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How Much for Selling a Game?

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/13/2010

So I created a board game, playtested a whole bunch and have submitted to a games publisher. Just curious what to expect if by chance they would want to publish my game? Do game publishers pay a one-time payment, pay a percentage or royalties or just how does it work if one would make it to the yellow brick road?

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
Watch out for Flying Monkeys

Most publishers will offer a percent of the sales a.k.a royalties. Depending on the other factors they will likely offer you between 3 to 7%. It’s common to have the contract expire after a number of years with the rights reverting back to you after its over.

Is that a good deal? It depends on all the other conditions and compensations.

I always ask for:

Credit in the rules (Some publishers don’t do this)

Copies of the game for my own purposes (The number I as for depends on the size of the print run)

The royalties to cover derivative works.(this way If they make an expansion on their own you get a cut)

How much to ask for depends on you.

Yes I have been turned down when asking for some compensation. Usually that’s not a deal breaker although I have turned down a few offers that I thought were exceptional weak or unbalanced.

Joined: 12/13/2010
Thanks. Thats exactly what I

Thanks. Thats exactly what I was wondering. Royalties are a percentage of total profit after overhead has been taken out correct? Whats a fair estimate of the amount or number of games a publisher would produce of one board game in a year?

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
2,500, give or take?

Trigger wrote:
What's a fair estimate of the amount or number of games a publisher would produce of one board game in a year?

Off the top of my head, I'm guessing 2,500 units, give or take. Larger publishers with proven designers publish more units, of course.

Dissenting opinions welcome, of course.

Joined: 04/18/2009
Anormal printrun is for

Anormal printrun is for between 2000 to 5000 games. So somwhere around there.

R1773R's picture
Joined: 03/18/2010
Curious :)

I'm very new, but ... An imaginative estimate I would state is, if there's a run of 3000, games sold for 40 a piece in shops, means sold for 20 to shops by publisher??? Let's say 10 a piece for manufacturing, would the publisher get 3000 x 10 = 30 000, -33% taxes etc... = 20K and of that you get let's say 5% equals 1000 currency units :D

If anybody here has some experience selling games, could you share some insight on price-making? In my head, the shop-keeper keep about 50% of the games price, which means it was sold to him for the 50% of the price he's selling it for right? =D

Thanks Everybody for your insights! I'll believe anything you write here 0;-)

~warmly Richy

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
As a very rough estimate, if

As a very rough estimate, if a game costs $5 to produce (per unit) the publisher will sell it to a distributor for $10, the distributor sells it to a store for $20 and the store sells it for $40 to the customer.

Joined: 04/18/2009
It al comes down to the

It al comes down to the production cost and the choises the company makes in regards to what value they want there product to have.

There is a video on where a maker of a party game says he makes 3-5 dollars in profit for every game sold. And sells the game for 20-25 dollars. If the game sells for 25 dollars just do the folowing if you want to know what the production cost is. (25/1,tax)*0,38-(3 and one seperet for 5). The 0,38 comes from what you get if you sell your game throu PSI. They take a fue % from you but I think they increase your sales so they should be worth it. Atleast this is how I do my match when I calculate on theese stuff.

Joined: 12/13/2010
Thanks everyone. This info

Thanks everyone. This info really helps.

irdesigns510's picture
Joined: 06/24/2009
purple pawns video

i definitely think they went with the guys game in that video because the final product was an electronic version of the game, not a paper and cards version.

electronic games have no overhead, they aren't susceptible to storage damage due to humidity or other forces, and they are easy to "point-click-buy" like apps are for smart phones.

if it was just the paper boards and cards, i seriously doubt they'd have given him anything, and most of that $50k went to advertising, guaranteed.

NativeTexan's picture
Joined: 03/04/2009
Selling your boardgame

I don't have a lot by way of data points, but I will share what I know based upon my personal experience of selling one game (Arctic Scavengers) to Rio Grande, as well as conversations with other published designers.

*Advance: It is reasonable to expect an advance on Royalties if this is an established publisher. Some get only a few hundred dollars. I personally received a few thousand. Designers with a really strong track record can command as much as $10k.

*Royalties: You should absolutely expect a % of royalties. The previously stated range of 3-7% is not bad, but it is important that you clarify some details:
- What expenses will be deducted prior to your % kicking in?
- If you have a low percentage (closer to 3%) make sure it is based off of GROSS SALES
- If you have a higher percentage (closer to 7%) it is more likely going to be based off of NET SALES

*There should be a time boundary on the deal where the publisher has to do something with your game in a given amount of time or the rights return to you.

*You should retain rights (at least right of first refusal) on expansions.

Hope this helps!

Robert K Gabhart
Driftwood Games

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