How to sell your game for real money
Don't you love working as a lone wolf? Especially when you've got such a great game idea, and you don't want to share it with anyone!
However, sometimes even you and I need to stop dreaming. We are now well into the third millennium, and it simply isn't possible to create hugely successful games, the way lone developers did in the 70s and 80s. Those primitive games really rocked back then, but they won't sell too many copies today.
So, to create a great game, you will need to work with a team, even if it's a small one. However, this means that you will need some money. Hopefully, this article will teach you how to get it.
I know what you think: all business decisions are taken 100% rationally, especially when people try to figure out if they should finance your new project, which may (or may not) succeed. However, from my experience, it's all about selling both your project and yourself. Really, it's all about creating positive vibes around you and your project.
This means that you should learn how to sell yourself. It's not an easy task, I agree, but fortunately it's something that you can learn, at least to a certain degree. Just like most programmers, I am an introvert too. But this hasn't prevented me from closing several contracts with large companies. So, start reading articles and books that teach you how to sell yourself, and thus increase your chances of getting financing for your new game.
Take this great book, for example. It teaches you how to introduce yourself using a story, get the other guy to tell his story, build rapport, handle objections and actually close the sale.
If you want to sell your project, you'd better be convincing. If you, the game creator, don't exhibit full confidence in your game's potential, who else will believe in it? Don't try to fake it, though. If you don't love your game, maybe it's not a project you will want to pitch to publishers and/or investors.
Project features matter a lot, of course. But try to think outside the box, and figure out what's in it for them - your customers.
While I am happy to hear that your game uses the latest DirectX libraries, this won't mean anything to your customers. So, if you are pitching a project, be sure to emphasize the end-users' benefits. Things like "200+ hours of non-repetitive gameplay" have the potential to convince the investor, who may not even be a programmer, and make him share some of his hard-earned money with you.
Be honest. Don't try to promise features and visuals that you are simply unable to achieve. Instead, try to use an existing game, which has a similar quality, as a reference. Then, mention why your game is so much better than the reference. Here's an example. "It is similar with XYZ, but uses on open world, which is filled with randomly generated dragons and monsters. No two games are the same!".
It helps to build a project that has unique features. Especially when those features fulfill an existing need. Maybe there are lots of people who wonder what's it like to be a surgeon. Well, you could create a VR game that teaches them how to operate!
No matter what you do, be sure to explain all your project's key features. Don't let your potential publisher or investor imagine anything! For best results, allow them to play with an early prototype of your game. Yeah, those textures will look horrible. And those blocky characters will be really ugly. But that early prototype will help the investors figure out if your project has a future or not.
Let's assume that the answer is positive, and you are given an advance payment. It's time to work hard, and ensure that the project reaches its completion within the agreed upon time frame. Don't ever disappoint those people, who have trusted you and your vision!
Percentage of teenagers who play mobile games: 76%, PC/Mac games: 62%, online games: 40%, console games: 29%.
The average age of gamers in the US: 35. The average age of game purchasers: 38. The average number of years gamers have been playing: 13.
Source: Big Fish Games