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(Self) Publishing

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(Self) Publishing

  1. 1. #publishing (Self) Publishing aka. “Dreaming of what I’ll do with this awesome idea/prototype before even knowing if people will want to pay for it.”
  2. 2. #starttalkingalready Table of contents • Who am I • Before you publish • Self-publishing • Finding a publisher • Summary • Questions?
  3. 3. #thatguy Who am I? This is a lecture by Vlad Micu Did freelance journalism, consulting, event management and research under own company VGVisionary.com Used to be the European editor of Gamesauce Magazine Wrote for many other international outlets including GMR magazine, Control Magazine, Bashers.nl, Gamert.nl, CriticalGamer.co.uk, XBLAFans.com, Game Mode Magazine And now went Indie since April 3rd to work on Snobli Run This slide’s design is inspired by Brandon Boyer @brandonnn
  4. 4. #answeryourquestionmark You’re starting a business Things change once money gets involved
  5. 5. #watchthesocialnetwork Step 1: Before you even start • Build your team • Decide on agreements, rights and IP ownership • It’s a business, act accordingly • Track each other’s contributions Cover your bases! Money + Friends = Problems
  6. 6. #dontskipthisstuff Step 2: Handy legal advice is everywhere “Online collaborations are a frequent occurrence […]. However, the legalities surrounding this kind of team building raises a variety of questions. Problems like privacy, jurisdictional issues, and age all make these relationships potentially problematic. “ - Mona A. Ibrahim (entertainment lawyer)
  7. 7. #whateverfitsbest Step 3: Explore your options • Build flash games • Sell games to portals • Run a portal • Sell from your website • Deal with publishers • Invent a new model What works for others might not work for you!
  8. 8. #buildexperienceanywhere Casual vs. Indie? Whatever… “My colleague Mark likes to call [making casual games] 'polishing turds', and likes to point out that the result of polishing turds all day is that you smell of shit. “ - Nick Tipping (Moonpod)
  9. 9. #thelast10percentisthetoughest Step 5: Find your deadline. Finish your game. “When Alec and I were working on Aquaria, the Independent Games Festival submission deadline forced us to make hard decisions about the direction we were taking and it also forced us to look at our schedule more realistically. Had we not had that deadline, I’m not entirely certain we would have finished!” - Derek Yu (Mossmouth)
  10. 10. #notallalphascanbesold A finished game gives you more leverage
  11. 11. #fightforyourrighttopary Step 6: Make the right choices • What do you want? – Money – Respect – Recognition Basic formula:  Income = Game Quality * Exposure
  12. 12. #clonewars (Step 7: Dealing with being cloned) “Sometimes it seems like you’re balancing your creative drive vs your business acumen (both of which my British wit compels me to admit are things I’m not really very good at) and trying to make very important decisions with zero idea of where they’ll lead. At what point does cloning impact your bottom line – and at what point does thinking like that start to undermine your humanity?“ – Danny Day (QCF Design)
  13. 13. #celebrateyourindependance Self-publishing vs publishers “You'll make a number of zeros more money from a bad deal with a big portal, than a good deal with a smaller portal.” - Nick Tipping (Moonpod)
  14. 14. #theindieway Self-publishing “So, my recommendation for indies, is a 3 pronged approach portals, direct sales, and retail. The hardest of these and the most time consuming, is direct sales, but it's the only thing that grows your business - in the form of community, and customers that will be interested in your future games. I think that's why many people neglect it, but do so at your peril; I certainly wouldn't still be making indie games if it weren't for direct sales.” - Nick Tipping (Moonpod)
  15. 15. #askyourgrandmother Finding funding • Your family and friends • Investors • Selling small games • Crowdfunding
  16. 16. #believeinangels Find Angel Investors • Around Universities • Business incubators • Venture capital clubs • Angel confederacies
  17. 17. #flashgamelicensesmakemoney Sell Flash games “Creating Flash games was and is a way for us to earn some funding through an established model - it's a low risk, low resource way of earning money by doing what we love: making games. Sure, there are some compromises we need to make when we create a Flash game - but you can decide in how far you compromise anyway. We think it's a great & fun way of earning some starting funds. ” - Rami Ismail (Vlambeer)
  18. 18. #vadimisgod Read Vadim’s blog “3 years passed since I left office space. During that time I developed and/or released more than 30 games. Also few games on EyePhone by my self and via others. Still I have only one portal and one blog  but we`re working at the new one casual-portal. […] In total I was able to earn - $145,531. The first year was - $40,468, the second $28,329, the third - $76,734. In average per month - $4042, or $6380 if to count just last year.” - Vadim Starygin
  19. 19. #seriouslythereisnottime There’s no time to explain • Clear vision • Great gameplay • Awesome trailer • Brilliant marketing
  20. 20. #sellsellsell Let someone else deal with your payments “An order processor collects payments from your customers. For a small percentage, an order processor will take the payments for your game via credit cards, PayPal, mail, fax, phone, and camel.” - Amanda Fitch (Amaranth Games, LLC )
  21. 21. #statwhore Measure everything
  22. 22. #evonymakestonsofmoneythisway Advertising • CPM = for cost-per-mil. In other words, getting 1000 impressions on your banner. • CPC = cost-per-click. If the CPC is $0.15 and you get one sale per 100 clicks, then a sale costs you $15! • Challenge: Competing for ad space with big publishers and people with more money. You’re selling a low volume, low cost product.
  23. 23. #EAissmart An example “Kotaku charges an $8 CPM (cost per 1,000 banner impressions) for their standard advertising banners. Their news post about this PR stunt will likely surpass 40,000 views. To err on the safe side, let's say the total cost of the check and fancy box is $300. Since Crecente burned the check, EA basically spent the equivalent of a $2.50 CPM for a front page news post on Kotaku. That is an incredible value. – Cheapy D. (CheapAssGamer.com)
  24. 24. #advertisinggenius Test different methods for yourself “The total number of hits generated was quite impressive for the amount spent. […] I wasn’t really sure what to expect with AdWords, but I was pleasantly be surprised by the results.  […] The free advertising was much harder to measure, as it came from a lot of smaller sources which don’t usually have their own reporting features. The range of traffic was quite varied, with a few surprises as well as a few disappointments. “  - Phil Newton (Sodaware)
  25. 25. #sendittoeveryone Press release distribution
  26. 26. #loveatfirstsight Finding a publisher "Although publishers seem redundant nowadays, due to the shift to digital, the contrary is true. They have vital information about your target market, have the much needed reach and therefore can take your game to the next level with their arsenal of marketing."  – Maarten de Koning (Green Hill Studios)
  27. 27. #gothroughallofthem The list Big Fish Bigpoint Real Arcade Gamehouse Game Fiesta Game Thoughts Xing Interactive Idigicon Tubro Squid Playfirst iWin Kongregate Six Waves Superior Interactive Manifesto Games Cosmi (Europe) Alten Alten Jolly Good Games Merscom Egames Akella Take 2 Arcadetown Zero-G GarageGames  Alawar  Oberon  Greenhouse  Plimus  Regnow  ShareIt  RegSoft 
  28. 28. #thecakeisnotalie Portals Spilgames.com RealMedia  BigFishGames  Game du Jour  GameHouse  Reflexive  GameHouse  Yahoo!  iWin  Pogo  GameTram  Prizee.com  “I'm not anti-portal! I just believe that relying on them is not a guaranteed way to build up your business. Remember that every sale from your own web site is another person you can e-mail when you have another game out.” - Christopher Natsuume (Boomzap Entertainment)
  29. 29. #justcall Contacting publishers Look for: • Licensing managers • Partner managers • Business developers • Producers Just call their office, ask the receptionist to forward you and ask their e-mail
  30. 30. #youresellingyourteam How to pitch 1. Know everything about the publishers you’re pitching to. 2. Be sharp, don’t bore them. 3. Remove any risk form your project for the publisher (or have it already done). “It’s absolutely crucial that you word your pitch as an opportunity […] If you present yourself as having a good idea, a strong business case and a great team, that for the investor is a chance for them.” - Seb Canniff (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe)
  31. 31. #whydidntyoucallme The day after “They made us wait at least 6 months after they said "yes, we'll do business with you" before sending us a nice little 2 lines email saying "sorry, we are dropping the business deal. If you have other games, tell us. Have a nice day."  What this tells me is that you should always make sure you have constant conversation with your publisher and make sure you know what their goal is and if their compatible with yours before dealing with them.” - Christopher Natsuume (Boomzap Entertainment)
  32. 32. #readthesmallprint Giving away a piece of the pie • In exchange for a solid marketing budget. • Extra workforce, support and other services. • Guaranteed minimal revenue from the game. Choose your partners wisely
  33. 33. #readthesmallprint Before you sign anything • Hire a lawyer, it’s an investment • Know your terms • Don’t be greedy • Ask others for advice and references! Choose your partners wisely
  34. 34. #protectyourstreetreputation Before making any promise Be 100% sure you will ever be able to finish your game!
  35. 35. #doallthesethings Summary • Do your legal homework • Find funding • Finish your game • Pick your destiny – DIY – Sign a deal
  36. 36. #readitall References/Further Reading • • Most importantly: http://casualconnect.org/lectures/2010-seattle-lectures/steambirds-postmortem-a-new-take-on-the • • • • • • • • • http://underdevelopmentlaw.com/ip-enforcement-for-independent-game-developers http://underdevelopmentlaw.com/collaboration-agreements-and-online-development-teams/ http://underdevelopmentlaw.com/the-business-and-legal-issues-surrounding-team-building/ http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=2.0 http://mygaming.co.za/news/news/8745-born-indie-game-Desktop-Dungeons-cloned.html http://www.qcfdesign.com/?p=376 http://www.next-gen.biz/features/the-cloning-of-desktop-dungeons http://blog.wolfire.com/2011/02/Counterfeit-Lugaru-on-Apple-s-App-Store-developing http://www.macworld.com.au/news/game-clone-raises-questions-about-mac-app-store-policing23820/ http://makeitbigingames.com/ http://makeitbigingames.com/2009/01/one-way-to-divide-your-company-equity-at-start-up/ http://www.amaranthia.com/downloads/How-to-Sell-your-Game.pdf http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DavidGalindo/20100724/5531/How_much_do_indie_PC_devs_ make_anyways.php • • • •
  37. 37. #readitall Moar Reading! • • • • • • • • • • • • • http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/?p=827 http://www.over00.com/?p=819 http://www.positech.co.uk/content/analytics/analytics.html http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/08/indie-games/ http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=5369.0 http://makegames.tumblr.com/post/1136623767/finishing-a-game http://www.develop-online.net/news/35631/HOW-TO-Successfully-pitch-your-dream-game http://www.xblafans.com/machinariums-xbla-refusal-and-more-the-original-interview-withamanita-designs-jakub-dvorsky-90.html http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2011/03/gdc_2011_humble_indie_bundle_c.php http://www.joystiq.com/2011/03/01/the-humble-indie-bundle-leaving-no-customer-behind/ http://www.andymoore.ca/2011/03/thoughts-on-mobile-platforms/ http://www.entrepreneur.com/money/howtoguide/article52742.html http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1296948465/no-time-to-explain-indie-game
  38. 38. #imlonely Contact me • I’m in ur campus, working in ur Gamelabz • Will be staying in the guest lecturer house at Talo 6 #F28. Look me up there in the evening and let’s play some beer pong. • Mail me at v.micu@vgvisionary.com • @vgvisionary • Website: www.vgvisionary.com