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Publishing a game through an agent dilemma

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bfistric
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Joined: 05/19/2010

Hey guys!
This has probably been discussed many times so far but I couldn't find it among latest topics.
Basically, I was thinking of sending a game prototype to a couple of board game agents and try to get it published through one of them. Now, I would appreciate some basic advice from you regarding that:

1) Have any of you tried this approach and what are your experiences? Positive or negative?
2) If you have, how influential do agents tend to be? If you 'sell' the game to them, do they usually 'sell' it to the publisher, too? Or do they often fail?
3) Can you recommend any good agents to me?
4) What about the risk of being ripped off? I read somewhere that agents wouldn't risk their career to steal your ideas and publishers wouldn't risk copyright lawsuits, but if you are payed a percentage of your game sales, how do you keep track of the actual sales figures? Can you monitor that from some independent source or you just have to trust the publisher?

Thanks in advance for all the benevolent advice you provide me with...

truekid games
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Joined: 10/29/2008
1) Have any of you tried this

Quote:
1) Have any of you tried this approach and what are your experiences? Positive or negative?

Negative (as in, not productive... not as in "they were rude" or "they stole"). But I've not met any designer who has been like "omg this agent is great, he totally landed my game somewhere!". However, I have heard plenty of non-productive stories (inclusive of my own experiences). Keep in mind that that is all generally "real" game designers and not "mass market" game designers, so YMMV.

Quote:
2) If you have, how influential do agents tend to be? If you 'sell' the game to them, do they usually 'sell' it to the publisher, too? Or do they often fail?

see above. they're doing the same thing you do when you approach a company, but they've got a suitcase full of other people's designs too. all they've got going for them is their access to the target audience.

Quote:
3) Can you recommend any good agents to me?

not as of yet. however, if you're trying to approach a specific company (Ravensburger, Hasbro) they list suggested agents on their sites.

Quote:
4) What about the risk of being ripped off? I read somewhere that agents wouldn't risk their career to steal your ideas and publishers wouldn't risk copyright lawsuits, but if you are payed a percentage of your game sales, how do you keep track of the actual sales figures? Can you monitor that from some independent source or you just have to trust the publisher?

You have to trust the company to report accurately regardless of how you landed the contract (and similarly you'll have to trust the agent, if you use one).

I'm not against the concept of agents, I just have yet to have been demonstrated the efficacy of them in any game design arena. My only -real- advice is not to use any agent that asks for an up-front fee... or rather, that you have to consider that fee as 100% lost money.

bfistric
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Joined: 05/19/2010
Thanks man, I appreciate the

Thanks man, I appreciate the advice. It sounds discouraging but hopefully there are still some positive examples out there... And if publishers recommend a list of agents at least it implies that these ones can get you inside.

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Heard of Sorvent?

Speaking as a game design hobbyist and not as a Tasty Minstrel representative:

The only agent I know of is Mike Nickoloff - his company is called Sorvent. He's in Los Angeles. I do not know how successful he has been in getting games published (I do know that he landed Straw with AEG.

If you are looking for an agent, you might try Sorvent.

EDIT: According to their website: "At this time, Sorvent is not accepting new designers; we are currently working with our existing designers to get their games out to the marketplace. You are welcome to send us your contact information. We will be in touch if an opening becomes available."

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