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how do I sell a game I made

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Hi all, I've been planing out my game that I'm making. I know how I'm going to construct it all, IE: OpenGL and C++ but I've been stumped at how I'm going to make money from this game. What do I do with the finished program when its done? I'm only 16 years old right now so I'm not an average business person. How am I going to get my game product into stores? For example, if I wanted to get the game into a large business such as WalMart, who would I talk to? Now, I know about one approach which is to sell the rights of the game to a production company but I don't know many of those, and the ones I do know about, they're only interested in XBox 360 or PS3 games, not a PC game. And plus, I think it would be a lot more satisfying to produce it myself, not just because I'd get all of the profit, but because It's a good experience and once you get the gist of things you can really become good at marketing your own game. (And keep 100% of the profit) So does anyone know how I might be able to get my finished game into stores?

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First, I'm glad to see you're interested in business at that young an age, particularly in going into business for yourself. Keep learning all you can on this.

As for your game, just release it for free. You'll be fine. [smile]

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As an individual its not going to happen. Publishers pay for shelf space in stores and are responsible for paying adversting costs. You are probably talking several hundred thousand dollars to get a boxed game on a shelf at Walmart. That doesn't include the other hundreds of thousands to press DVDs and print boxes/manuals. If by chance you have this then every thing would need to be done through your parents since they won't deal with a minor.

Trying to sell your game to a major publisher is going to be just as tough. They get dozens of submissions and have their own games to work on. It would have to be something really special for a publisher to buy the rights on a game.

As an individual you options are pretty much to setup a PalPay account and sell your game on your own site or see if a online store like Steam would take your game.

Sounds like this is going to be your first game ever. Not trying to sound mean but its not going to be worth selling. Ask anybody in the industry and they will all say their first games weren't very good.

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Quote:
Original post by zaneski13
What do I do with the finished program when its done?

If it is good enough to compete with all the other games out there then you set up a web site and sell it yourself over the internet.
Quote:
How am I going to get my game product into stores? For example, if I wanted to get the game into a large business such as WalMart,...

Put simply you aren't. Retail stores won't stock a game unless you pay them tens of thousands of dollars in marketing support and can show them that you will be spending hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars on advertising. Retail shelf space is expensive and limited. They won't stock a product that no one has heard of from someone that no one has heard of.
Quote:
Now, I know about one approach which is to sell the rights of the game to a production company but I don't know many of those, and the ones I do know about, they're only interested in XBox 360 or PS3 games, not a PC game.

You would sell to a publisher, not a production company and they would only be interested if your game was of a comparable size and quality to other commercially available titles. This is unlikely if this is your first game.

Quote:
.... And plus, I think it would be a lot more satisfying to produce it myself...

You are right. You should use this game as a learning project. Learn to make a game, learn about websites and press releases and how to tell people about your game, but don't expect much in the way of profit. Most developers will tell you that their first game sold almost nothing.

Pay a visit to http://forums.indiegamer.com/. Quite a few indie developers hang out there and if you read back through old posts you will learn a lot about being an indie developer.

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you are somewhat putting the cart before the horse. First don't assume your game will sell or even make it to retail. More than likely you will end up disappointed.

After you've prototyped and done a good amount of work on your game, if you still think it's retail worthy, enter the IGF (Indy Games Festival), and if you are nominated (or win) then you will start getting noticed by people who can help sell your game.

They may or may not tell you to remake large portions of your game. If you are lucky they will give you help remaking large portions of your game. Then all you have to do is ??? and profit.

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Quote:
Original post by Obscure
Quote:
Now, I know about one approach which is to sell the rights of the game to a production company but I don't know many of those, and the ones I do know about, they're only interested in XBox 360 or PS3 games, not a PC game.

You would sell to a publisher

QFT. Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/article60.htm

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I'm only a year older than you so maybe my advice would be helpful.

I've made a few game projects in the past and have been praised for those projects, and I have also made money ( only around $20 ) from it.

You should start small. Don't plan some huge game in C++ and then expect people to just buy it from you left and right because thats most likely not going to happen. I'd do what someone else suggested and put your game on a website.

Heres what I'm doing and it may be wise for you to do it as well:

Create a website dedicated to your game. Make a trial version and a full version of your game, and charge about $5, $10, maybe even $15 for the full version of the game. Promote the game through YouTube and forums. You might not make thousands of dollars, but you will get your name out there, and you may even be contacted by some other people who are working on small games and you could get paid that way ( I made money by working on someone elses game after they saw how well I made a game of my own ).

You're just one person. Your idea has to be in huge demand and mind blowingly awesome in order for large companies to buy it. Just build games and continue learning the C++ language and if you become a master of it, you may get hired by a game company as the programmer of the games if you show them you're capable. The more work you do, the larger your resume becomes, the more references you have and you'll have a lot more experience in what you're doing. I think thats a better idea rather than wasting time hoping you can get a C++ game on Wal-Mart's shelves.

Also, another word of advice: Don't announce games like this. If you haven't even begun on the game or have something almost finished, you should not be worrying about selling your game. You can't sell what you don't have, and what you don't have is a game. Your main priority should be finishing a game, not being concerned about talking to Wal-Mart.

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Quote:
Original post by PlayHermit
1. If you haven't even begun on the game or have something almost finished, you should not be worrying about selling your game. You can't sell what you don't have, and what you don't have is a game.
2. Your main priority should be finishing a game, not being concerned about talking to Wal-Mart.

1. I don't agree. One of the seven habits of effective people is "start with the end in mind." Yes, trying to move your game into Wal-Mart may be an unrealistic end, but if that is the end goal, then learning about retail can occur as a side activity while learning about making games. But in general, the end goal should be something within reach, or slightly beyond.
2. The main priority should be just doing stuff, learning stuff. But yes, moving a product into Wal-Mart is a bit unrealistic for most.

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You sell it through Steam and advertise on any websites you can.

To get your game in wal-mart you would need to find someone that publishes and/or distributes games. To distribute yourself is impossible because wal-mart will want like 1 million copies upfront. (I heard this through my friends company that makes small educational games.)

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Original post by Tom Sloper

1. I don't agree. One of the seven habits of effective people is "start with the end in mind." Yes, trying to move your game into Wal-Mart may be an unrealistic end, but if that is the end goal, then learning about retail can occur as a side activity while learning about making games. But in general, the end goal should be something within reach, or slightly beyond.
2. The main priority should be just doing stuff, learning stuff. But yes, moving a product into Wal-Mart is a bit unrealistic for most.


I said that stuff out of experience. What I mean by that is I used to, before making games, worry about things that didn't really matter or things that should be taken care of after you have a completed project. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten an "idea" for a project, promoted it, built hype for it, made fancy banners about it but never finished it. I believe that game making should be an organized process. Heres my theory:

1. Figure out the idea for your game
2. Begin creating the game
3. Once finished or almost finished, promote the game
4. Once the game is complete and promoted, continue promoting it and then start selling it

See, skipping to step 4 without even doing the first three steps can be detrimental. What good is doing research and learning how to contact Wal-Mart about your games when you don't even have anything created yet? All this stuff can wait until steps 1, 2, and 3 are done. Doing it right after step 1 seems backwards to me.

With my last game, I first announced the idea of it. Then I worked on the game rigorously until it was almost finished. I did some major testing, promoted it, and when it was ready for release, THEN I got the Paypal account set up, the Subscription feature put in place etc. etc. I didn't bother doing the Paypal and the rest of the financial stuff first since I didn't even know if I was going to be able to finish the game. What good would a Paypal account be if I lost interest somewhere down the line and quit the project? Sure, it would be created, but I wouldn't need it since I have nothing to sell.

As I said, you can't sell what you don't have. Marketing, promoting, Paypal accounts, Wal-Mart, credit cards etc. etc. don't do you any good until you have a product ready to be sold.

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@Tom and Play Hermit:

I kind of agree with both of you, but wanted to try to restate what you said. I think the safest thing to do is a reassessment of what the goal really is. Is the goal to sell a game? If so, trying to make your own game might waste time if that's not the skill you want to develop or what you want to do. If what you really want to do is market games, you could try jumping into marketing other people's indy games. Is your goal to make a sell-able game? Is your goal to advance your skill set? This goal might be accomplished without even finishing a game.

Once you spend time thinking about your goals to the point where you are certain about them, your route to get there is usually very easy to find (not necessarily easy to follow).

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Hello All,

although I do agree with the majority of the comments made in the thread, I do think that there is room to start making money so young.
Now it is very easy to have forgotten that the industry has been created by people with 16 years olds that started to develop games in their rooms and sold it to small publishers that were willing to sell it.
During the last years this spirit has disappeared from the industry as the publishers became those huge incorporated companies listed publicly in the stock exchanges everywhere, and that only bet in games and game developers with no risk, abandonning all the small developers and all the fresh ideas.
This spirit kept existing in the internet with opensource, freeware and shareware games, and in the last years, started a comeback into the XBLIG, Iphone, Android and other platforms.

So my advice would be, go ahead, there are very good opportunities in the XBLIG, in the iphone and the Sony MINIs are becoming also a very good starting point.
Keep quality high and the scope of the game controlled to the nature of the platform and into something achievable by your resources (probably your time and your talent). Most of the games started by amateurs are never finished, so keep focused and go for it.

regards,
D.

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