Would you be interested in publisher services?

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by Tuomo L, Dec 17, 2017.

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  1. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    Hey, guys, I didn't know where I should post this, so I just posted it here. I have been thinking about this for quite some time and I was wondering if anyone would be interested in this publishing sorta idea I've had in my mind. Basically, you'd let me sell your games and I'd take 40% cut off the sales (30% goes to Steam, 10% for myself).

    Why give you anything, I can just self publish on Steam!

    Technically, this is true. But have you looked at Steam's store recently? It's flooded to the point that it's becoming harder and harder to get even small recognition. All your hard work that you've done, can go entirely missed by majority of people. You will also be competing with other RPG Maker games and major AAA releases. You will literally be fighting for table scraps in already limited niche market.

    Okay, but why should I care about you?

    I have established store presence and followers. I will start to introduce store bundles and deals that will increase your sales alrerady based on the fact that people already own some games I've released. We will both get more sales and benefit from free synergy between stores.

    I will also help you with your store page and help setting things up with you, I will also help market your games.

    Why you and not someone else like *insert publisher here*

    Personalized service and the fact that I am only taking 10%, many companies take a lot more. The 30% as mentioned goes directly to Steam and is what you'd have to pay Steam regardless from all your earnings.

    10% will help me break even in the expenses and the work I'll do to help set everything up. Plus, while this is meant to help new developers this isn't a charity, you know.

    Besides, many publishers will take a look at RPG Maker game and simply laugh it off, I won't.

    How do I know my games get visibility when working with you

    My first game Save Your Mother has been bought in over 63 countries, which is almost every single country Steam sells to. When sold in bundles together without even doing anything, you'll be shown to all the people who bought any of my games and to those who are looking to buy my games. When I market my games, people will also see your games in the bundles. It's a synergy where everyone involved wins.

    What if I've already self published my game but I am interested in working with you?

    Steam offers way of changing ownership of packages to their devs exactly for situations like these.

    What if I choose you as publisher and later on, want to be my own publisher?

    Same as before, Steam offers way of changing ownership of packages. I will simply make you the owner of said package, just the same as you would make me the owner. To avoid flip flopping between owners and publishers and make it confusing to keep track of, no publishing deals can be changed before six months has been due. Changes to said deals by either me or you, would require a notification of month prior to it, to allow all paper work and book keeping to be made accurate.

    What about Steam Direct fee?

    I will pay the Steam Direct fee.

    What about other sites, such as GOG, Humblebundle, etc?

    I will look to expand my services to these too in the future.

    Why do this?

    Us little guys have to stick together if we want to survive in the market, this is meant to benefit everyone involved

    IN summary TL;DR

    • I will try your game and test that it will start and work on Steam, so the customers will have functional game. I won't be a beta tester, though so I most likely won't play through your game. I won't have the time to be QA person, but if this really takes off I can hire someone to be one.
    • Many people have had questions about stuff like Steam achievements and such, I can help setting those up for your game.
    • I can do some price valueing in helping determine a good pricing for your product to maximize potential customer base.
    • I will advertise your game through all my social channels and will do paid advertisements as well if you wish (though we have to negotiate a price for that and I think dynamic advertisement is more effective)
    • As mentioned, I will advertise your games through bundling it with my own games and taking part in sales events that you may not be eglible otherwise, such as Anime Weekends.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
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  2. Poryg

    Poryg Dark Lord of the Castle of Javascreeps Veteran

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    If I ever finish a game (which is still in the stars, since I haven't begun properly making yet), as long as there would be a decent way to become my own publisher once I establish myself, then I would definitely be interested.
     
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  3. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    Of course, you can always publish your next game yourself but I think my idea would help when it's your first game ever to break into the crowd, so to speak.

    Also when you wish for us to conclude the publishing deal and feel like I can no longer help you or you can stand on your own, I can just grant you the package back just the way that you'd give me the package yourself when you'd want me to be the publisher. It's really simple, the Steamworks has options built exactly for cases like this.

    I'd have to think how long you'd be bound to me before you'd get rid of me, haha, but I think it'd not have to be that long, like six-nine months only to prevent people flip flopping and just taking it for two months or so and then leaving. Of course, it'd be wonderful for you to become your own publisher and I'd love to work with you afterwards. :rhappy:
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
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  4. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    A good publisher is worth a lot more than 10%, because he does a lot more than simply!y handling contacts. For example advertisements and quality control, but also market analysis and so on.
    These are all points that are short or missing in your original description.
    Can you explain what you do in those areas?
     
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  5. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    Glad you asked. I'll update first post too with this information.

    • I will try your game and test that it will start and work on Steam, so the customers will have functional game. I won't be a beta tester, though so I most likely won't play through your game. I won't have the time to be QA person, but if this really takes off I can hire someone to be one.
    • Many people have had questions about stuff like Steam achievements and such, I can help setting those up for your game.
    • I can do some price valueing in helping determine a good pricing for your product to maximize potential customer base.
    • I will advertise your game through all my social channels and will do paid advertisements as well if you wish (though we have to negotiate a price for that and I think dynamic advertisement is more effective)
    • As mentioned, I will advertise your games through bundling it with my own games and taking part in sales events that you may not be eglible otherwise, such as Anime Weekends.
     
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  6. CleanWater

    CleanWater Independent Developer Veteran

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    It's a interesting idea. I was thinking about something similar to make CleanWaterSoft a game publisher too, but I wouldn't have enough time to manage a lot of games from other developers and keep developing my own.

    It's really a nice shot. Specially now that Steam charges for each game with Steam Direct. You could pay these fees in exchange of the 10% revenue on sales.
     
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  7. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    I was hoping someone would bring this up. Yes, I will pay the Steam Direct fee, unless of course, this app has already been released and it has been paid.
     
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  8. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    @Tuomo L
    Unfortunately your answers still miss the points I was asking about.

    Quality control for a publisher is beyond checking if the game works - that is for the developers to do.
    QA for a publisher means deciding if a game has the minimum quality needed to be published at all, because a bad game published hurts the publisher both in name and in revenue.
    So what are your rules on which games you would publish and which ones you would refuse to publish due to lack of quality? And how do you decide on what that quality is?

    And I would like to get more details on your social media advertising - how many thousand viewers do you have with all sources combined? Because anything less than 100,000 viewers can't be called advertising by publisher (or at least not advertising worth paying a publisher for).

    Additionally, how do you analyse the market to see what can be sold and what not?
    Because market analysis is another task of a publisher, to know if and when a specific game should be published.
     
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  9. JayJayIsNotAJetPlane

    JayJayIsNotAJetPlane Call me a jet plane, one more time! Veteran

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    Andar has a point, but as a recent business graduate, I must say this. Whilst quality control is always a needed thing, sometimes one thing you are presented with may look like it fails your standards, only for you to see it weeks later doing amazing. Why is this, well because some people make their games look bad, like I mean does anyone remember the older nes/snes final fantasy games, a lot of those were actually horrible, but with the story and awesome mechanics the games were masterpieces.
     
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  10. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    @JayJayIsNotAJetPlane unfortunately that doesn't work, not with a real publisher.
    A publisher needs to test a game for quality, and that means he plays it enough to get past any simple presentation problems.
    Because yes, it is part of the work of a publisher to play even bad-looking games for several hours if they have even a hint of quality.

    And games where the presentation is intentionally bad can only work out as successes if they're planned that way, and that means the developer can tell the publisher beforehand "XY is intentionally bad for this and that reason". If the developer says "I made good maps" and the first map is a bad autogenerated one, that means the publisher can autoreject safely.

    Because games where the bad presentation is not known by the developer himself are rarely hidden gems, simply because if the developer doesn't understand quality concepts then he can't have quality hidden in the game.

    And if the publisher tries to publish 99 bad games in hope that the 100th is a hidden gem, then he'll file for bankruptcy after the 30th game...
     
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  11. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    Now I see what you mean.

    I wouldn't allow anything that'd go against Steam TOS of course, as well as any illegal materials or Rips. Anything like that, I'll have a zero tolerance policy.

    Aside that, I think I'd value each game case by case basis. It really depends on the game. If it looks absolutely dreadful and the guy tells me they want to charge like 50$ from it, I will of course turn them away. But I'd hate to put absolutes down and say no to this and that before reviewing said project first. I've been wow'ed before by concepts that I never thought would work.

    For example, I don't really like RTP graphics all that much but if it's super low budget game and it just works and the person wants to charge 0,99$ for it, I am not going to turn it away. I can offer some suggestions for improvements though.

    I never said they'd pay me, for it, any advertisement I'd do would be included with me being the publisher. I may have worded that wrongly, I meant that I have had previous attempts at using Google Adwords and Facebook ads for example and can help decide what is good budget for them if you want to look into that.

    Great question.

    From past experience as well as gathering data from various sources such as Steam's charts and other metrics like Google Analytics, I can make a reliable curve that will point to me what would be a good time to maximize potential sales for said game. I have some data that has shown certain things to be more reliable than others, as well as certain pricing to be more approcable for customers. I also keep record about whereabouts of major sale events, which is important as you rarely want to release your game during sales. If you haven't paid the Steam direct fee, you won't know about these dates until it's too late, so if you don't have anyone check before for you, it can really mess up your launch schelude. There's expectations to this rule of course, this is again why I want to go about everything case by case basis.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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  12. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    To be honest, I absolutely detest the idea of having to market my game, so I'd jump at this. If you're still doing this if/when my game is done, we'll talk.

    My biggest concern is that you mentioned "bundles" a few times. Steam has a reputation for sales, and humble bundles are notoriously low-priced. Of all the games you've sold in all of those countries, how many did customers pay full price for, and what pittance of full price did you get when they were sold in bundles? How many more sales did you make when your game was included in a bundle?

    Maybe I should charge twice what I really want, so when Steam sells it at a 50% discount I can actually get what I want for it.

    Big Fish Games once thought it'd be a great idea to charge customers $10 for a game rather than $20. The theory was, if you halve the price, you will double (and more) the number of sales. It didn't happen that way - sales did not increase enough and developer income dropped as a result. When they introduced their subscription membership, nobody ever paid full price for games anymore (at least none of the games I saw figures for). Customers would join the game club, pay the first month's subscription, spend their voucher on a half-priced game, and then cancel their membership. So I don't have any faith in "the cheaper it is, the more sales you'll get".
     
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  13. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    I have my bundles set for 10% off the regular price. Considering how much visibility that gives to each product like that, I think it's more than worth it.

    Or, just make like 25% maximum sale instead. You don't hae to do 50% especially if it's cheap game, my Strangers of Power at most has 15% sale.

    Yes, but Big Fish Games is different than Steam. On Steam,sales are esential for your visibility. Many people on Steam only buy when the price is reduced, no matter how low the price of the game is. It's just the mindset the people have there and it's something that one musts adapt too if they want to maximize the sales at Steam. Otherwise you'll just see tons of people at your wishlist but never translating to actual customers, because these people are waiting for either price drop or a sale.
     
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  14. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    'Commercial RPG Maker Discussion' is precisely for that - discussion. It is not for blatant advertizing of one's services, whatever those services might be.

    Degica is a game publisher, so game-publishing services fall under competing services. Unless prior permission is given, or Degica already has a working relationship with a particular publisher, such a competing service cannot advertize on this site.

    I am, therefore, closing this thread.

     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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