2. Previous Success doesn't mean you'll be successful
The video game industry is fickle. A big hit on PC does not guarantee a big hit on console. The reality is, no matter how well reviewed or how many units you sold on PC, you are now racing against the clock to release on other formats. The press and consumers will move on to other titles once their excitement for yours has faded, and it’s incredibly hard to drum up that excitement again once the initial wave has subsided. We’ll do our best to maintain and increase interest in your game, but you must aim to release your game on consoles as near to launch on PC as possible. Strike while the iron is hot.
4. Honesty is the best policy
Publishers need complete clarity and honesty from developers. Don’t hide information, because the more informed we are, the better we’re able to react. The best time, is right away, otherwise we might start making promises to retailers and consumers we can’t keep based on previous information. Be honest, and publishers will do their best to help out.
5. Focus on your skill set and bring in experts for the rest
Nobody can guarantee anything, and the reason why we’re successful, is we’re driven by our development partners, and we do our best to deliver. We don’t know how to code, but we do know how to help you develop your game with structures, budgets, advice on marketing, PR and a multitude of other things it takes to get a game in the hands of players. We’ve learned that by listening to others, and taking in as much as we can. If you tell a publisher that you’ll handle all the marketing, PR, storefronts, QA, submissions and a host of other things yourself, without the experience, it’s going to cause you issues. Let others advise you, and help you – because a publisher is invested in not just your game, but your success.
8. Respect comes with time
Mike Bithell is a well-liked developer, who made a very popular game. He has a following on social media, and developers want to learn from him. Trade and consumer publications will always find time to interview him. Unless you are Mike Bithell, you’re unlikely to get that immediate respect, or as much affection from those you want to talk to. This level of respect has to be earned. Do the talking with your game through coordinated community, PR and marketing, and afterwards, plenty of people will want to talk to you.
9. One territory will not make or break your game
You’d be surprised how a game designed for a certain age group or demographic can perform differently in so many territories. America is undoubtedly your largest market, followed by EMEA, but you cannot discount what we call export territories, or APAC (Asia Pacific). We build and maintain partnerships, so all you need to do is create your game. So instead of doing everything based around PAX, think about E3, GamesCom, GameCity, Rage, Igromir and any other event where you can connect with the community. Think about international press tours, and then ask people like us to do them. The world is your oyster, embrace it.
10. Do not bet the farm
The videogames industry is a business. Yes, we're super creative, and some of the most emotional and vibrant entertainment products are videogames. But, you probably want to make some money on the way. Like any ordinary business, unless you’ve got orders coming out of your arse, do not remortgage your house to pay for development. If you’re not getting investment, or the deals on offer don’t pay for what you project for the budget, do not risk everything to make it happen. Be patient, and try everything. If you run out of money during development, a publisher will try and help you, but you’re likely to lose some of the deal you spent so hard working on. Budget, plan, re-budget, re-plan. Take advice, and you’ll be well on the way to having a solid business. You shouldn’t get to the point where a project is sacrificing your well-being.
11. Don't give up
Sometimes, you'll hit a wall, there will be pressure, and it's likely that at some stage, you’ll be working all night to get a piece of code to do what it’s supposed to do. But underneath all of the hard work, the sacrifices and the strain, there is always a new game waiting to come out. If you believe in it enough, don’t walk away. Make the game you’ve always wanted to. Believe in yourself and the game, and it will come together.