Skip to Content

Design complete; need to find a publisher who can handle copyrighted material

7 replies [Last post]
Endymian
Endymian's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/05/2008

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum, I went searching for sites such as this after finishing a particularly large project of mine.

I am looking for a publisher for my board game, but from the looks of most publishers it seems that what I mean to say is I am looking for an agent first.

Without giving too much away, since I think this project may actually have serious potential, the subject matter of this board game is thoroughly owned, copyrighted, and trademarked by Nintendo. What I mean to say is, without Nintendo's blessing, this game will never (legally) see the shelf. So I don't know if I need to find an agent to approach Nintendo- who should have no trouble finding their own production firm if they buy; or if I should go after a board game publisher first who can then parlay with Nintendo on their own.

The game itself is designed for ages 8 and up, but during playtesting I discovered that children as young as 5 had no trouble understanding gameplay after an adult was able to walk them through it. The game also holds adults' interest quite well and it makes a very well-rounded family game. I have a fully functioning prototype which is fully decorated complete with a printed rulebook, everything in color. This thing is ready to go, I just don't know where to take it.

Any advice or help would be immensely appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Hedge-o-Matic
Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Marketing Companies

Nintendo likely has their rights sliced into geographic markets, so you may have more options than you think. Even if Asian markets, for example, already have a boardgame license for this property, European or US markets may not. I'd contact a Marketing company that deals with whatever market you intend the game to be for, and see if they can learn how Nintendo has divided the rights for this franchise.

At worst, start calling into Nintendo itself, or have someone who is skilled at corporate burrowing to do it for you. Nintendo likely has a core of English-speaking reps, but if not, you may have to find someone who can speak Japanese to represnt your interests in this matter.

In short, you've done the easy part in designing a viable game. Now comes the departure from hobby-level effort and the beginning of treating your game design work as a business, and that will take a lot of tedius work in research and phonetime, as well as finding and contracting out work for researchers or business people, or language-specific individuals, to take the next step. If you can't do some part of the process, find someone who can, and be willing to pay them for their skills, or cut them into any potential payoff, should your game be snapped up.

The key, here, is trusting other people with your game's specifics. That could probably start here on the BGDF, where we're pretty free with ideas and such, and know that it would take more effort to steal one of our games than a potential thief is willing to put forth, since any success at marketing would bring their theft to our attention, and there's documentary proof of our development work that makes for powerful evidence
of copyright infringement and theft.

But even if you choose to not trust the people here, you'll have to give anyone you work with every possible detail of your product. There will be no playing it close to the vest with either a partner on your end who's doing business work for you, a marketing company that will negotiate on your behalf, or with Nintendo, who, quite frankly, wouldn't bother stealing someone else's idea when they could just spend the time developing a billion-dollar title instead. The width of your path to success will be determined by how trusting you are of others. Until you're under an NDA with someone, I'd let those who could help in on the details.

Good luck, though, since it seems you're thinking big.

Endymian
Endymian's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/05/2008
Thank you for the advice. I

Thank you for the advice.

I am fairly certain that Nintendo does have a United States headquarters, and if I remember correctly it is in Washington state. I am in Arizona so at least this is not disgustingly far away from me. This also means that I probably do not need to deal with anybody internationally for now.

Do you know of any agents or marketing companies in that regard that may be able to help me get the ball rolling? If nothing else I can certainly get started on phoning and letter-writing.

More about the game itself, since you're probably right, I should be more open about it.
I will see about getting some photos posted I suppose, but the theme is Super Mario Bros., a theme that has been severely unexplored in board game territory since the 90's. One could argue that a satisfying Super Mario Bros. board game that is true to the source material has never been made; it was my goal to change that.

It is an adventure game for 2-4 players who must reach and meet certain goals an objectives on the board while collecting powerups to aid them and battling enemies (and other players) that they encounter to be the first to defeat Bowser.

Anyway, would I be just as well off asking any old boardgame agent about this or should I avoid that and instead try to find someone who specializes with subject matters already owned by separate parties?

Thanks again

MatthewF
MatthewF's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
Licensing

The term you'll be looking for when seeking an agent is someone who is experienced with licensing properties for use in toys and games.

As I'm more focused on the hobby market instead of the mass market, unfortunately I can't suggest an agent.

I'm in Arizona, too, in the Phoenix area, not that it helps. :)

Endymian
Endymian's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/05/2008
Hey, Phoenix buddy. That's

Hey, Phoenix buddy. That's where I'm at too :)

Thank you, it looks like that is the magic word I should be searching for. Licensing... good call. Thanks!

nomadsgames
nomadsgames's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/27/2008
Change Theme/Art

Hello Endymian,

I am just wondering. Is it possible too change the theme/art, so as not to infringe on the Nintendo Copyright/Trade Mark.

Regards
nomadsgames

kodarr
Offline
Joined: 08/04/2008
Theme/Art

Think of Mario 2 in the US, it origionally wasn't even Mario in Japan. You will probably be a lot more successful to still have the flavor but not use Nintendo trademark characters and items.
Can call the game Classic Side Scrolling or something like that which would elude to many classic side scrolling games use characters that are of your own design.
Because with nintendo even if you did publish with their consent I'm sure the terms would be in favor of them meaning you are putting money in to back up your product and they are probably going to take almost half the profit from sales.

MatthewF
MatthewF's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
Though the licensing would

Though the licensing would indeed take a chunk of the potential profit, there's a good chance the vastly increased sales of "Super Mario Brothers Board Game" over "Classic Side Scrolling" would more than make up the difference through sheer volume.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut