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Pay & royalties in Gameboy development?

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Does anybody know if the pay in CGB / AGB development houses is on level with PC / console game houses or is there a gap? Also, what kind of royalties could a new AGB team expect from publishers? For planning purposes, I''m currently guessing 2% from retail price but I might be off the mark - I have no clue what the division between Nintendo and the 3rd party publisher is... - Lasse

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By pay are you talking about salary while working there as an employee or the development fee paid to the developer?

Salary will depend on the size/success of the developer, your ability/experience and also how good you are at negotiating/how much they need you. Format isn''t really and issue there.

If you are talking development costs then there would be a big difference just because of the scale of the project. A 2 year project with 16 people will cost more than a 9 month project with 3 or 4 people.

As for royalties (and this related specifically to new teams) you are likely to get 0%. Sad to say but it is very very hard to get a project if you are a new developer. Publishers hate taking a risk. If they do decide to take a risk they will most likely screw you on the royalty and pay you 0%. Actually this isn''t such a bad thing, you just make sure that when you give away any royalty you ask for a decent development cost instead to ensure your new company has enough to survive. Your accountant will tell you that some money now is far better than the possibility of more money later.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

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Thanks for the solid advice, Dan.

Yes, I was referring to the salaries paid to the employees - I''m trying to guestimate the budget to present to publishers and to make it sound plausible the salaries should be reasonable for this type of work. I just wasn''t sure if there''s a platform-related trend here - like maybe it''s easier to find programmers for the GB than the PS2 and thus the salaries reflect the supply vs demand ratio - but from your answer I guess talent is equally expensive on all platforms...

Zero royalty is, of course, bad news but I know from experience that we can do our best to use it as a weapon in the negotiations - you know, "this royalty issue is very important to us but we might be willing to reconsider our stand if we get X and Y issues in the contract". The important thing is to know what their default is, and that''s what I''m trying to find out now.

I guess the ideal royalty negotiation position would be to have several interested publishers simultaneously? I know we''re lucky if we get one interested, though... and on the other hand that would multiply the legal costs, etc.

- Lasse

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