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How much should we expect to pay for licensed vehicles?

8 posts in this topic

Hello guys!

 

 

I know the answer is: more we can afford. But I still have some questions. We would really like to use real licensed vehicles in our game, we have a whole range of highly-detailed models at our disposition, and we would like to add a damage model too. Obviously, this all makes it not only very complicated, but probably extremely expensive too.

 

 

But recently, I've stumbled across this article. I found some interesting things in there, which I will quote here:

 

With a few keystrokes, a Focus could hit 500 mph in a game and corner on a dime — but that’s not what Ford wants.

We want to make sure the user has the same experience in games as when they drive the vehicle in real life. The worst thing we could do is soup the car up in the game so when they drive it in real life, they don’t find the car up to snuff.

We don’t want to see the cars flipping over for unknown reasons. Catching fire — certain, we call then thermal events — we don’t want happening if there’s no reason. If you’re driving poorly in a game, and you do end up rolling the car as a result of driver error, that can be explained.

Hitting animals and pedestrians is also on Ford’s list of restrictions

 

 

I quoted this, because our project kind of fulfils all of these "requirements". We are still at the very first stage of our "game", basically we are discussing things and getting informed about various stuff, to see if it's even possible to accomplish this whole thing. We have talked to the guys of BeamNG, and that is the physics engine we would like to use.

 

We believe that it is the most realistic it can get at this point, as far as damage and maybe driving physics go.

 

If we have a Ford Focus in our game, it certainly wouldn't hit 500 mph, we also don't flip cars for no reason, the cars don't catch fire either, and you can not run over pedestrians. There's no animals.

 

 

The thing is, we are not a big studio. In fact, we're a very small one. I was wondering, is it possible that for us, the licenses for these vehicles would be cheaper than for a big studio? Is there a way of getting them cheaper? I know for a fact that some studios, like Polyphony Digital, don't pay anything for the licenses at all, but obviously we aren't making Gran Turismo here, and our game is unknown and has no reputation therefore, which means there's no interest at the moment for the brands to have their vehicles in our game, unless it becomes a huge hit one day, which, however, is not really our main goal.

 

 

What could be some tricks on how we could approach this whole situation? We're really trying to do a very realistic game, like I mentioned earlier, we are planning on using the BeamNG physics, and we also have a 100% accurate, 1:1 3D map of a whole district of the city we will be using. (this 3D map was originally made for architects, to measure sound and sunlight, and such things I believe)

 

My idea was to finish this part of the city, to wait for the BeamNG physics to be ready, so we can use them, and basically make a small demo to showcase what it would look like. We have a whole range of highly-detailed vehicles at our disposition, that are being designed by an excellent 3D studio, like I said earlier. This should really give an idea of what the whole thing will look like. I'm convinced it will look and play really good, and I was hoping that if we get this ready, it could have a big influence,on how the brands will react on this whole thing, on the price that we will eventually have to pay to get the licenses, and if we're actually allowed to use them at all. But we still remain a small group of people, which (therefore) kind of hints the manufacturers that we can't pay them hundreds of thousands of Euros, or maybe even millions, for licenses. (I really have absolutely no idea how much such a license costs)

 

 

All help is greatly appreciated! smile.png

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I know the answer is: more we can afford. But I still have some questions. We would really like to use real licensed vehicles in our game, we have a whole range of highly-detailed models at our disposition, and we would like to add a damage model too.

It sounds like you know your answer.

 

If you are serious about it, you need to actually call the companies involved.  Use a telephone.  You need to speak with the people involved in licensing.

 

The entire process will involve multiple in-person visits with you and your lawyer(s) and them and their lawyers.  It is a time consuming process.  

 

Assuming they actually accept your proposal (which is unlikely unless you are already working with a global publisher), be prepared for a six-digit or seven-digit figure, in addition to meeting their requirements.

 

 

 

I'll take your word for it, that it costs more than you can afford.

 

That also means you cannot afford a lawsuit from the motor companies.

Also that you cannot afford a lawsuit from the city you are modeling.

Also that you cannot afford a lawsuit from any of the buildings that you are modeling.

 

 

You absolutely need to get permission.  Using it without permission can mean bankruptcy by lawsuit, which you also cannot afford.

 

If you cannot get permission, get creative and make up your own vehicles, your own maps, your own cities, your own landmarks.  It will be much cheaper in the long run.

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Assuming they actually accept your proposal (which is unlikely unless you are already working with a global publisher), be prepared for a six-digit or seven-digit figure, in addition to meeting their requirements.

 

Yep. A licensing guy won't want to even spend an hour talking about a proposal that won't earn five digits.  To hold meetings and negotiations, then write a contract, costs the licensor a lot of money. They want any license to be profitable, so unless they're going to net twenty or thirty thousand dollars in the end, it's not worth their time to even hold a meeting.

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Alright, thanks.

 

If we want to use some vehicles for a special use, does this matter? Let's say one of the cars could be used as a police car,  I believe this is something that should be mentioned, right?

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Alright, thanks.

 

If we want to use some vehicles for a special use, does this matter? Let's say one of the cars could be used as a police car,  I believe this is something that should be mentioned, right?

 

It matters that instead of using one set of IP (e.g. Ford Interceptor) are using two sets of IP (e.g. Ford Interceptor and police trademarks).

 

So yes, it matters because you will face even more lawsuits if you violate it, or more licensing fees if you properly license it.

Edited by frob
Edit: Shame on me for assuming lawlessness. :-/
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If we want to use some vehicles for a special use, does this matter? Let's say one of the cars could be used as a police car, I believe this is something that should be mentioned, right?

 

So you're saying you're good with a five- or six-digit license deal.  Yes, the licensor will want to know how you are planning to use the IP.

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The thing is, we are not a big studio. In fact, we're a very small one. I was wondering, is it possible that for us, the licenses for these vehicles would be cheaper than for a big studio? Is there a way of getting them cheaper?

 

An article (or two) that may be of interest to you

 

Chrysler LLC's Dodge, which has category-exclusive sponsorship of the "Defiance" TV show and online game for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360

 

The use of Porsche and Ferrari in games and recent shenanigans of the licence holders

 

Fictional Car brands

 

 

These next articles, whilst not directly pertaining to cars does pertain to issues of first amendment rights Vs the usage of trademarked products in games...this area is however a relatively recent development and the legalities are by no means resolved as of yet.

 

EA Invokes First Amendment Protection for Video Games in Trademark Dispute with Helicopter Maker

EA refuses to licence guns and war paraphernalia in its action games this year

 

How this would apply outside of the US legal system is also an unresolved issue.

 

 

on a completely trivial note:

 

 

Catching fire — certain, we call then thermal events — we don’t want happening if there’s no reason.

 

Does this count as a reason???????????

Edited by Stormynature
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FWIW, I almost had the chance to make a game containing Ford cars without paying for licensing... But that was by our studio being approached by Ford's advertising agency, not by me approaching Ford.
It would've been an advergame, with them having dictatorial control over the entire design.
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Alright, thanks.

 

If we want to use some vehicles for a special use, does this matter? Let's say one of the cars could be used as a police car,  I believe this is something that should be mentioned, right?

 

It matters that instead of using one set of IP (e.g. Ford Interceptor) are using two sets of IP (e.g. Ford Interceptor and police trademarks).

 

So yes, it matters because you will face even more lawsuits if you violate it, or more licensing fees if you properly license it.

 

Thanks, that's what I thought.

 

 

The thing is, we are not a big studio. In fact, we're a very small one. I was wondering, is it possible that for us, the licenses for these vehicles would be cheaper than for a big studio? Is there a way of getting them cheaper?

 

An article (or two) that may be of interest to you

 

Chrysler LLC's Dodge, which has category-exclusive sponsorship of the "Defiance" TV show and online game for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360

 

The use of Porsche and Ferrari in games and recent shenanigans of the licence holders

 

Fictional Car brands

 

 

These next articles, whilst not directly pertaining to cars does pertain to issues of first amendment rights Vs the usage of trademarked products in games...this area is however a relatively recent development and the legalities are by no means resolved as of yet.

 

EA Invokes First Amendment Protection for Video Games in Trademark Dispute with Helicopter Maker

EA refuses to licence guns and war paraphernalia in its action games this year

 

How this would apply outside of the US legal system is also an unresolved issue.

 

 

on a completely trivial note:

 

 

Catching fire — certain, we call then thermal events — we don’t want happening if there’s no reason.

 

Does this count as a reason???????????

 

 

Cheers, I'll read this when I find the time! smile.png

 

 

FWIW, I almost had the chance to make a game containing Ford cars without paying for licensing... But that was by our studio being approached by Ford's advertising agency, not by me approaching Ford.
It would've been an advergame, with them having dictatorial control over the entire design.

 

Yeah, obviously we don't want something like that! I don't think anyone does. But it's cool to hear they actually approached you, it means a lot I guess!

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