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Casual Connect Seattle 2017: Did That Publisher Just Ghost Me?


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This session is a humorous look at the current state of publishers and developer relationships. It will cover everything from publisher/developer speed-dating (it exists!), ghosting, breakups good and bad, and more. Attendees gained actionable insights into better networking, creating and maintaining relationships, and what to look for in a potential publishing partner.

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Casual Connect Seattle 2017: Did That Publisher Just Ghost Me?

  1. 1. Did That Publisher Just Ghost Me? Publisher & Developer Relationships in the Modern Age Mel Montañ o Senior Business Development Manager
  2. 2. ghost transitive verb informal: to abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc. Added February 2017 to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  3. 3. What is this talk about? ● The Start ○ Meeting ● The Middle ○ Developing ○ Launching ● The End ○ Contract completed / Game cancelled ● The Sequel 3
  4. 4. Past Publisher - Developer Relationships ● Physical distribution focused ● Mostly one-sided deals ● IP control ● Unknown support ● Market driven and reactionary 4
  5. 5. Modern Publisher - Developer Relationships ● Digital distribution focused ● More fair deals ● Own your own IP ● Potentially unknown support ● Market driven and reactionary 5
  6. 6. The Meet-Cute ● Mutual friends and developers ● Conferences ● Game-Dev meetups ○ Women In Gaming International ○ City/Region meetups ● Pub-Dev speed dating ● Pub-Dev matching sites 6
  7. 7. If You Are Hosting An Event ● Set your Code of Conduct and follow it ● Consider your audience ○ Location ○ Under 21 or non-drinkers ○ Provide non-alcoholic beverages and snacks ● Avoid loud music 7
  8. 8. Attending an Event and Hosting a Booth ● Consider every interaction as new ● Include relevant information on your business cards and flyers ● Tip: Take notes every meeting ● Stay hydrated, drink some water 8
  9. 9. At Events, Don’t Be That Person ● Be respectful ● Drink responsibly ○ Drink some water ● If you make mistakes, apologize. 9
  10. 10. After Meeting ● 3 day rule after conferences ○ Unintentional ghosting ● Actionable subject line in your email ○ One email chain, don’t double dip ● Give context in the email ○ “We met at … Was wondering …” ● Don’t be scared to ask questions! 10
  11. 11. What To Do When You Think You’ve Been Ghosted ● Around a week after the first message, a polite follow up is welcomed ● Following messages cc: in additional contact, give time frames ● Three emails and give a gap ○ Reach back out at the next event ● Staffing changes ● Remember regional holidays! 11
  12. 12. Considering a Publishing Partner ● Look at their portfolio ● Talk to other developers ● Ask for information on previous titles ● Take your time, ask questions, negotiate ● Consider a studio visit ○ Take into account pub/dev location 12
  13. 13. Consider Your Dealbreakers 1. Revenue Advance 2. Revenue Split 3. Platforms for Release 4. Schedule 5. Development Support (Analytics, Porting, etc) 6. Day to day relationship 7. Physical / Digital Publishing 8. Marketing Expectations 9. Exclusivity 10. Termination Information 13
  14. 14. Working With a Partner - The Day to Day ● Communicate ● Set up recurring calls and check-ins ● Specify monthly information and reports are needed ● Set up shared folders for assets for marketing and promotions ● This is a partnership, discuss and mutually agree on decisions 14
  15. 15. Things Not To Do ● Assume anyone works in a specific department when first meeting ● Lie or threaten ● Go into a meeting totally unprepared ○ Calling the company you’re talking to the wrong name ● Rebound and duplicate game pitches ○ What about this? Or this? 15
  16. 16. It’s OK to Not Have a Publisher ● If you go it alone, work out how to fulfill those things a publisher provides ○ Revenue Advance, Platform Relationships, Analytics, Store Page Design, Ongoing sale management, Marketing and User Acquisition, Customer Support, QA, Roadmap and Event Planning, Localization, Etc… ○ Some can be provided by other service providers 16
  17. 17. When Things Go Wrong ● Communicate! ● Stay calm, review your options ● Do a post-mortem with the developer / publisher to work out what went right and what could be improved ● Try not to ‘bad mouth’ other studios, developers, and publishers, but do share experiences 17
  18. 18. When Things Go Right ● Celebrate together ● Mention your publisher please! ● Think about the next game ● Do a post-mortem with the developer / publisher to work out what went right and what could be improved 18
  19. 19. Questions? ● I’ll be outside following the talk for further questions ● The talk will be posted following the conference ● Don’t forget to drink some water today 19
  20. 20. Thank You @melchiwi
  21. 21. Relevant Articles “Code of Conduct.” Open Source Bridge. 21