wannabe game inventor

So you want to be a Game Inventor...

Stage One

If you have a concept for a game still in the idea stage, I strongly urge you to conduct test groups so you know your game plays well. You will also receive valuable feed back from players. Make sure friends/family/investors are a relatively small percentage of your test group. Do this before you spend a lot of money on manufacturing and design.

The mock-up used for such testing should be as close to the final product as possible. You should get your name trademarked and the game copyrighted. Either you can do it yourself or call a patent attorney.

You may decide to form a company. Information can be found on our business resources pages.

At this point you can talk to a game agent/broker or a game company if you want to see what they might offer in the way of a licensing fee or percentage. The usual percentage is 5%. If you have self published with proven sales you can negotiate a higher fee. An agent will ask for a percentage - anywhere from 25% (for a proven product) to 60% of the royalty. Some agents require expenses be paid up front, others do not. For more detailed information get it straight from an agent.

If you decide to "do it yourself", read on. The thinking is that if you can prove you have a great product (through certified sales), you can command a greater percentage from toy companies from sales of your game.

Stage Two

Interview potential design people. There are many designers out there. They come in a wide range of skill and price, which do not always go hand-in-hand. Select someone you are comfortable with and that is on your wavelength as well as in your budget.

Stage Three

Once you have the artwork, talk to printers. Your game needs to be made cost effective assuming a 5,000-piece initial production run. Keep in mind that retailers will generally charge double the wholesale cost. If your game can't be produced for less than wholesale and with a comfortable margin for yourself go back to stage one and two. Also, many printers will work with you to lower costs.

Stage Four

After production (or before if you have something you can show to potential buyers) you will need to obtain distribution. There are several options to do so:

a. Go to Toy Fair in New York in February and get a booth (the show sells out early on) and network with other independents or printers at the show. Of course, if you join Discover Games your game does go to both Toy Fair and The Toy and Game Inventor's Forum.

b. Get toy and game reps to take on your game. They generally receive 15% of wholesale.

c. Advertise in game magazines or on a website such as Discover Games.

d. Work the retailers. Call them. Tell them about your product. Send samples if requested. Get orders!


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