Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why Game Connection Is Wrong

You know about Game Connection? You pay a few thousand bucks and you get a serious meeting with a game publisher at GDC.

It is wrong - bad, evil, corrupt.

How shall I explain?...

You know those classified ads you might see for actors, or book writers or whatever, where the person would go in and the agent would look at them and then say, "You know what? I think you have talent. I think you're special. I don't see people like you come in every day. So I'm gonna represent you. However, I need you to pay a fee to me to rep you? This is to cover photos, expenses [blah blah blah]."

You know what places like the Actors Guild or the Writers Guild would say about those joints. They're a rip off! Why? Because anyone who believes you really have a chance will take a percentage of what you make (traditionally that's 10 percent). If they ask for ANYTHING up front, it's a rip off! Because they are selling you out. They're using you.

Well, here is this Game Connection thing, and it acts just like that... Just like the proverbial crooked agent - taking the money of the naive who flock like the proverbial chickens to the slaughter.

Get real Game Connection. If you want to facilitate the bringing of new properties to publishers BECOME A FUCKING AGENT and have some balls! Stop selling out from Second One.

(Or am I asking too much from people in games in general? That they believe in something other than power, technology and money - selling games with the attitude of a drug pusher. That they be something other than amoral in a headlong race to the bottom?)


Patrick said...

I'm crossing my fingers of getting an IP sold at Game Connection, if it happens then my whole future is pretty much secure for the foreseeable future (the next six to ten months). So obviously, I'm a bit biased, but I think the entry cost has an effect of weeding out less financially secure or experienced studios. The way to really deal with that though is to hedge your bets, bring several projects in various stages of development and try to sell two of six to different publishers depending on their profile, and as you spread this out over dozens of publishers you get a pretty good chance of the couple grand getting paid back in project funding.

Grassroots Gamemaster said...

I'm sorry Patrick, but the proper way to "weed out" wannabes from real prospects is to roll up the sleeves and examine submissions. Anything less than that is corrupt.

Of course, that said I wish you luck, Patrick. But I also inform you that Game Connection is exploiting your hopes and dreams, and the potential buyers on the other side are being lazy in not doing the actual job of looking for properties and talent in a legitimate, open fashion.

Patrick said...

Well, I didn't personally pay for it, and it turned out to be a success (very probably two projects will be signed out of it) so while its expensive, there's a quantifiable ROI involved.

Oh, and for indies something like Kongregate is probably closer to what you're talking about. The problem there is the volume of submissions makes vetting them all very difficult. I agree with you in principle, but at the same time Game Connection serves a business need for the AAA parts of the industry. They're exploiting a need, as you said in your talk, "in a good way", in the way that free markets can profive.

I've heard Greg Palast describe Milton Friedman as an "evil brilliant mind" so maybe your choice of words isn't wholly inappropriate, but there you have it.

Grassroots Gamemaster said...

You're speaking about Milton Friedman, but Game Connect supports an anti-Milton Friedman position, if you will. That guys is about market freedom. The game industry is all about centralized control - control concentrated in the hands of a few publishers.

Gamer47 said...

Hey Grassroots gamemaster,
I was just wondering if you had participated to Game Connection before?

Grassroots Gamemaster, said...

No, I have not.

I have also never signed on to one of those fraud agencies - where they cry about how really incredibly talented you are and they'll rep you, but we need you to pay us up front for... you know... expenses...

Game Connection is simply a culling process. It is not an incubation or talent-search process. The assumption of it - and of those publishers who participate in it on the other end - is that if you (developer) ante up the cash to participate "you must be taking this seriously". That is an assumption based in cynicism.

(In my books, if you ante up the time to write or prototype a good design, that's already sign enough you take it seriously.)

My response is this: if you (Game Connection) are serious, you will not sell out immediately (which is what you do when you take money up front), but instead find projects that you believe in - that you believe are worthwhile - and take a piece. In short: you will show some balls.