Rahul Sandil is an accomplished media, entertainment and tech business development leader, who crafts winning deals for Reloaded Games. Rahul recently shared great tips for independent game developers. For example, meet lots of people at industry events like E3, always follow-up, connect with the person on LinkedIn and (my favorite) always be nice.
Our new community of computer game developers, industry supporters and indie gamers at the Corona Innovation Center gathered to hear Rahul Sandil speak at the June Meetup. Rahul won rave reviews from all because he tuned into the priorities of his audience, gave valuable recommendations for anyone getting started in the gaming industry and answered lots of questions.
Here are Rahul’s top 8 tips for new indie game developers.
Meet LOTS of industry people. Rahul reminded us that making as many friends as you can when you’re starting out in the games space is a smart move. Here are the tactics he suggested to maximize the number of industry leaders, publishers and big company executives you meet:
Attend the major industry shows, Game Developers Conference or E3. Even if you have to budget and save well in advance. The benefits will payoff later. Talk to people. Everywhere. Standing in line to play a game in the exhibition hall, waiting to grab a cup at Starbucks.
- Always be prepared with two things: your business card and your 30-second elevator pitch. (Extra credit: Practice your pitch before you go.)
Always, always, follow up with the people you meet. Connect with them on LinkedIn if possible. Be sure you ask to connect.
Protect your creation. If you’re a new indie developer be sure you consult a lawyer who can help you protect your new game. Rahul finds that often creative people don’t think about taking this precaution.
- Budget money to get your game as complete as possible before approaching big publishers. After you’re created the prototype of your game, you’ll need money for additional steps in the computer game process: artists, music, After prototype need money for art, servers, testing, and pushing it out into the market. Make sure you budget funds to get discovered after your game is out there.
Find out who does what in the publisher’s organization. If you’re looking to make contacts to get your mobile or social game distributed by a publisher first identify your best contacts. Study the publisher by researching who does what on LinkedIn or the company’s website. For example, find out who is Director of Business Development for Microsoft or Sony.
Be prepared to explain how to make money with your game. Publishers typically use an in-house green light committee to choose games. The committee consists of seven or eight people from different parts of the business: finance, marketing, producer, and a technology/platform person. As a team, these folks look at how to commercialize your game. Make sure you have answers for each aspect of your game.
Have answers to key questions about commercializing your game. Publishers will ask basic questions when you pitch your game. These questions might include:
- How will we make money with your game?
- How many players does your game have?
- How much is left to complete in your game?
- How many Facebook fans do you have?
Always be nice. Being nice to everyone will only reward you in your career as an independent game developer. The industry is small, and people have a way of remembering who was helpful, informative and, well, nice.
If you’re looking to break into the industry, consider starting as a game tester. Rahul estimated that 70 percent of people in the industry began as game testers. You’ll meet lots of people and begin making friends in many functional areas of the games industry. Even if you want to be a game developer, it will be valuable for you to have friends in other areas of the industry.
You can find Rahul Sandil on Twitter here, @rahulsandil