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In the game business, as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. The purpose of this article is to offer guidelines that will help you negotiate a deal with the publisher of your game. By following these guidelines you will get the publisher committed to your game, and protect your team in the event that something goes seriously wrong.
Careful planning and negotiation will ensure you maximize your revenue and provide you with protection in the event the project is canceled. It is very important to have an attorney at your disposal for the entire negotiation process. Even if you do not wish them to handle the negotiations themselves, you should not enter any agreement without having the contract reviewed by a lawyer, preferably one experienced in the interactive industry.
Let’s Make A Deal!
Prior to submitting your game to potential publishing partners, you must understand what type of deal you want and/or need. The type of deal you are looking for will often determine the underlying deal terms that you can negotiate.
For most developers, publishing deals fall into four categories: 1. Work for Hire Development Deals Publisher brings the developer a concept, property or franchise and the developer creates the game based on the publishers guidelines. 2. Early Stage Development Deal Developer pitches a publisher on a game that they want to make and gets funding from the publisher to create the game. 3. Completion Funding Developer creates a game on its own dime and then at some stage in the development process brings the concept to a publisher that finances the rest of the game. 4. Pick Up Deal Developer completes the game with its own money and then sells the essentially complete game to a publisher.
Work For Hire Development Deals
These deals will yield the least amount of negotiating power from the four examples listed. In these scenarios publishers are seeking development talent to create games based on the publisher’s licenses or franchises. It is very difficult to get a strong royalty in these deals. They are a reliable form of revenue and generally require a smaller staff. This allows the developer to take more than one contract at a time and balance their risk out. These deals are an excellent way to make a name for yourself in the industry and have a steady revenue flow while planning your original game and creating the initial demo.
Careful planning and negotiation will ensure you maximize your revenue.
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Collectively, we have over 100 years’ experience in all facets on the video game industry. The powell Group is able to leverage that experience into an exceptional network of experienced partners, advisors and service providers to tackle and go-to-market challenge our clients might face. Jay, our founder, would like to hear from you!