5 Things To Consider When Pitching A Game
Written by: Simon Batt
Pitching a game can be a scary ordeal. You’ve spent a lot of time and passion on this game, and now you have to find someone to help you get it to the public. As such, it’s very important to ensure that when pitching a game, you do it correctly. Pitching a game the wrong way can rack up the rejections quick. Here are a few tips for pitching a game to make the process a little easier.
1. Pitch to the Right Publisher
First, make sure the publisher you’re pitching to is the right one for your game. While all publishers will want to listen to people who have a game to pitch, some will specialize in specific types of games. A publisher may only want children’s games, puzzle games, or MMORPG games, for instance. A publisher in a different region of the world may not want to publish a game with content that its audience will deem offensive. Do your research and see if you can imagine your game fitting into their library. If you can’t, save yourself a rejection and move on!
2. Nail Your ‘Elevator Pitch’
An elevator pitch is an idea pitch that lasts a maximum of 30 seconds. The idea is that a representative of the publisher you’re pitching to has just entered the same elevator as you. They ask you “So what’s your game about?” and you have to sum up your game in an appealing way before your floor arrives.
The key here is that an elevator pitch cuts a lot of the ‘fluff’ that people tend to use when pitching a game. If you find it takes about a minute to fully explain what your game is about, it may not necessarily be a bad game; you just run the risk of losing the publisher’s interest while you talk. Describing your game as “a science-fiction base building game with factions, management, resource collecting, and player-versus-player combat, which uses futuristic technology as its theme” may not have the same punch to it as “sci-fi meets Clash of Clans.”
3. Try to Avoid Rhetorical Questions
Some people like to drum up interest in their games by finding something their target publisher can relate to. If you take this route, be very careful with how you present it. Some people like to lead in with a rhetorical question, which works very well if successful, but can make your pitch a flop should it go wrong.
For example, say you’re pitching a platforming game where you play as a dinosaur. If you start off your pitch with “Have you ever imagined what it’d be like if you were a dinosaur?” your may receive a reply of “Not really” and a lot of shrugging. This deadens the tone of the entire pitch, and makes a negative first impression with this prospective publisher.
4. Structure your Pitch as a Lede, Body, and Call to Action
Adria Galito on Gamedonia has a great article on forming a structured pitch. You should start with a short lede, go into detail with the body, and then get the publisher involved with the call to action at the very end.
The lede is where the elevator pitch goes. This is where you sum up your game in around 1-3 sentences to get the publisher interested. The idea is to get the publisher on-board with your vision of your game. Ideally, the publisher’s natural reaction after reading the lede is “This sounds interesting; so how does it work?”
This is where the body comes in. Go in-depth as to how the game works, and why you think it’s just right for the publisher. This will usually be around 2-3 paragraphs, so you have a decent amount of space to talk about how the game works. After this paragraph, hopefully publishers will want to know how to get into contact with you.
That’s where the call to action comes in. Ask them to get in contact, follow you on Twitter, or send you an email if they’re interested. If your pitch caught their attention, the call to action is the encouragement for them to take the first step toward taking on your game.
5. Have Something to Show
When someone asks “So can I take a look at the game?”, there’s nothing more disappointing to hear “Sorry, it’s not in a presentable state yet”. If you get a publisher interested in your game, then force them to wait a little while you polish up the visuals, you run the risk of the publisher losing interest and moving on to other projects. Before you pitch, have something you feel proud to show off, even if it’s only a beta with a few levels of gameplay.
Keep these five things in mind when sorting your game pitch in order to avoid as much disappointment as you can. Hopefully this will speed up the process of finding a publisher so you can land a deal before the rejection blues set in. If you’re looking for a publisher that operates in the exciting, developing world of the MENA region, try getting in touch and see where we can take you!