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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

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Anonymous

Good day, everyone.

I have started doing some game design as a hobby, and have managed to find a Game Developer Representative that is interested in one of my ideas (Yay!).

Before I start signing contracts and whatnot with them, I would really like to get some feedback from people here about the company in question.

The name of the place is Gamesplay UK. Has anyone here dealt with them before (as either a developer or a game company)? Were you satisfied with them?

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Hi,

Firstly, welcome, and congratulations on this good news for your game.

I've never heard of Gamesplay UK- are they a new company? Is your game the sort of thing that aims to be sold on the mass market (i.e. Toys R Us, High Street shops etc.) or a hobby game? I haven't been able to find their website and I'm a bit puzzled that I've never heard of them. Unless they are obscure developers for the mass market, or simply new, I'd have expected to have heard of them.

There's a natural instinct to be suspicious of a company I've nver heard of, and it would be wrong for me to cast doubt without reason, but I would caution you against paying someone to "represent" your game. With the huge mass market publishers in the US, you often do need a literary-style toy or game agent, but the vast majority of companies in the UK and smaller ones abraod have internal submissions, or in the case of Ravensburger a specially appointed agent. It may be necessary to get someone touting it through industry channels on commission, but my advice is to beware of having to pay upfront for these things, unless you really know these people get results.

Best wishes,

Richard.

zaiga
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

This is their website: http://www.gamesplayuk.com. They claim they have been around for ten years. It looks like it is a company that sells game ideas to the big industry companies, at least that's what the logo's and the links to the websites of Ravensburger, Mattel and Hasbro seem to imply.

I don't know the company, so I can't tell you anything about them that isn't on their website. I do know that it is very hard to get a game design looked at by the "big" companies, unless you use an agent like this company. Whether the monetary investment is worth it is up to you, of course.

Good luck!

- René Wiersma

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

zaiga wrote:
This is their website: http://www.gamesplayuk.com. They claim they have been around for ten years. It looks like it is a company that sells game ideas to the big industry companies, at least that's what the logo's and the links to the websites of Ravensburger, Mattel and Hasbro seem to imply.

They certainly seem established and legitimate, but I would personally be concerned about agents expecting a flat fee rather than a percentage. This said, it is probably one of the few possible ways into the mass market, sadly.

Best wishes,

Richard.

phpbbadmin
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

From their website I noticed one of the games they have sold was Escape From Atlantis to UK boardgame giant Waddingtons (who is a subsidiary of Hasbro now?). This is a good thing. However, it should be known that Escape from Atlantis is just a retooled version of Survive!, which was already published in the early 80s by Parker Brothers (another subsidiary of Hasbro), so who knows if the company had a huge hand in getting it published.

-Darke

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Darke,

Yes-- they seem to be involved in finding a new licensee for Atlantis now the existing contract has expired, from what I can understand, which is certainly fairly impressive, although it's not quite the same thing (for us lot) as them having brought to market a successful new game.

Richard.

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Thank you all for the input.

Basically, it seems that no-one here (that has replied thus far) has used them, but that they seem to be on the level from looking at their website. That's pretty much what I have come up with on my own as well.

I think a bit more information about my situation would be useful.

I originally submitted an idea for a STRATEGIC board game with a VERY simple mechanic that appears to be original (ie, along the lines of Othello, Chinese Checkers, or Checkers simple). They seemed interested, and I submitted a nicely done rulebook. They continued their interest, and I submitted digital pictures of my prototype (the prototype, while not professional looking enough to go to a toy fair, is "hey! you did this yourself?" quality).

After the pictures, they said they were interested, but that they had a nifty mechanic/hook/gimick to make it into a sucessful ACTION game. I scrated my head at this point, but if they can get it to sell, I'm not going to argue about it.

The only fee that they charge is for the production of a one-off, off the shelf quality prototype and development fee. No screening fees.

The paperwork finally arrived, and the contract seems to be pretty standard. 3 year representation rights. If it sells, they get 40% whatever my take would be.

The ONLY reason why I'm not tripping over myself to sign is the prototype development (and) fee, which is 3,900 British Pounds. 50% of this would be payable up front, and the remainder is to be paid when their prototype is finished.

3,900 Pounds is a pretty darn big fee to me, and THAT is what has sent me running here with my pants on fire for your opinions.

Forgive me if withholding the entire story up front caused any confusion, but it wasn't until I realized that no-one here thus far seems to have used them that I realized the additional information would be needed.

Thank you again in advance for your input.

zaiga
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

kcrandal wrote:
The ONLY reason why I'm not tripping over myself to sign is the prototype development (and) fee, which is 3,900 British Pounds. 50% of this would be payable up front, and the remainder is to be paid when their prototype is finished.

3,900 Pounds is a pretty darn big fee to me, and THAT is what has sent me running here with my pants on fire for your opinions.

My intial gut reaction is: holy cow! That's alot of money for basically a fancy prototype and no guarantees. You could almost self-produce the game for that kind of money.

My advice (and you can take it or leave it, of course) is: don't do it. Despite how much you and your friends and family love the game, the chances of it getting published by an industry giant are slim, even when you use an agent. Just take a look at the agent's board game proposal page. How many of them have you seen in the toystore lately?

I think I would have been OK with the 40% fee and perhaps one or two hundred bucks for a professional produced prototype, but 3,900 British pounds? Come on.

There are many smaller game companies in the UK that you don't need to contact through an agent. Sure, they won't do your game in a one million print run, but the chances of getting published are a lot greater and it won't cost you as much money.

You don't need to limit yourself to the UK, there are also many game companies abroad, especially in the US, Germany, France and Italy. Most of them can be contacted through email and give you quick feedback about your game proposals.

Anyway, good luck!

- René Wiersma

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

kcrandal wrote:
Thank you all for the input.

It's all quite interesting for us as I think we're mostly working with or familiar with hobby publishers. The mass market area, for me anyway, is still a bit foreign.

Quote:
[snip]
After the pictures, they said they were interested, but that they had a nifty mechanic/hook/gimick to make it into a sucessful ACTION game. I scrated my head at this point, but if they can get it to sell, I'm not going to argue about it.

This I'm not at all surprised to hear-- the "gimmick" is something I hear about a lot in the High Street games industry, where they want to be able to put "with electronic computer" or "with speaking clock" or "wacky turntable mechanism" on the box and in the advertising. ;-) Personally, I'd think that quality astract strategy games, as yours is from the sound of it, sell fine on a "this is a good game" pedestal: pente, othello and others are examples of this type of game doing well.

Quote:
[snip]The ONLY reason why I'm not tripping over myself to sign is the prototype development (and) fee, which is 3,900 British Pounds. 50% of this would be payable up front, and the remainder is to be paid when their prototype is finished.

3,900 Pounds is a pretty darn big fee to me, and THAT is what has sent me running here with my pants on fire for your opinions.

Well, personally I would be sceptical. I'm not sure the sort of people they are (probably very good at) showing games to will naturally be inclined towards a 'thinking' abstract game, no matter its quality. While self-publishing can be an equally expensive forlorn hope, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and many other games all began through that route. Given that you can get a shelf-quality run of c.1000 copies for £4000 through self-publishing, and have the opportunity to make that back, if not a profit, through sales, I'd take that route. You may well find that big pblishers, who operate on the High Street, will come to you (or at least be more interested than they are now) if you have a small-scale success story. Even if they aren't, you'd be able to get your agent to use copies of the self-published game to show companies, and thus avoid the need for them to produce a prototype for you.

Quote:
Forgive me if withholding the entire story up front caused any confusion, but it wasn't until I realized that no-one here thus far seems to have used them that I realized the additional information would be needed.

Thank you again in advance for your input.

Thanks for bringing this interesting question, and please let us know how things progress, even if you don't go with GamesplayUK.

Richard.

Johan
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Hello

I must agree with Zaiga. Don't sign any paper, (this deal is not serious).

The reasons that were obvious are.
- You will pay them 3900 pounds. If they believe in the idea, then they should invest and not you. After the prototype is ready they have the exlucive for three years. They do not have to do anything for that.
- They have an exclusive right to the game for 3 years and takes 40% of your profit, from the game (this could be OK if you only payied a small fee).
- They are not promising anything, except taking the money from you and creating one demonstration game (if the game is sold, the game company will change the artwork and components one more time).

But there are more...
- If you read the statements on there homepage properly, they don't want anything ready, they want to do the prototyping.
- I do not see any famous (a game I recognise) on there homepage (and I test at least 5-10 new games per month). I can't see that they have presented any result.
- Several of the games (I hope there are prototypes and not finished games) on there homepage have not so good (read terrible) layouts. I got a flashback of the cheep games from 1975-1985.

If you still want to do this you should do the following:
- Have the game tested with at least 3 different test groups. (All has to agree on that this is a greate game).
- The game has to be tested in the final version for more then 20 times (and you should still think the game is one of the best created).
- Get a second opinion of the game (I thing a lot of people in BGDF are willing to help you).
- Check with some of the smaller companies.

// Johan

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Thank you all again.

After getting everyone's input I have decided to take a middle road with Gamesplay UK - making a counterproposal.

They said they thought that with their "gimick" and my "concept" they thought my game had "excellent licensing potential". If that's _really_ true, then a counterproposal of a 50% cut with them shouldering all of the development costs is not a bad way for them to go, in my opinion.

If they turn me down, I will try sending query e-mails to hobby publishers (no multiple submissions, I've been reading up here on the forums on what not to do). I have a copy of "The Game Invertor's Handbook" for contact listings, but if anyone knows of a smaller company that specializes in simple concept strategy games I would be happy to send query letters to them first. (No guarantees that any recommended companies will actually be interested, of course - the real world just doesn't work that way.)

I'll post on how they respond as soon as I hear back from them.

Keep up the good work, and my many thanks for your combined input and support.

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

For about a decade, I have been putting off sending ideas to [Cactus Marketing], and while I have yet to send them anything, I've had the opportunity to review their submission policies several times. From what I recall, they only charge a $100 fee for reviewing a game idea, and another $100 if the game is accepted for publishing. After that, they get a certain cut of the action (I don't recall what it is at the moment, but I think it's pretty standard). They have offices in the U.S. (Chesapeake, VA) and the UK (Suffolk, England). Their website is fairly blah, but they've been around a while (check out their portfolio while on their site).

I'd recommend shopping your idea around to see if you can either get a better deal, or just use it as a bit of "leverage" with your current publisher.

(disclaimer: I'm no expert...just throwing out ideas here)

Good luck!

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Well I just heard back from Gamesplay UK about my counter-proposal...

They didn't bite, and replied with the expected response of "this is our company's policy" and the unexpected "it's a shame you don't view this as an 'investment'".

Actually, I DO view it as an investment - just not one that I can financially afford at this point in time - and not with a "hook" that I have yet to understand that would turn my strategy game into an action game (not that changes are bad, just that I don't know what they have in mind).

I will try and send out some query e-mails to smaller hobby publishers rather than try and shoot for the mass market. If anyone here happens to know of one that would possibly be interested in a simple concept strategy board game for 2-6 people, please let me know.

Thanks again everyone!

phpbbadmin
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

kcrandal wrote:
Well I just heard back from Gamesplay UK about my counter-proposal...

They didn't bite, and replied with the expected response of "this is our company's policy" and the unexpected "it's a shame you don't view this as an 'investment'".

Whenever someone tries to 'guilt' me into making a business decision, red-flags are automatically thrown up. You could just as easily reply back and say the same thing back to them. Basically I think they're business model stinks, and the product they are selling is vague. If they were a prototyping service, then I think they would have a good thing. But as a supposed 'agent', I think they are probably fooling the consumer and themselves. Of course, I really don't know anything specific about this company. This is only the gut feeling I'm getting from your post.

I vaguely remember in the past that there was a discussion about a highly reputable agent, but alas searching the forums returned nothing. Does anyone remember anything about the agent I am referring to? If I remember correctly this person was also a designer themselves.

-Darke

Johan
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Darkehorse wrote:
I vaguely remember in the past that there was a discussion about a highly reputable agent, but alas searching the forums returned nothing. Does anyone remember anything about the agent I am referring to? If I remember correctly this person was also a designer themselves.

-Darke

I think it was the " New Ravensburger Submission Policy"

// Johan

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

I agree with Darke's assessment that this company is hugely unimpressive on the basis of their communications with you. While they will try to make you feel hesitant, I think you made exactly the right decision.

As I've said, you can finance a 1000 game run for the money they asked!

Best wishes,

Richard.

jwarrend
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

I am glad you made this decision, there are red flags all over this one. To me, the most troublesome issue is the complete absence of any "success stories" on their website. They include several company logos, which I think is incredibly misleading because they aren't actually saying that they've published games with those companies. They also make it sound that they will turn away lousy ideas, which I think is supposed to make you take them all the more seriously when they say "What a great idea!" to your game, after which you pony up their truly exhorbitant fee.

My hunch, and it's just a hunch, is that these guys haven't sold a single game to a publisher yet, and they keep themselves in business with the outrageous prototype fees. I could be wrong, but I'd be shocked if I'm far wrong.

I'm afraid I can't recommend a specific publisher for your game, but I would suggest that spending some time on the BoardGameGeek and looking at similar games, finding out who they're published by, and contacting those companies, would be a good start. Avoid these shysters like the plague!

Best of luck!

-Jeff

boardgamegeezer
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Who are the best US contacts then?
A good list of agents top ten or so you think or reviewers would be good.

pelpo
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Hello there,

It's some time ago that this topic was active, but I found it doing a forum search. I received a letter from Games Play UK today, saying that they love my idea and would like me to visit their offices.

I'm glad that I have read this topic, because I know now I should be careful.

I have decided to go on a visit and to hear their proposals. I'll keep you informed...

Greetings,
Pelpo

Anonymous
Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Hasbro provide a list of agents they recommend if you contact them and you can also see a copy of this list on:

http://www.geocities.com/jjim10003/toy_and_game_brokers.html

Though Hasbro make no guarantees, it seems fair to assume that any agents on the list have successfully sold at least one idea to Hasbro and therefore are reasonably trustworthy.

I think most agents ask for an evaluation fee and some valid agents do ask for an investment to produce a game (we've been asked and paid a £6,000 investment fee for the production of 24 sample games, however this is by an agent who also publish games themselves, have a long track list of successes and have proved themselves in other ways by making some great suggestions to improving the game, proof reading clues, visiting us in a different country, etc. etc. Basically, they've invested sufficient of their own time and money so that it can't be a con, because they'd lose out too if it was. This is very different to if they were merely approaching other manufacturers to make the game, the 24 samples are for them to sell (via another company) directly to retailers. It's also a full board game with cards, pieces, tokens, etc. so works out at about £250 a game.

A few questions to ask:

- What previous successes have they had, including a list of successfully sold games?
- If they sell direct, how many games did they sell for their last project?
- Exactly what are you getting for your money?
- Could they give you references?
- Is it possible to add a clause to the contract that if they haven't sold at least (e.g. 1,000 games) in the next 6 months the contract's null and void?

I know the original thread is now old, however hope this helps others.

pelpo
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Hey,

Many thanks for your post. I will ask the agent to provide anwers to the valuable questions you mentioned. The meeting is planned in 3 weeks. Again, I'll keep you informed.

Thank you,
Pelpo

Anonymous
Gamesplay

Personally i think it looks like vanity press.

games

faith27
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Meeting

How did the meeting go Pelpo?

gamemaker-KD
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

IF you want to go by the way of agents, hear is a short list. They all charge from $100 to $250 to review your game and if they accept it 40% of your take is kinda standard. If they can get a company to publish it.
Anjar Company--------(212) 255-4720 or fax (212) 633-1183
Excel Development Group---(612) 374-3233 or fax (612) 377-0865
Delaney Product Development---(708) 289-1583 or fax (708) 837-2952
Marra Design Associates----(612) 937-8141 or fax (612)934-1180
Cactus Game Design---( 800) 365-1711 or fax (757) 366-9913
Rehtmeyer Design & Licensing--(630) 717-9384 or fax (630) 717-9384

For the record I have not had any luck with any agents, they all got a couple hundred from me at one time or another. At least the ones that I tried. Good luck to all and happy gaming at the table

pelpo
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Hello,

The meeting took place the 21st of July in the offices of gamesplayuk in Weston-Super-Mare, near Bristol, UK. I'm wrinting you only now because I took a holiday afterwards.

The meeting went very well. There where four people of gameplayuk on the meeting. We talked about game mechanics and eventuel changes to make the game more presentable. Most of the changes where about the shape of playing pieces, they had some ideas to make them more 3D-like, something that I liked too, but haven't done yet because of prototype restrictions.

The people of gamesplayuk are now taking some time to come up with a proposal of how the game could look like. They will also let me know how much the propotype would cost, if I would decide to go further with gamesplayuk.

I really got the impression that gamesplayuk is a respectable agent, with some very good contacts in the games industry. I will keep you informed.

Kind regards,
Pelpo

Lor
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

gamemaker-KD wrote:
IF you want to go by the way of agents, hear is a short list. They all charge from $100 to $250 to review your game and if they accept it 40% of your take is kinda standard. If they can get a company to publish it.

Those are not strictly agents. No serious agent charges a DIME to look over your game and determine its viability. I can't stress that enough. These shops are trying to package the ability to refine a game (game play consultantcy, graphic design, prototyping are typical) and they may or may not have more than one channel to get it seen, which is a bonafide lure for you to give them work.

But the 40% cut figure is ridiculously usury unless the folks are business partners with you, helping you produce an asset, providing you with valuable goods and services, and indeed, that may be in the game plan. But agency alone should be in the range of 15-25% for placing a polished game prototype-- using their channel(s). Anything higher is for space cadets.

Self-publish first. That figure will go WAY down IF you prove your market.

My .02.

jwarrend
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Pelpo wrote:

I really got the impression that gamesplayuk is a respectable agent, with some very good contacts in the games industry.

Well, I'm sure that's exactly the impression they wanted you to get! I wonder how you would go about verifying such a thing. Have they successfully published any games? Because that remains the big question for me. If they're charging an exorbitant fee to do a nice work-up of people's games, but this doesn't translate into dramatically increased chances of publication, then it seems questionable at best, or a scam at worst. Best of luck, but proceed with caution...

Just my take,

Jeff

JohnnyD
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Gamesplayuk...

I'm new here, so hi all!

I've designed a card game which I duly sent off to Gamesplayuk. I visited them yesterday (Mar 10th) and, although the meeting went very well, I feel the example development price they quoted was a little(?!?) OTT. There will be a letter coming within the next few days quoting me the true price.

As I have seen elsewhere on this forum, they do not seem to have any games I can say I've seen out in the shops.

As many people here probably don't have these kinds of funds, I'm looking at the best way to get the game out & about. As GPUK have provisionally taken it under their wing with very good feedback (they did like it a lot, or do they say this to all the girls?), I'm in a good position to
have the game either looked by someone else, or self publish.

I need some good advice on this. I've not had a god look round here yet, I will in due course!

Cheers,

JohnnyD

BeyondCloister
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

Has anyone in this thread taken GamesPlay UK up on their offer?

I'm at the deciding stage with them and I'm looking for reassuring reports before I put my hand into my pocket.

zaiga
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

KCRandal, JohnnyD, Pelpo or BeyondCloister, if anyone of you has anything to add about your experiences with GamesPlayUK, please let us know. I'm very interested in hearing more about this company.

BeyondCloister
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Gamesplay UK - Feedback wanted.

I have yet to find anything else about them on the internet apart from other people asking exactly the same question.

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