How to effectively pitch your game to publishers? Here are some tips from Elena Lobova, founder of consulting platform ACHIEVERS HUB.
Before you pitch
Before pitching, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do we have a clear vision of the game?
- Do we believe in our game idea strongly?
- Do we have a playable demo that shows how the gameplay will feel?
- Do we have mockups / fake screens / video that show how the game will look?
- Are we capable of finishing this project at the desired level of quality? (Can we prove it?)
- Do we know what makes our game special / worth publishers’ attention?
- Are we aware of our team’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Do we know how much time we need to finish the game?
- Do we know how much money we need to finish the game?
- Do we know what we want from a publisher / investor?
If all answers are “YES” – congrats! You’re ready to pitch your game!
If not, try to find out what is missing (maybe you’d need to ask for an advice) and repeat.
Tips for a verbal pitching
- Make it short. It’s best if you can describe your game in less than one minute. If it takes longer, analyze every word and think if it’s necessary to understand the game idea (if not – cross it out).
- Make it clear. Pitch your game to the people outside of your team (friends, family, even better – kids) and then ask them to describe how they imagined the gameplay. The closer their description is to the actual game, the better.
- Keep focused. Don’t overdose a person with unnecessary details during the first meeting (unless they ask for it).
- Show something: it can be a gameplay video or a playable demo, but make sure it doesn’t take more than a couple minutes to get to the most interesting part (as an option, you can make a vertical slice of gameplay).
- Be confident and passionate about your game.
- Let the publisher ask their questions (plan your pitching time accordingly).
- Ask your questions too (even better if you prepare them in advance), this is your chance to get to know everything about this publisher to make your choice right.
- Be memorable. Give a business card or a flyer. Create your own style. Make it catchy
- ALWAYS follow up (ideally in 1 to 5 days after the meeting). This is why, even if you pitch in person, you should prepare a presentation / pitch deck for your game too.
Tips for a written pitching
- Send an individual email to every publisher. Greet them by their names (if you know them)
- If you make a mailout, at least make sure to add everyone in BCC
- Be short and clear. Introduce yourself, say a few words about your game (describe it in 1-2 sentences) and add links (to a build, video, pitch deck) – this is a perfect email
- Don’t forget to mention what you are looking for (a publisher, an investor, marketing support, mentorship, etc). If you need money to finish the game, include the budget.
- Add screenshots, mockups, fake screens – show the level of quality of art you can produce
- Make sure your presentation / pitch deck looks nice too
- Let them play. Send a link to a build / prototype – it can be a vertical slice of gameplay or a version with cheat codes that will help accelerate the progress and get to the main part of the game quickly.
- Add gameplay video that shows the best part of your game. Aim to interest the viewer during the first 10 seconds.
- Make sure all the links work and do not need an extra effort to get an access to (eg, registration at file exchange service, password etc)
- Make sure your text is grammatically correct and stylistically consistent.
- Be honest, don’t exaggerate. Try to avoid any value judgement (“the best game”, “one of a kind, unique gameplay” etc). Let facts, numbers, and the quality of your game speak for themselves.
- Be polite.
Presentation / Pitch deck tips
- Try to fit everything in 10-15 slides max.
- Do not use too many fonts and colors.
- Avoid the wall of text on the slide. Use more graphics, charts, numbers than text, if possible
- Get to know as much as you can about the market, especially your game’s genre. Play both successful and unsuccessful games in this genre, and try to understand what makes them successful / unsuccessful.
- Know your competitors and be ready to answer the question, what differs your game from theirs.
- Know your audience.
- Get to know as much as you can about the publisher you’re pitching the game to (in advance): what is their specialty, their audience, their success cases etc. Try to make it clear why signing your game will be good for them.
- Get to know as much as you can about the person you’re pitching the game to: what is their role, how to make the game look interesting for them.
- Try to predict and prepare for the publisher’s questions in advance. Some of them might be: How are you going to monetize this game? How are you going to engage and retain your players?
- Ask for feedback and improve your pitch.
- Train your pitching skills. The more you train, the more confident you are.
- Thank for feedback. Don’t be overprotective, don’t argue and don’t be rude, even if you got rejected – you might cross pass with this person again (maybe even pitch another game to them).