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Is there a third way

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 11/12/2008

Hi All,
I've been lurking this site for a some time and as most people have some games I want to publish. It seems that most people think that there are two major options: Self publishing and selling the game to a publisher(even the description of the forum "This forum is for discussing all the ways to sell your game; either via self publishing or selling your game to a game publisher/distributor.")
I was wandering if there is a third way, kind of a combination of the two options.
Self publishing costs money and then you have to distribute the game some how.
Selling the game is hard since game companies do not want to take the risk of producing a game that will not sell good.

If someone has the money for self publishing why not try a third option: Sell the game to a publisher while paying for part of the production of the game (of course then there is the problem how much the designer gets for each copy sold). This way the publisher has less risks and the designer have a distribution system. every one is making less money (designer get less since the publisher get something, publisher pays more to the designer since he has also invested in the game). but then the risk of both sides is smaller.
Does this make any sense? or am I way off?
-- Gilad

Joined: 12/31/1969
Is there a third way

You could try to find an investor, who will likely just want a set amount of money back, but I'm not sure how they work. This way you'd have the money to self publish, but also owe someone their money back and then some. Or take out a loan. I dunno.

Joined: 08/03/2008
Is there a third way

I suggested this very same thing a while back, though I don't recall if it was on this board or in a private correspondence. It does seem like it should be a solid plan, particularly if you approach a small publisher; it gives them a way to expand their line (assuming your game is a good fit for them) without having to lay out the cash for it. And you get the benefit of established distribution channels, etc.

As I recall, I mentioned the idea to Joe Huber. His reaction was that he didn't think it was something companies would be interested in. I think he was saying that a company would probably want to control all aspects of a game that they're going to publish, and so the opportunity to get a game "on the cheap" also involves giving up a lot of their control. Or course, it wouldn't hurt to ask some of the companies and see if they'd be interested...

A "fourth" alternative would be a "consortium" model where a bunch of designers pooled together to release their games. I think this happened with a company called "Splotter Spellen" or some such, which released a couple of pretty well-received games called "Roads and Boats" and "Bus".

Your idea definitely sounds good (particularly since I had the same idea!) but still no clue whether it would work in practice...also haven't tried...


Joined: 11/12/2008
Is there a third way

I don't see why a company going for this method will lose control. it is just a matter of how much the inventor/investor gets. If usually it is 5-10% then it can be 20% or 50% depands on the sum invested. but the company still has the copyright, and can make the contract include a section what happens if they make a second run of the game.
About the "fourth" option, I don't think it really is. it is self publishing but the only difference is were you got your money from. you still have the problem of distribution and shelf space that you can only get with a good publisher.

Is there a third way

Ok, I can't resist resurrecting this old thread (this is what happens when my visits are six months apart!)

From my perspective, this is a win-win situation IF all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

A lot of the small indie publishers (like, say, me!) are totally self-funded. Couple this with the need to get a few games out there to develop market awareness and there is a very real possibility that at some point you will have spent all the money you can afford to spend but you're still a little bit away from your business being a perpetual motion machine. It's a heartbreaking thought to be "so close and yet so far" so to speak.

If however, you can find a good, solid, marketable game and a designer with the willingness to contribute financially, you can continue to build your brand at less cost to yourself.

This sounds overly simplistic and I'm sure it is - because the cost in publishing a game goes way beyond simply printing it and for things like conventions, it's hard to determine how much of the cost is attributed to the "new" game and how much should be allocated to the "older" games. You definitely need a lot of discussions and a good solid contract as well as a fundamental agreement on how things should be done in order to take this approach. If this can happen though, I think it helps both the designer and the publisher.

That said, I haven't done it yet. I'm very open to the idea though, *if* and only if I have enough faith in the game that it will enhance my brand and not hurt it and if I think the designer would be a good person to work closely with on the venture.

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