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5 Insider Tips to Getting Your Game Published

5 Insider Tips to Getting Your Game Published

Digital Alberta’s Community Conversation Webinar Series featured Team 17’s Head of Game Scouting – Jasper Barnes – who presented the inside conversations, evaluation process and internal assessment that goes into selecting studios to work with. 

Is your game ready to present to a publisher? In this 1.5-hour presentation we picked out the top 5 tips game developers and studios can use to help guide their pitch and get the green light.

A Game Scout’s Secret to Getting Published:    

  1. Thousands of games are submitted in a year and only 10-20 are given the green light. What do you need to get through the door at this stage?

     The 3 C’s:

  •   Captivating Concept (Having an exciting concept that is ground-breaking, impactful, unique, engaging, demonstrates potential & making sure its eye catching is key)
  •   Competent (It’s expected that you have challenges because it is indicative of something unique and innovative. Know your development challenges and have a solution ready to mitigate them)
  •   Commercial (Do your research and ensure it has market appeal & business viability.) 
  1.  Game acquisition is much different than talent acquisition where a typical cover letter, resume and references will get a 30 second review with a recruiter who will quickly scan the documents and move on to the next candidate. In the game submission processes at Team 17 – everything is read in detail when shortlisting. Make sure you include all your materials like pitch decks, work plans & scheduling, videos, teasers, marketing materials, budgets, development plans, demo, resource plans and even your wish lists. Don’t leave anything out!
  2. Games that are shortlisted should have a “USP” (Unique Selling Point) and “Viability”. What does that mean? Create a game that has one or as many of the following value propositions:
  •       It’s the best of its kind
  •       It’s the first of its kind
  •       It’s unique
  •       It’s taking a new aspect to an existing formula that has already been successful

Helpful Tip: In using the market viability propositions listed above don’t forget to also make sure the budget is feasible. A game requiring a massive budget might take you out of the shortlisting process. It’s not about producing a “cheap” game, it’s about producing a quality game with a practical budget that can still return a profit. Also note that if a game is following an existing model that has been successful in the marketplace but has an interesting and unique twist, publishers will be persuaded to move the game to the next stage of approval as it’s lower risk versus a model that has not been tested in the marketplace, creating a higher degree of uncertainty. Not to say unique and net new have no merit of getting approved – it just means that if publishers had to pick between the two, they will more likely pick a game that has already proven successful in the marketplace. 

  1. Strong Aesthetic and Art Direction: This is a key element at this initial assessment stage. A strong art direction will not necessarily recover a weak game, but it will supplement a strong game. Does not need to be final, but theme and aesthetic should fit the mood and genre. 

Helpful Hint: A game that looks great but also has strong game play could get fast tracked for approval.

  1. Scalability, Longevity & Technical Execution: demonstrate solid programming, smooth performance & minimal bugs. Performance bugs happen and publishers will not turn their backs based on performance issues, but a game that has minimal bugs is bound to attract more attention. Do your best to test and improve the user experience and eliminate as many bugs as possible. Publishers look for games with potential for growth – expansion and evolving into a franchise holds additional appeal.

Get the complete details by watching the entire presentation: Demystifying the Indie Game Assessment Process with Team 17

Is your game ready? Want to learn more about gaming? Alberta Game Series is a conference for gaming developers and Indie studios that will be happening in Edmonton on October 13, 2023! Be the first to know when registration opens – Only 300 spots available. Sign up for updates today