As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #6, we held a panel on the pros and cons of getting a publisher or self-publishing.
Our panellists included
- Freedom! Games director of business development Michelle Brandstetter and
- Goodgame Studios director of App Store relations, partnerships and corporate development Caglar Eger.
They were joined by
- Game Seer Venture Partners CEO and partner Bertrand Vernizeau,
- Graffiti Games marketing director Alex Van Lepp and
- Lab Cave head of business Jami Wardman.
There are various factors to consider when deciding whether or not to get a publisher or self publish your game.
However, as Brandstetter pointed out, a publisher does provide valuable support as self-publishing can be a daunting task. Moreover, there is a range of assistance supplied by publishers.
"It comes down to time and money," said Van Lapp.
Essentially, self-publishing is not a sufficient method unless a developer has the time to do everything, which includes the likes of marketing and reaching out to influencers.
It is important to consider what your goal is for the game, "because when you work with a publisher, you work on their schedule," explained Wardman. Studios need to be sure that a publisher is a good fit for them before committing.
Test your game before making a final decision on whether to self publish or not. However, do consider all the benefits that a publisher provides.
Down to business
Business models are another thing to consider, particularly from a publisher's point of view. Different companies will have other structures and processes to determine whether or not a game is worth signing.
"What we have found is that small spending ahead of time has saved us money in the future on games that were not the right fit for us,'' said Wardman.
As for Game Seer Venture Partners, it has seen various changes in the past 12 months. One of its primary concerns, due to the pandemic, is independent production. It is tricky as the teams are unable to see one another.
"We are aware of team fatigue," said Brandstetter.
Due to the current climate in the world, team fatigue is something to consider for Freedom! Games. However, unlike other publishers, the company is signing more and more titles as opposed to less.
In recent years, more and more developers have opted to sign with a publisher. As such, publishers now face more competition, which can make it harder to land a deal for the most promising games.
However, it is still vital for publishers to have standards. As such, there will be a number of tests in place, such as user acquisition, to determine the potential that a game has. Data is vital in determining if a game is worth taking the chance on.
Moreover, for a publisher, it's worth taking a look at spending habits and how many hits an ad is getting in a game.
PGC Digital #6 will run from April 19th to April 23rd. To keep up to date with all of our coverage, check out the roundups here. There's still time to sign up - to find out more and book a ticket, head to the website.