What are some other publishers like Aldorlea, and who to turn to for budget marketing/promotion?

IRHP

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I was wondering if there's more sites who work with RPG Maker developers like Aldorlea, and also I'm not sure where to look for help with marketing and promotion (getting your game known, and help with crowdfunding, etc). If there's a list or some personal stories about experiences with this kind of stuff, please share. Thanks.

Also, how do you know if publishing offers are legitimate? Sometimes the site seems fine but you dig deeper and things seem off, like dead social media presence. Tips from people with a keen eye are welcome!

Moderation: I am unsure if this is the appropriate location for this topic, please feel free to relocate it if necessary.
 
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Chance is pretty small a publisher will pick someone like you or me up. Maybe only Degica with their contest every year. We're left to self publishing on the Play Store and Steam. Producing something physical involves a lot of risk and a successful crowdfund usually only happens when a game is like 70% complete and the company (with already multiple people working on a project) wants to bring a product onto the market.
 

Andar

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every publisher is always interested in finding more games to distribute.
The problem is that they require a high quality, because only with high quality a game can get enough sales to pay for advertising.

So despite the comment above the publishers always welcome people asking them to distribute their games - they just turn 99% of them down exactly because the quality of home-made first games is often low.
 

Kes

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@EthanFox Every couple of years (not every year) Degica runs the Indie Game Maker competion. You'll find threads about this in Community Announcements, and quite a lot of games developed for those competitions find their way into the Completed Games section.
 

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So despite the comment above the publishers always welcome people asking them to distribute their games
Ah ok, didn't know that.
 

IRHP

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Thanks for the input guys. Of the many publishers I have reached out to, one has shown interest. However, upon further inspection, despite their website looking nice, their Twitter is dead and Facebook seems unengaged. Not sure I'm allowed to provide a link but they're called Community Villa, do you think they're legit...?

I suppose that's something I'll edit into the opening; how do you know if publishers are legitimate?
 

Indinera

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If you made a classic RPG, you could always release it on my website. That's the kind of game my community loves best.
As for Steam, given the hectic situation of the Steam market, I'm not making it a priority, but if someone is interested, I can always publish their game there. Bear in mind though that RM games (esp classic ones) are having a hard time selling there nowadays.
 

bgillisp

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@EthanFox : One thing to know about the IGMC is it is a contest where you get 30 days or so to make a game from start to finish. So projects that have been started before that cannot be entered. That's why I've only entered the 2014 IGMC as I've been working on improving (and finishing) my game since that time, and I cannot reenter it as it was started in 2014.

@IRHP : I'd say it depends on how they reach their community. I myself have never heard of anyone finding RPGMaker games via facebook, so I'd probably not even consider that myself. But I'd probably look at how active they are on their forums and do they send out newsletters mentioning a new release, etc.

@Indinera : Probably smart to forgo Steam these days. Back in 2014 I saw some RPGMaker games sell 200,000 copies and they were all default assets (or very close to it). Since about 2016/2017 once Steam opened the floodgates I've heard of some indie devs selling a whopping 9 copies (and not just RPGMaker games, but any game under any engine have done that poorly). It's like the shareware flood of the late 80's/early 90's all over again, where some games never sold a single registered copy (and yes, there is a game that didn't. The CRPG addict played it and sent in the fee afterwards and was told he was the first registered copy that the developer ever sold of that game.)

My suggestion is you need to find a publisher that either one knows how to work Steam and get your game noticed BUT does not undercut it or devalue it (200,000 copies means little if you get $0.001 per copy after all the cuts), or sell your game where the audience is.

On another note, sadly the only RPGMaker games that seem to do well on Steam are adult games, which is why some of you heard me joke Steam should rename itself to Steamy, as that seems to be the market for games now on there that aren't AAA.
 

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Back in 2014 I saw some RPGMaker games sell 200,000 copies

They never really "sold" this much. Something like 80% of it (if not more) was free giveaways and $0.1 bundles, and the rest probably sold the bulk of it with 80% or 90% off discounts.

BUT does not undercut it or devalue it (200,000 copies means little if you get $0.001 per copy after all the cuts),

It was probably $0.001 per copy BEFORE the cut xD
 

bgillisp

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@Indinera : You are probably right, as I remember one dev here posted they did manage to get quite a few sales in 2014/2015 due to shoving the game into every bundle in existence.
 

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I actually wonder if the term "made with rpg maker" is an instant death for a games' sales. Like it's a curse or something. Or if it's not just rpg maker games but dependant on the look in general.
 

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@Indinera : You are probably right, as I remember one dev here posted they did manage to get quite a few sales in 2014/2015 due to shoving the game into every bundle in existence.

I think it was Labyrinthine who said that, after he sold his first two games to a publisher, they combined sold over a million copies. But I've seen the games pop up a bunch and they're always on sale for like 33 cents. I mean, I'm sure the publisher still made some profit, but after the steam cut and any bundle giveaways, the actual profit per copy sold is so low it's probably next to nothing.

I actually wonder if the term "made with rpg maker" is an instant death for a games' sales. Like it's a curse or something. Or if it's not just rpg maker games but dependant on the look in general.

I'd say it's more dependant on the look. IMO it's more accurate to say that any RPG Maker game that uses the base RTP or anything that looks like "a generic RPGMaker game" is instant death. I've seen quite a few games that have the RPG Maker tag that have sold quite well, and not just the big ones like One Shot and To The Moon.

I can't be bothered to find it right now, but I've seen one pop up a bunch of times that looked like a dating/farming simulator made in RPG XP. Many of the reviews said something along the lines of "even though it's an RPG Maker game, it's really good"

@bgillisp an interesting bit of info I've found out from researching - a lot of the porn RPGMaker games we see selling so well on Steam are all from the same publisher - Sakura Games Kagura Games - and most of them are in English and Chinese. I bring this up because I've seen a few porn games made in the engine that haven't sold much at all, and coincidentally aren't sold by that publisher. It turns out Kagura Games is a pretty big publisher whose entire brand is selling porn games, and that's the big reason why they sell so well.

Edit: Hell, that publisher literally just released an RPGMaker game yesterday that already has 42 reviews. Most of them are from China, so it wouldn't surprise me if the vast majority of sales from these porn games are due to them being Chinese translated into English. So, IMO, the reason for the massive sales for these games we see so often is due to the publisher having a huge established fanbase, with the porn itself being a distant second reason.

Anyway, to stay on topic, I'm actually interested in hearing if anyone knows of or even has a publisher who frequently publishes jRPGs. I unfortunately don't know of any besides Aldorlea and Degica, but then again I haven't looked since I've stuck with self-publishing so far.
 
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Indinera

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I think it was Labyrinthine who said that, after he sold his first two games to a publisher, they combined sold over a million copies. But I've seen the games pop up a bunch and they're always on sale for like 33 cents. I mean, I'm sure the publisher still made some profit, but after the steam cut and any bundle giveaways, the actual profit per copy sold is so low it's probably next to nothing.

Income is a very different thing from "sales", and I'm putting it between "" because in a time where a $0.00 "sale" is considered the same as a $20 one (thank you so much for that Steamspy), people tend to be misled quite a bit about what is a success and what isn't so much.
 

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@jkweath : Actually it isn't. The maker of Labyrithine says they sold the first games to the publisher for a flat rate, so the publisher gets 100% of the sales now due to that. The game I was thinking of was The Clans - Saga of the Twins actually. You can look it up on Steam if you wish to see more.

Also I wouldn't say the porn being a secondary reason is correct. All ever see on Steam now is "Does this game got an 18+ patch?". That's also true for visual novels, regardless of the setting of the visual novel or even if it would make sense.

Anyway, to stay on topic, I'm actually interested in hearing if anyone knows of or even has a publisher who frequently publishes jRPGs. I unfortunately don't know of any besides Aldorlea and Degica, but then again I haven't looked since I've stuck with self-publishing so far.

The maker of Incitement 3 uses a publisher on Steam to sell their games. You'd have to see if you can find a way to contact them. Also Tuomo's Games is now offering to publish RPGMaker games on Steam. Those are the only ones I've heard of.

Moderator Reminder (just so no one forgets): Just remember we are a corporate forum, so please only mention the publishers. Do not review them here.

 

jkweath

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@jkweath :

Also I wouldn't say the porn being a secondary reason is correct. All ever see on Steam now is "Does this game got an 18+ patch?". That's also true for visual novels, regardless of the setting of the visual novel or even if it would make sense.

Fair enough. Awhile back I got interested in understanding why so many RPGMaker porn games I've seen pop up sell so well, and I happened to notice almost all of them are from Kagura Games. Any other porn game I noticed still sold decently well, more than your average RPGMaker game, but had nowhere near the success of any game published by Kagura.

I figured that the massive success of those games was a combination of A, Kagura Games having a large dedicated fanbase, B, the porn, and C, the Chinese + English (which is usually auto-translated) translations.
 

flynnmichael81

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I personally wouldn’t consider using a publisher. Self-publish, and put in the time to do your own, free, marketing. Between forums, reddit, and social media you can stir up interest in your game, providing it looks good. If it doesn't look good then no amount of media buys will really help. From RPG Maker games, I've made a decent second income using Steam alone and self-publishing. The below figures are from the last four years.

vhG3I9Q.png


From all other sales on Itch.io, Gamejolt, and other platforms, I've made less than $8000 in the same time period. From bundles less than a thousand (so I no longer do these).
Although I wouldn't want to give up my dayjob based on these figures, I imagine that if I had (and put in twice as much work) I could have doubled that income.

I post these figures mainly to show (and give hope) that RPG Maker games can make a fairly decent income, as I get the impression, from this and other threads, that people feel that they cannot.

EDIT: The Steam figures: please remember that from that Steam takes a hefty cut! I cannot disclose the amount due to the Steam NDA, but I'm sure it is searchable!

 
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IRHP

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I personally wouldn’t consider using a publisher. Self-publish, and put in the time to do your own, free, marketing. Between forums, reddit, and social media you can stir up interest in your game, providing it looks good. If it doesn't look good then no amount of media buys will really help. From RPG Maker games, I've made a decent second income using Steam alone and self-publishing. The below figures are from the last four years.

vhG3I9Q.png


From all other sales on Itch.io, Gamejolt, and other platforms, I've made less than $8000 in the same time period. From bundles less than a thousand (so I no longer do these).
Although I wouldn't want to give up my dayjob based on these figures, I imagine that if I had (and put in twice as much work) I could have doubled that income.

I post these figures mainly to show (and give hope) that RPG Maker games can make a fairly decent income, as I get the impression, from this and other threads, that people feel that they cannot.


Wow, that's actually surprisingly good income. I appreciate your transparency, too. How many games have you made over the past 4 years to make so much? I assume you made a lot of them, and that your games must be very good, too.
 

flynnmichael81

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Eleven games total, and no, some of them were terrible, especially my early ones made in XP. It is only in the last two years that my games gained positive reviews. This, for example, was a complete flop even though made in MV...


yet this did considerably better...


I highlight these games specifically becuase these are the most 'RPG Maker-like' games that I've made.

Despite few reviews, this has been a great success...


I never know which games will do well. I have two large games and one smaller launching in the next month (see my sig) and I'm setting my expectations at $5000 for the lot which is fairly low. That way anything over that will feel like a bonus.
 

IRHP

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There's no way to predict which will do well? It's pretty interesting how this all works, it almost seems random. I've read countless articles and I can't find a pattern to success. I guess you just have to do your best.

Well, congratulations on your success, and I hope your next games do well too!
 

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