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115 Things to Know About Running Your Company > Publisher Relations - Pg. 6

118 Things to Know About Running a Game Development Company #39 If you have to have layoffs, make sure you go far enough to save the company. 6 #40 Hire a full time office manager and IS person at your earliest convenience, which probably shouldn't be any later than hiring your sixteenth employee. #41 Everyone should be an at-will employee. #42 If you think there's a problem, there's a problem. #43 The boss should get an annual review by the employees. Publisher Relations #44 If you want to work in a platform that you haven't shipped, your best bet is to make a prototype that is functional on that platform. #45 Self-funding can backfire: If a manager at the publisher took a $4M bet on a project, he'll be very concerned with recouping because that product reflects on him personally. The publisher might not put as much money behind your product if it doesn't have to worry about recouping on it. #46 Pitch materials for next game four to eight months before production starts. #47 Don't fight for every inch with your publisher--it can poison the relationship. #48 If you are signing a long-term contract, put some thought into your share of revenue from sub- scription services, wireless games, and digital distribution. #49 The more risk the publisher takes, the less lucrative your deal is. #50 If you stop development, it's considered a hostile act. A hostile act amounts to shooting yourself in the foot. #51 Self-funding your games is only so appealing to a publisher because its financial risk comes from two ends: developing the game and spending the money to market and distribute it. As one publisher said: "Even if we get a free product, getting it out the door is expensive." #52 While you can contract for some kind of marketing minimum, marketing dollars are generally decided after a product is developed. What makes a publisher want to throw down for your product? 1. A good game; 2. For which they own the sequel and franchise rights; 3. That had a sexy E3 demo; and 4. Has gotten consumers and retail buyers interested. #53 Publishers want to see experience developing for a given platform; if you are trying to break into a new platform, make it easier for the publisher to say yes by getting yourself licensed by the manufacturer. #54 When a publisher is evaluating your company, it wants to see a tool that enables non-technical staff to put an asset into the game, hit a button, and be able to see that asset running in-game on a console, without having to run to a programmer. #55 Publishers look at the compatibility of your technology to the product: does your renderer match the art style the project needs, is your animation motion-capture if it's a realistic fighting game, and so on. #56 Console manufacturers want publishers to release games that show off their console's unique properties. Publishers want to see that you understand the peccadilloes of each platform and have ideas for how you're going to highlight those unique properties with your game. #57 If you want to work on consoles, publishers like to see low-level microcode skills, which often help optimize the code for the console. #58 Remember the international and the port market when making your game. Build your game to be modular and port-friendly, and you increase the odds of getting into other platforms. For inter- national: Schedule your localizations so that U.S. and international releases can happen concur- rently. During development isolate all localizable elements, including audio and video. QA needs to