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Getting A Publisher
Question submitted by (18 June 1999)
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Hi, I'm based in Singapore and I'm developing a game right now. When I've got a
completed demo, I would like to hook up with a game publisher in the states, since the
computer games industry in Singapore is non-existent.
I have 3 questions:
>1. Is this feasible?
Yes, but it is going to be harder to negotiate this as you aren't in the country, and they will feel they have less ability to control things. The best way to do this is to have the game finished or near finished. They may also be very reluctant to give an advance to someone in a country they do not do business in.
>2. How do I do this?
You would contact the publishers in the normal way, which would be the first find out who their submissions people are, signing whatever submission contract they have, then sending them the demo in whatever form they prefer. Then you would want to just see what they are open to in terms of negotiating if they like the demo.
>3. What are the returns like?
These are always based on sales, which are based on a lot of factors, and is impossible to guesstimate without a lot of information. There are many things that go into whether a game will sell well, but often one of the most important parts (beyond the quality of the game itself) is how much the publisher is behind your game. If you are rated as being a AAA money maker (a system that rates which games are most like to make the most money, B titles, A titles, AA, AAA), then they will probably give you a good marketing budget and possibly pay for end caps in retail stores, which means your title will be more visible and will have a better chance of making more sales.
Publishers dont normally just publish AAA titles though, they often want titles that are there to pad their expected AAA and other hopefuls so that if they stop selling, then they have another game to put in the place of it for the shelf space they've already paid for. (Retail shelf space is a limited commodity, so publishers have to pay to have their games on the shelves). This is not the best way to get your game published, but you do get published...
The bottom line is that you can make deals with some publishers if you are out of their country, but it will be more difficult then if you were in their country, and you will be at an additional bargaining position because of it.
Response provided by Geoff Howland
This article was originally an entry in flipCode's Fountain of Knowledge, an open Question and Answer column that no longer exists.