Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Instead, Oiknine recommends acquisition campaigns that carefully target the kind of player who's most likely
to play your game. “If you have to spend a lot of money,” as he puts it, “go and spend it on someone who mat-
CROSSREF You can find out more about advertising strategies in Chapter 12, “iOS Game Design: Basic
Principles for Growth and Revenue.”
Pitching to and Working with Publishers
There are a number of reasons to get your game picked up by a major publisher. Among them are expanded
cross-promotion to the company's large user base of players and expanded technical and server infrastructure
Then again, there are at least a few reasons not to go with a publisher . Publishers usually expect to take a
significant cut of the revenue (on top of the 30 percent Apple's already getting), for instance, and they may de-
mand creative changes you're not comfortable with. Because there are trade-offs when going in either direction,
it largely depends on your larger goals for a given game—and for your career.
“Some indie developers are well connected with other developers and bloggers in the community, and have a
knack for self promotion,” Phill Ryu of Impending Studios says. “If that sounds like you, self-publishing is the
way to go. If not and you're able to get favorable interest and terms from publishers, that's probably a mutually
beneficial partnership.” Although no publisher can turn your game into a hit, “ones that know what they are
doing can improve your odds a lot.”
Roxanne Gibert, founder of Spyra, a mobile game company whose latest game, Global Attack, hit the Top
10 in Strategy Games in the U.S. App Store, recommends publishers for indie developers, with some qualific-
ations. “It really depends on the purpose of developing,” she says. “If it's strictly for artistic reasons, then it
might not be a good fit. However, if an indie is trying to grow a business, then I think working with publishers
is strategically sound.” Here's why: “A publishing agreement is a great way for indies to leverage use of [the]
publisher's user distribution networks and tools, while reducing personal risk and obtaining development fund-
Publishers will offer various levels of revenue sharing for developers, which can go from anywhere from 10
to 80 percent. Which is subject, Gibert says, “to the level of involvement on the publisher's end, the funding
provided, and the added benefits such as user distribution.”
There are some red flags to watch for when negotiating with a publisher. “The main thing to understand is
what type of relationship you want with your publisher,” as Gibert puts it. “Do you have creative ownership?
Who owns the intellectual property? What are the terms and limitations?”
From my own perspective, characters are the most valuable kind of intellectual property, so if you've put a
lot of time and passion into making them unique and appealing, you should be very careful about giving own-
ership of them away to a publisher, because you're giving away the potential to do spinoffs, sequels, and mer-
In developing his next game Hatch (which you'll read about soon), Phill Ryu and his team have invested
enormous effort in creating game characters that are appealing, memorable, and ripe for merchandising (see
Figure 11-5 ) . In cases like theirs, it's best for the developers to zealously protect their intellectual property (IP)
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