One of the most important things, when developing a game, is to actually be ready at all time to pitch your game.
Pitch to another studio, pitch to a friend, pitch to a family member, pitch to a publisher, pitch to a investor, at any moment you could be in a situation where we will have to pitch in a couple of minutes your game to another person of company.
A lot of people thing that know very well on to make this exercise, but the true is that there is a lot of people that think they know how to pitch, but in reality a lot of mistakes are being made, that will break a part the main objective of the pitch.
Pitching a game
In this 2017 GDC talk, Game On The Rails’ Brian Upton describes thirty annoying or counterproductive things that you should avoid when you’re pitching your game to a publisher. Learn how publishers evaluate the games that are pitched to them, what they care about and what they don’t, and what you can do to present your own game in the best possible light.
they’re really two big question that are really important about the game, is this game worth making and can this team make it ?
30 things publishers will hate about your game pitch
Here are some of the main points:
- No wants to know about the game backstory, so don´t loose 20 minutes in telling something that no know one is interested in hearing about it, and no one will probably remember it when making the final decision about purchasing or not the game. if StarWars saga stars with a simple text scrolling, but then your game can live with it too.
- No one is interesting in hearing about your mega super duper inventory system. A single sophisticated system will not make a game. a game is something much more integrated and much geared toward having fun,
- The publisher will not design the game for you. They will help you setting some parameters according to the market, but they will not fix your game, or tell you how it should be as to get more players. If you any a doubt about your design the pitch is not the right place to ask for advices, tell them what you want to do.
- Pillars are not hooks. You have to be very clear about the unique selling points for the game, what is the hook that will get the player into the game, not the fundamental elements of your game (pillars).
- Never explaining what the player does, Some times related with the hook from the previous point, when pitch you are not clear about the abilities and the main mechanics of the player, and that will somewhat define what the game will be about. Explaining how beautiful the world is, or how deep is the story, and then not telling about what the player can or can´t do is a major flaw in your pitch. Be specific and always visual when explaining, and if possible to explain with other examples, then it could be more easy to understand.
- In the real world no one can double jump. Don´t use realism to excuse bad design decisions. If something has to be in certain way in the game, just explain it as it is, and dont´try to link to the real world.
- It’s a game show.
- it’s a parody. Announcing a game as a parody is usually a bad idea, because it
- Never mention the risks associated with the project. It is important that you states what are the risks associated with the game, because the publisher is probably able to think that they are risks associated with it, so it is a good decision to share your knowledge on how you will deal with the game project risks.
- Your proof of concept doesn´t prove your concept. If you have a prototype for the game, then concentrate specifically in the parts that you know are the most important and the more risky, as to make it clear that it can be done.
- Having a lot of bad images doesn´t make them looking good. If you art sucks, then no matter how much art you will integrate in the game, the result will always end being bad. So try to get the best talent onboard.
- A publisher knows what a placeholder is. So try to avoid placeholders in your pitch and uses the best material that you have.
- Polishing too early. If you art is too polish but the mechanics are still very rough, then you will be transmitting the idea that the game is not as good as you are trying to pitch, or still very far way from ir.
- Your sample dialogs are really bad. There is nothing more difficult than actually design really good dialogues, because this will show case directly that you are not able to write. T
- Throwing all the tech in the game even if not needed. A game is not about using all the technology available. It is about choosing the best technology that will support correctly the features that your game will require. Don´t use all the buzz wording available, just use what is contextually important for the game.
- Don´t know your interlocutor. you have not done the research about the publisher you are talking too, and you try to pitch a mobile game to a console publisher or vice versa …. that’s really a wrong move, because it shows that you are not planning for what you are trying to do.
- Don´t copy ideas, be original and create your own. Copying the latest successful game and pitching it, is really not very good showcase of your abilities as a game developer.
- Don´t owning what you need for the game and asking for the publisher to help. If you don´t have the license for super know characters, or you don´t have a license to use the latest VR/AR System, don´t ask the publisher to help you achieving it, because you are basically shooting on your own foot.
- Nobody buy a game for its monetization. Don´t focus your pitch on the monetization strategy that you will be implementing, because no one will buy it for it, but for the game mechanics that can make a fun and challenging game to be played. If the pitch is interesting, then the publisher will ask it specifically for it.
- Not knowing your financials. You have no clear idea on the production timeline and budget needed to develop the game. You should always be very clear about these elements because they will help you creating a very professional image about you and your studio.
- You don´t have a team. You don´t have anyone to start working on the game with you, and you are basically basing everything in trying to create the team after having signed the agreement, which is already too late.
- Be sure that you business plan is realistic and makes sense based on the reality of the industry and base in a conservative approach.
- Not showing a professional image of your self. A relationship with a publisher is a relationship based in trust between two parties, so if you are showing a very bad image of yourself than you will be communicating a negative image that could be a deal breaker.
- Don´t expect the publisher to know you and your studio. Integrate in the pich some backstory of you and your studio.
- Don´t be annoyed or defensive with the questions that a publisher could have. See them as an opportunity to communicate the message more efficiently.
- Always have a good resources for the pitch. Don´t try to do a pitch on your cellphone.
- Always take in consideration that the conditions for the pitch will not be the best ones, so always prepare everything you need to have the best experience toward the game ( headphones, screens, collateral,
- Take care of your personal images and integrity. Sleep well, don´t drink, don´t eat too much and don´t take any substance that can alter your conscience.
- Don´t criticize other companies, other games or other professionals.
- Be clean not only you but your hardware and your resources.