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How to Find the Best Game Publisher for You

In #80 of The Iterative Digest, we explored the benefits of working with a game publisher, and now we’re following up by helping you find the best fit for you! (If you haven’t done so already, we highly recommend going back and giving #80 a read). But what is that perfect fit? Where do we start?

First, we highly recommend writing down SMART goals that address what you’re looking to achieve. Having a clear, coherent list serving as a constant reminder of what you’re looking to accomplish is not only a great tool in game dev but also in life in general.

Research

Next, we need to know our options and who we could consider. There are a number of ways we could do this:

  • Talk to other Developers:
    • Ask about their experiences and try and get honest feedback about publishers we may be considering.
    • Ask for recommendations and share what we’re wanting to get out of a project to get deeper insight.
  • Read online including:
    • Publisher websites.
    • Testimonials of clients who have previously worked with publishers.
  • Utilize resources such as:
  • Meet publishers:
    • Take the time and go to conventions and networking events. (Added bonus of also meeting over developers, investors, and press.)
    • Email and set up calls to get any additional information.
  • Investigate Game Performance:
    • See how the game was marketed to you. Were you the right demographic?
    • Note any interesting promotional tactics that may have been used.
    • Consider the buzz and hype that the publisher generated.
    • Remember that scores aren’t necessarily a great indicator of the publisher’s efforts.
    • Check out the publisher’s efforts post-launch. Are they still providing additional content? Are bugs being addressed? Is the publisher involved with the community?

Preparation

By now we’ve done our research and have hopefully narrowed down a list of publishers we would like to talk to. We want to make sure we’re ready so it let’s brush up and review our original SMART goals so we know 100% what we want from our publisher. It’s time to reach out! These are some good questions to ask:

  • Communication: What time zone are you in, what channels of contact do you use, and how often can I expect us to be in contact?
  • Release: how long Will you support our title post-launch, what are your relationships with distributors such as Steam, who handles post-launch merchandise copyright, what’s your relationship with subscription service models?
  • Events: which events Do you attend, do you cover the cost involved with events, who showcases?
  • Translation/Porting: Do you support multi-plat, who handles porting to other platforms, and which languages will you support for our title?
  • Development: How hands-on/hands-off will you be, how can you shape the game, what knowledge/resources can you provide?
  • Financing: Is this something you offer or is there any advice you could provide so we can acquire what we need?
  • Relationship: What do you require from me, should I expect a typical approach for how you address my game? (It’s also good to take note of how well you gel together through these initial meetings.)

Additionally, pay attention to the publisher’s specialties. Do they focus on a certain platform, do they have experience with monetization models, do their audience expect a certain genre, do they have experience with your genre? What is their catalogue of games like? How are the games’ communities?

Conclusion

Hopefully, with all this information the cogs have been turning and you have a good idea of being able to identify a publisher that fits your needs. For a more in-depth analysis, we highly recommend Akupara Games blog for further advice, and best of luck in finding a Game Publisher suitable for your needs!

 

This article was originally published in The Iterative Digest #82. Click to subscribe!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment them down below!

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