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Publishers who want to be only one to see game?

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TKJimbo
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Sorry for the confusing heading, but I couldnt sum up what I'm asking in one phrase...

I've been seeing publisher website rules about game submnission say something along the lines of "we prefer to be the only publisher you submit to" - I am completely paraphrasing here, because (of course) I cant find the actual phrase right now..

Am i misinterpreting something? Do publishers really want/expect to be the only publisher that a designer submits to? (I'm not talking about options where they pay designers to not offer it to anyone else)

I can't imagine submitting a game design to XYZ Corp exclusively unless there is a relationship already in place... And if i do agree to submit exclusively to XYZ and they turn me down, it also means that I can't honestly tell 123 Corp that they were the only ones to look at it...

I'm hoping that I just misread something, and I will try to find a publisher who made that request on their site, but I just wanted to see if it was something real in the meantime....

Thanks
-=J

jeffinberlin
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Yes, there are some companies

Yes, there are some companies who ask for prototypes exclusively. The reason for this is understandable: they don't want to spend time testing a prototype only to have you sign a contract with someone else before they make a decision.

It's up to you to make the decision whether or not you want to take your chances with a publisher who does this, or send multiple copies of the prototype to publishers who do not have this policy.

I have done both. For example, I've sent card and dice games to Amigo in Germany because they have an excellent reputation and get their games into every store and shop imaginable (Bohnanza, 6 Nimmt, etc.). But they only take prototypes exclusively, and they can take up to a year to test and decide on a game. It's not fun to wait a year only to have your game cut during the last round of playtests (happened to me before), but I still think it's worth the risk.

With other games, however, I've often tried to send multiple copies out at the same time to get faster results. Of course, if a lesser-known publisher offers you a contract, and a better-known one is still considering your game, there is still a tough decision to be made (should I take this contract, or wait and hope for a better one?).

With the competition the way it is at the moment, I usually take it!

KrisW
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Exclusives

If you do send in a prototype for an exclusive look you may want to ask for a specific end date before you decide whether to send it in. Try to give them a bit more time than they ask for, but make sure you are all on the same page.

- KrisW

SinJinQLB
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Just thought I would ask this

Just thought I would ask this real quick even as it sort of pertains -

I just sent an email to a game publishing company (that says on their website they accept submissions via email). The email contained a small pitch and explanation of the game, along with the play time, list of components... everything the website asked for. It's been about 2 weeks now with now response - do these emails sometimes take a long time? And when would be an appropriate time to send a follow up email? They are one of the companies who want an exclusive look at the game, so I haven't sent the pitch to anyone else, which is why I'm a little anxious...

truekid games
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TKJimbo: To clarify, it's

TKJimbo: To clarify, it's not that they want to be the only one to have EVERY looked at it, it's that they want to be the only one to have the prototype under consideration during the time they're considering it. Often (but not always, be sure to read guidelines) you can submit an inquiry letter to multiple companies; but GENERALLY SPEAKING, only one company at a time should have the playable prototype in-hand and under consideration (unless they know ahead of time that multiple companies are actively looking at it). Nobody wants to spend 100 man-hours of valuable playtesting time evaluating a game only to be told by the designer that another company already signed it. Once it's rejected, you can move on to the next company. No company expects that they're the only ones to have ever seen a particular design, period, they just expect exclusivity during the evaluation period. There are exceptions, especially as you move towards the more mass-market end of the spectrum.

SinJinQLB: Game companies are almost universally VERY VERY bad at responding in a timely manner. There are exceptions, of course. I would give it a month, maybe two after an inquiry letter before either following up or (more likely) moving on to the next company. If the prototype is under consideration... the time frame is even crazier. I think the rough average in my experience is 6 months. A year is not uncommon. But I've had fast answers too (a couple of weeks), and in the extreme slow case, 4 years (though I had written it off as "not going to happen" long before that). Checking in every couple of months on the prototype is reasonable (don't pester), and at some point you'll get a feel for the "not going to happens" and realize when to politely let them know you're submitting elsewhere. Bonus hint: if they apologize for how long it's taking, and say that it's ok if you submit elsewhere, don't say "oh no, that's ok, I can wait", say "thank you, I will, but do let me know if you get a chance to try it out" and start submitting elsewhere.

sedjtroll
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truekid games wrote:TKJimbo:

truekid games wrote:
TKJimbo: To clarify, it's not that they want to be the only one to have EVER looked at it, it's that they want to be the only one to have the prototype under consideration during the time they're considering it.

Exactly right!

Quote:
Bonus hint: if they apologize for how long it's taking, and say that it's ok if you submit elsewhere, don't say "oh no, that's ok, I can wait", say "thank you, I will, but do let me know if you get a chance to try it out" and start submitting elsewhere.

Yes, this is true, and good advice.

Markus Hagenauer
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Usually I don´t give my

Usually I don´t give my prototypes exclusively to one publisher.
If they want to, they must give me some commitment / warrenties.

But I think it is indispensable to inform them about the submission to others, and of course to tell them if an interrest of one of the other publishers becomes definite. Having them playtes your game while the contract with someone else is (almost) signed would be unfair.

lewpuls
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Queries

SinJinQLB wrote:
Just thought I would ask this real quick even as it sort of pertains -

I just sent an email to a game publishing company (that says on their website they accept submissions via email). The email contained a small pitch and explanation of the game, along with the play time, list of components... everything the website asked for. It's been about 2 weeks now with now response - do these emails sometimes take a long time? And when would be an appropriate time to send a follow up email? They are one of the companies who want an exclusive look at the game, so I haven't sent the pitch to anyone else, which is why I'm a little anxious...

I don't know that they want an exclusive on the *query*. Dealing with that takes a relatively short time. It would be when they have the whole game that they want exclusivity.

Two weeks is nothing, I'm afraid. Even well-known people with track records often wait months, or don't get a reply at all. It seems that many publishers get more email than they can cope with.

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