn't hurt to pitch it while working on the demo
Yes actually it will hurt (if you are talking about publishers). If you read that article I linked to you will know that the demo is the single most important part of the pitch and if you send a submission without one they will realise that you don`t know what you are doing and won`t want to work with you. Once they have that opinion it is almost impossible to change it - even if you later send a demo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Give it up, Dan. The OP doesn't have a question anymore - he's already figured out all the answers, and his mind is set.

Hopefully he'll come back and share his "lessons learned" with all of us, after he's gone ahead with his venture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meant a company that we would work with (thought the term was parent company). We would make the video game as a seperate company and they would fund it taking a % of the profits since they would have to risk 10-20mil depending on the final costs since I don't have that much money sitting in a bank account to fund it myself or will a bank give me a loan for that much.


Stroke your ePeen a little more Tom. Can't be encouraging at all can you (to anyone you post a reply for)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom may be a little harsh sometimes, but he's 100% correct on this:

- Noone will give you 10-20 million USD for a story and some dialogs. Not unless you happen to be JK Rowling.

- To find a PUBLISHER you'll need to have a DEMO and a DEVELOPMENT TEAM. The demo is to PROVE the abilities of the development team, and show that most of the technology and design risks of what you propose has been fixed

- A 'parent' company (in this case usually it refers to someone who owns a majority share of your company), will only bite if you have something they really desire; usually high-profile developers, proven IP or proven relationship. You have none of these.

There's a lot of dumb money around, but I don't think any of it is THAT dumb..

Allan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We have a plan on when to work on the demo, which the 3 of us can't do ourselves (well, we can but it'll take a lot longer than hiring a few programmers on top of things). I'm not worried about our abilities to make a demo, only thing that concerns me right now is that how am I suppose to get a full development team ready to work on a project without the money to fund it? It would be hard to get 20-30 people all ready for work then say it takes 3 months to get a company to bite at what we have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Startup companies are usually funded by a bank load or private investors, or a combination of both. Starting a company is always (almost) a substantial risk, since it has to involve someones money. Usually that means that remortgaging your house or something like that is the only way to go to secure funding without having anything to show for it. So your options are quite clear; find someone who wants to invest enough money for a small team to complete the demo, or get a loan.

Oh, and you really shouldn't need 20-30 people to create a working demo, 4-5 should be enough for that. Saying you need 20-30 people makes me think you don't really know what you're doing, that you only have an extremely grand view of your end product, and believe it will take 200-300 people to finish the game.
Seriously, if the game is THAT BIG, put the design document back in your filing cabinet and make something smaller, and much cheaper, because NO publisher will ever invest that amount of money in a game produced by someone noone's ever heard of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I didn't mean 20-30 to get the demo done, it sounds like when walking in to pitch it that it's recommended that you have a full team ready to get started on the game once the demo and all work is approved and all the legal paperwork. 20-30 would be the end team working on it, not the demo, didn't make it clear enough before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Broadway
......it sounds like when walking in to pitch it that it's recommended that you have a full team ready to get started on the game once the demo and all work is approved and all the legal paperwork.
Yep that is about the size of it. Were you really expecting some publisher to sign a 10 million dollar deal with a company that doesn`t actually exist yet (as in doesn`t have the staff to do the job)?

You have something I call "Grand Theft Auto Syndrome". Your a small start up company but your trying to be a multi-million dollar development company. That isn`t going to work because publishers simply don`t do multi-million dollar deals with three person start-ups. You need to come up with a game idea that a small team can create, then you need to recruit that team and that is what you pitch to a publisher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by __ODIN__
- To find a PUBLISHER you'll need to have a DEMO and a DEVELOPMENT TEAM. The demo is to PROVE the abilities of the development team, and show that most of the technology and design risks of what you propose has been fixed


That is correct. However, what is more important is a track record. Publishers are very simple minded, when it comes to this point. Most will not publish your game, no matter how good (you think) it is, if you do not have a solid track record. What is more important for them is to see that you have experience in the biz and that your are able to develop under the limitations of a given timeline and that you do not waste their money just by 'trying things out'.

I know it is stupid and I now that a good game deserves to be published, but it is nearly impossible if you do not have a solid track record. Believe me, I've seen many good games going down this way.

However, this is not meant to discourage you. It is up to you to find that one company that will publish your game, even without the track record. Many startup companies do not have a track record and only a few of them get their games published. It's usually because the members of that company do all have experience in the biz, because they worked for another developer, for example.

And by the way, I always see more experience people on this board discouraging less experienced people when it comes to startups and pitches. Usually those, people are correct by saying that your chances are low, because in fact they are very low. However, I do not think it's up to them to judge if your game deserves to be published or not. What I like in this thread is, that you are at least given some valuable information. I've also seen people suggesting to not even try it in other threads - that's bullshit. Most of today's big companies first failed to have their games published. Take id Software for example or Crytek.
It's important for you not to give up. If you believe in your concept you should always keep on trying. Refine your game design, listen closely to what you are told during the pitches and even if a company denies to publish your game take their statements as valuable information and try to improve your game design and project concept. Be prepared for the question of your track record, because I can tell you with a 100% certainty that this question will be asked...

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ZMaster
...I always see more experience people on this board discouraging less experienced people when it comes to startups and pitches...
The mistake lots of people make is to think that when we say "that won`t work because publishers don`t work that way" that we are actually saying "You aren`t good enough to succeed". They think that if they have a great idea or they just work harder than someone else that this will be enough to get publisher funding when in fact it won`t. Publishers don`t NEED to take the risk on a start up so they won`t and no amount of hard work will change that.

To succeed as a start up you need to find a different route to success that doesn`t require a publisher to give you millions of dollars - hence my comment to the OP to come up with an idea that their existing team can do. You need to come up with a concept that you can do and which will succeed if you work hard, rather than one that needs you to change the way publishers do business (cos that is a fight you won`t win).

Quote:
Most of today's big companies first failed to have their games published. Take id Software for example or Crytek.
id didn`t start out by failing to get published. In fact they are an excellent example of what I am talking about. id didn`t start out making huge million dollar Quake games. They started out making small 2D shareware games. They had some success and built up slowly (and also had someone insanely talented in the tech field to boot).

Marks and Spencer didn`t start out with a department store, they started with a barrow selling haberdashery. Virgin records didn`t start out with a receord label publishing super star recording artists.... Richard Branson sold records from a cart, then a small shop, then a bigger one, then started his own small label.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ZMasterMost of today's big companies first failed to have their games published. Take id Software for example or Crytek.
It's important for you not to give up.


Err... ID Software was self-publishing for most of their early career; like Epic they produced shareware; look up titles like Commander Keen and Jill in the Jungle.

For Crytek, Chevat originally developed the Dinosaur Island demo, and leveraged that into a publishing deal. The final game had little (except the tropical island setting) in common with the original idea.

In both cases, these are actually companies that had a very easy time clinching their first publishing deals (ID because of their track record with Wolf3d and Doom), and Crytek because of the internet buzz surrounding their NVIDIA backed dinosaur demo.

Apart from that, I totally agree with ZMaster that devteam track-record is hugely important. Crytek is actually interesting because it's one of the few recent AAA games where the vast bulk of developers had never shipped a title before (none of the guys that were working there when the game was signed, as far as I know).

It's all about risk, ultimately... the more risk a game project carries, the less they like it; that's where the demo, track-record, need for experience as a team, licensed IP, sequelitis, etc comes from.

Broadway, on the other hand, has only risks to contribute... not a good place to start negotiations.

Allan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Broadway,

I wish you good luck in your venture, and your confidence and determination will undoubtedly serve you well, but I’d like to warn you of the following obstacle in your path.

You will not find a publisher anywhere that will fund you without an established game team, no matter how good your idea is. Tom, Dan and the others in this thread have tried (with immense patience) to tell you this, but you don’t seem to be listening. There is no great conspiracy to discourage you here; they are simply presenting the facts as they are in reality.

This seems to be what you are proposing: You have a game idea. You are going to take it to some publishers. They are going to give you $20 million. You will then go away and hire an experienced development team, find and rent premises for them to work in and buy all the equipment and software they need, give them your game design documents, and sit back as you watch them make you a multi-million unit selling game that will make enough money to pay back the $20 million advance from the publishers plus interest, and still have enough money left over after that to fund your next game.

Nobody has ever managed to do this before, so if you are successful, you will have achieved a world first. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
> You will not find a publisher anywhere that will fund
> you without an established game team, no matter how good
> your idea is.
> {...}
> Publishers don`t NEED to take the risk on a start up so
> they won`t and no amount of hard work will change that.

The harsh reality is there exist far more game studios than there are publishers. Publishers can affort to be picky, while game studios need to compete for few publishing slots.

And you will need to compete with a lot of other game projects out there, most of which are at a more advanced stage than you are. This is where the 'risk' factor (from a publisher's pov) comes in. It's not that it's impossible to stand out and be published based on an idea or a tech demo, but more that there are a lot of better-prepared teams out there, some of which may already have games up and running. And for a publisher looking to maximize its ROI, a completed game ready-to-market is more appealing as an investment.

-cb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will wrote:
>Tom, Dan and the others in this thread have tried (with immense patience) to tell you this, but you don’t seem to be listening.

Thank you, Will. Exactly the point I made after the OP completely ignored my genuinely helpful posts and sidestepped Dan's help as well. Naturally, the OP chose to bite my hand when I said it.

A big part of his concern was proving to us that he's "not some 16 year old." Now I can't help but wonder how old the OP and his partners are, what level of education they've completed, and what their current occupations are. Also can't help but wonder what else in terms of game creation the team has done besides evolving and creating "a storyline/gameplay" and filing for an LLC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
It's a storyline that has never been done with twists just like any other good storyline, and it will have some of the best gameplay available...you'd want to play it.

I'm not a business-guy, but I often visit this forum to try and learn more about it. The designer in me feels obligated to respond to this post, because this one sentence can ruin your chances with any intelligent decision maker. Lets break it down:

"It's a storyline..."
I thought you were making a game? Are you making a game? Do you really think Jack Marketer gives a flying funk about the storyline?

"...that has never been done..."
You sure? Is it possible that it may have been done before? Is this just rhetoric to try and claim innovation which may or may not exist?

"...with twists..."
Wow! Twists! Gameplay twists? A unique graphical style? Or does it just have "twists". What the hell are twists, anyway? I went to the store and bought a jug of milk. It turned out to be sour. See, not every twist is interesting. The point is, the story is not going to sell your game to a publisher. Ever. If you want to write stories, check out the Storytron.

"...just like any other good storyline..."
I thought you said it had never been done before? So your idea is unique, just like all of the others. Congratulations... you still haven't sold me anything worthwhile.

"...and it will have some of the best gameplay available..."
Ah, now you finally mentioned the gameplay... secondary to the story but at least it's there. And apparently it's the best available, whatever that means. Well, at least "some of" it. What about the rest? Or does it mean that it's some of the best, but not the best? Who decided that it's the best? And what makes it the best? Does it really matter whether or not it's the best? Will it sell? Will it sell enough copies to make it worth the investment?

"...you'd want to play it."
I don't. And do you know why? Because what you've pitched is a bunch of rhetoric, and I get the impression that theres not much substance behind it. Of course, the point of your post wasn't to pitch the game, but you chose to anyway and did a piss-poor job of it. You need to be a bit wiser as to what you discuss and where, or you'll never convince a publisher that you aren't "some 16 year old trying to pitch some pacman spinoff" (and what's wrong with Pac-Man, anyway?)

Quote:
Saw it back in october when I first had the idea with this story

And I'm spent.


Now for the reason I felt obligated to post this:

This is the business and legal forum. This is not meant to discuss game design. Yet you spent at least some time trying to talk-up the design, and apparently none of the business-types in this forum cared. If they don't care, why would a publisher care?

You need to listen to these people. People like them are the ones who will be deciding whether your game will ever get funded. You came here looking for advice, and then spat in their face when they gave it to you. Tom and Dan... these guys know their stuff and if they say you don't have a solid plan then you should probably rethink your approach. If you're not willing to do that, you shouldn't have asked for help in the first place.

Good luck, and hopefully things turn out well for you. But please open your mind and listen to the people on this board, and come up with an elevator pitch* for your game.

* Elevator pitch - A short pitch, 45 seconds or less when spoken or one paragraph typed, that will grab the person you're pitching to and get them interested in learning more about your game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's me, chiming in briefly from the exterior. I'll answer the question you asked in your original post: Pitch Research is actually heavily covered in any books you can find on Sales techniques. Now, myself, I didn't study sales and marketing, so I don't know the best books to steer you towards. But if all you want to know is "How do I pitch a game?", then the plethora of books on techniques for salespeople is the way to go.

Back when I was 17, a friend of my father once told me "To make money, you have to spend money." I didn't realize what that meant, my teenage mind unable to comprehend the idea. It wouldn't be until my mid-20s when it hit me, and I scraped together some money, started a business, and then slowly worked up to being moderately successful at it.

So: spend your own money and make a small game that you can make. Work up to being successful. Even John Romero and John Carmack started small, and began by doing shareware and working for a game company. Then, after your game, with its unique twists and gameplay, is a cult hit, publishers will take notice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this