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brandon6684

Question about multiple publishing avenues

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I've recently started work on some Java cell phone games, and I was thinking as an alternate form of exposure and income I could tweak the games to work as web based applets as well. What I was wondering is if anybody has any experiance with this type of model. I'm planning to make the games availiable for free and supported by advertising. I've done a good bit of web work, so I know that advertising revenue varies widely based on the type of content on the site, so does anyone know(maybe on a scale of 1 - 10 or something) how well ads do on this type if gaming site. On one hand this type of site should get a pretty good site visit length, but on the other hand, the main content will probably draw more focus than a written article on a newspaper's site or something. A possible third pillar is a PC bundle of the web applets wrapped into a nice little launcher program for a small price and would be self published as a downloadable product. I don't really need advice for this, if more informational for my next question. Back to the cell phone side for a minute, should it be much of a problem for a publisher that the game is non-exclusive to them if the non-exclusivness is on another platform. On that same note, what is normal for publishers as far as exlusivness goes? For the cell platform from what I've seen, the publisher seems to be mostly a middle man between you and the the increasingly heavy handed network operators. Is it easy or common to get a contract where I would be able to sell copies of it directly from my website to people that can easily use 3rd party apps on their phones?

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The cell phone business is a tricky one that is still growing like wild fire.

As far as I know, most publishers will be buying all publishing rights to your games. You're going to have to specifically bring it up, and have a decent track, to probably be able to retain any rights to the game if you want them to publish it.

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Them buying all of the publishing right for the cell phone rights doesn't bother me as much since the prospects of independent cell phone distribution don't look so great. Perhaps if I have the web and PC version already avaliable when I go to a publisher, I'll have a bit more leverage.

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>> On that same note, what is normal for publishers as far as exlusivness goes?

Most publishing deals involve exclusive worldwide distribution rights. Without an exclusive deal, the publisher will (correctly) worry that their marketing investments will result in sales to their competitors.

Publishers invest a lot of money in your game, and almost always have a say in the end result of the game. It would be extremely unlikely that a publisher would not require either a transfer of the IP or the exclusive worldwide distribution rights. I don't know of any game where the publisher invested in the development of a product and didn't require exclusive rights, but there are a handful of successful games with non-exclusive rights that were picked up by publishers after they develop an audience online.

>> should it be much of a problem for a publisher that the game is non-exclusive to them if the non-exclusivness is on another platform.

Assuming you replace the "." with a "?", the answer is that it might be a problem. You should discuss this with your lawyer.

If you transfer all the IP, which is a commonly stated requirement of game publishers, then you would need to go through that same publisher. If you negotiate that you retain the IP, then your lawyer can help you with the details. It is possible to have the one title be exclusive to the publisher without compromising other products.

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I'm probably going to launch the web/PC versions first. Hopefully I can find a company that will distribute the mobile version without full IP rights buyout, just exclusive distribution rights to the mobile version, which as I said doesn't bother me since I don't really have the resources for very wide distribution on my own outside of the PC.

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> I've recently started work on some Java cell phone games,
> and I was thinking as an alternate form of exposure and
> income I could tweak the games to work as web based applets
> as well. What I was wondering is if anybody has any experiance
> with this type of model.

Morpheme (now EIDOS), and Kuju Wireless (now Finesse Mobile) are the two that I know of. There was also In-Fusio (now defunct) and Gameloft (Ubisoft) that were using the web version to demo the games.

The business model is not only to try and sell ads on the web version, but also to prove the number of people that actually play the game to cellphone publishers, aggregators, and cellphone operators. It makes a better story for publishers if you have hard numbers to back your pitch.

-cb

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