Question for the game developers/publishers here

OK, first I’m going to apologize for creating another thread. I know they’re not well written, most seem trivial, and many stupid and annoying…
moving on…

With a game like Space Rangers 2… written by a little Russian company, and no traditional publisher here in North America (and think about we’ve all had to go through gogamer as our only way to purchase it ala import)…
How likely is it that the individuals who made Space Rangers 2 are getting royalties/pay from the extra copies sold here in North America? After all it’s apparent it wasn’t really written for the United states market per say, so what’s to keep a publisher and/or distributor honest? With a small outfit in Russia, they seem like they’d be prime candidates for being shafted. I can’t even find any contact or credit information to send them a letter thanking them for a great game. This is the first manual I’ve gotten in ages that has zero credits nor ANY legalese whatsoever, and their website has (as of a week ago) no forum or contact info either.

They’ll have to recoup their advance before they even start to see royalties.

That being said, copies sold are copies sold, so unless GoGamer is selling bootleg copies I think it’s fairly safe to say they’re going to get whatever it is they contracted for.

as of about 2 minutes ago, after spending all of about 40 seconds looking, i found an email address: [email protected]

So the developer gets all that information fed to them no matter how far outside the normal release area sell in? I certainly wasn’t doubting gogamer or any other retailer. But I’d just suspect things might run differently if you’re a little developer in Russia as opposed to a more mainstream area.

It also seems odd to me, to have an English varient of a game with no planned release here in North America.

as of about 2 minutes ago, after spending all of about 40 seconds looking, i found an email address: [email protected][/quote]

OK, I feel royally stupid. I could have sworn the forum links and that one were not up a week ago or non-functional at the time. Thanks and sorry about that.

So the developer gets all that information fed to them no matter how far outside the normal release area sell in? I certainly wasn’t doubting gogamer or any other retailer. But I’d just suspect things might run differently if you’re a little developer in Russia as opposed to a more mainstream area.

It also seems odd to me, to have an English varient of a game with no planned release here in North America.[/quote]

I’m not sure why you’re so sure that their publisher is screwing them over. GoGamer is buying these games from a distributor, and that’s where Screwcorp is getting their money and numbers from. It’s doubtful they even know that it’s being sold over here.

And who’s going to go to such great lengths and risk to screw over someone on 1,000 copies or whatever it is they end up selling in the US? It’s possible, but they’d have to be pretty dumb, Russians or no Russians.

As for putting it out in English, but not in the US, for all you know the Russians sold the rights to a major US publisher who decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to actually publish it.

All of the above is bullshit speculation, but so is the premise behind this whole topic.

Well you don’t have to be a total ass about it Andrew. I never implied anyone was. I was just wondering how they’re able to account for it all. I think gogamer’s a great place to purchase games, so maybe I’m just not speaking the same language as you.

I think gogamer is a great place to purchase games, have for a long time, how come they didn’t teach me a new language?

fuckers

Chet

I think gogamer is a great place to purchase games, have for a long time, how come they didn’t teach me a new language?

fuckers

Chet[/quote]

Hehehe :lol: I’ll have to complain to them about that :wink:

Greetings:
Do developers get screwed over sales and distribution? Sure. It’s happened. Generally, one of the things developers get in their contracts (if they know what they’re doing) is the right to audit the sales numbers of the projects the publisher is selling for them. However, doing an audit can be very expensive and also tends to ruin any kind of goodwill in the relationship, making future business hard to do.

Just from my own recent memory of public lawsuits, I think part of Valve’s suit against Viviendi (or however you spell that damn thing) was over not having been paid certain royalties that they were due (cyber-cafes or some such). Ubisoft sued Take 2 for selling copies of some Red Storm games in Italy and not paying royalties on them.

So, yeah, all kinds of shenanigans can take place, but I don’t think it’s more likely to happen just to small, non-Western developers. With something like Space Rangers 2 (which I know nothing about personally), I’d have to wonder whether the NA distribution was done as a distro deal with the developer (which could provide higher royalty rates and wouldn’t be charged against an advance), or a distro deal with the publisher (in which case, the publisher would see more of the money and the developer would still be on the hook for the advance; royalty rates in certain markets can also vary depending on the contract).

Ultimately, there isn’t any way short of insider information to know what the deal was or where the money you spent actually went. Is it possible the devs are getting screwed? Yes. Is it likely? Don’t have a clue. As much as I’d like to believe that the industry is getting cleaner about these kinds of business deals, it’s still business, and in business, there’s always someone who thinks the quick and sleazy buck is worth it.

Just my two cents.

Michael.

The hell you didn’t. You didn’t say their publisher was screwing them over, but you sure as hell implied it.

Oh you sure did.

Oh you sure did.[/quote]

Nah, he was just wonderin’, it’s the phrasing that does it.

It is, at the heart, an honest question of how international distribution agreements concerning multimedia applications are enforced. He knew more than he let on, but he used a form of pointed question to elicit the specific response he sought, because to do otherwise would have probably just netted him a general explanation. General explanations are well and good, but they are not as fun to read as anecdotes.

Just kidding, he said they’d be “prime candidates for being shafted.”

For the record I was being a partial ass.

If I was being a total ass I wouldn’t have bothered to explain anything before being snarky.

Ironically I was thinking more about the publishers involved not the distributor since it seems 90% of the developers who I see post have issues with their publisher.

Maybe I’ll try and take some writing courses just so I can start writing exactly what I’m thinking, instead of the hodge podge of junk that ends up here.

So to clarify:

[b]* Publishers = usually bad guy

  • GoGamer = good company
  • Developers = powerless
  • Tiny developer in far off forerign country = even more powerless[/b]

Or just post slightly less, like me. None of my posts make much sense or convey what I’m thinking very well and I dont seem to get as beat up on here as you do. Hell my spelling is even bad (though I know how to spell, I just type fast and dont particularly care)

I don’t think there’s evidence of this, in this case. Being a tiny foreign developer doesn’t make your company a powerless mite between the jaws of international mega-corporations. As one counter-example I give you Croteam when they released Serious Sam 1.

Russians aren’t stupid just because their country is run by corrupt politicians. I’d guess they have about a 68% chance of being within 1 standard deviation of how any small devs get fucked by large publishers (if there is such a metric).

First of all, I’m not sure why everyone is unloading on “jpinard”, I didn’t see anything overly accusatory towards Excalibur or 1C (their publishers in various countries apparently?). No big deal there, IMHO.

As far the as the sales on GoGamer go, they’re pretty much already accounted for as “Sell In” numbers. Elemental will receive their royalties (assuming they’re not working against a large advance) for those Sell In units from their publisher via the distributor (who are a whole other issue - they get paid regardless if the game is returned or not… Sell In - Returns = Sell Through).

Now, it depends on the deal with GoGamer, but some deals stipulate that the retailer (in this case GoGamer) will get a certain wholesale price assuming that they will NOT be able to return unsold copies (Walmart is famous for this - assuming you are lucky enough to even get your product ONTO the Big W’s shelves). In this case, GoGamer is not returning any units - they are probably begging for more from Excalibur/1C and with each subsequent bulk shipment Elemental should be getting paid eventually (typically every month or quarter by the publisher). After returns are deducted, and the wholesale gross sales are split amonst the pub and the dev depending on the revenue shares… then that’s the dev’s royalties (again, assuming that the dev self-funded the project and aren’t working against an advance).

Generally, the publishers are going to report whatever units they’ve sold to a retailer (via the distributor, or themselves if they are the distributor as well as the publ.) because they want the developer to trust them and to maintain a good relationship for future titles (assuming the dev is talented and they want to continue working with them). Sure, they can “cook the books” but typically it’s pretty easy for the dev to a rough audit because in most cases the distributor can tell the dev EXACTLY how many copies they’ve sent to the various retailers. If the distributor and the publisher are in cahoots, well then, sure you may have a tough time (as the dev) doing a proper audit of the numbers of copies sold.

That’s how it works (for the most part)… if someone feels like expounding upon or correcting my views (where you feel I’m wrong) by all means, go for it… I am ego-less, I promise – and “jpinard” would appreciate it. ;)

  • Jamie

P.S. I think it’s so cool that Elemental is in Vladivlostok which is one the big hot-beds for our campaign that the Russian Rebels have seized (along with Petropavlosk)… That’s just sort of neat (small world and all that jazz). :)

Thanks Jamie that’s a great description. I felt if the developer had no involvement in the physical production of the game (all done by publisher) - and the publisher said, “Well we expect you’ll (Excaliber Game) to sell 20,000 English copies of them game” - and that’s what the print up… then surprsingly in North America there’s a huge demand say up to 100,000 copies instead. I’d just be concerned that they could be printing/manufacturing more boxed copies to ship - and not telling Excaliber they did.

I can’t express I’m not implying their pubsliher would do that. IN fact I think 1c is an excellent, excellent company with a great reputation in Russia. It’s just hypothetical. In fact, I think I’d read Strategy First or Dreamcatcher had done that to one of the developers?

Well, let’s hope that was a thing of the past… Heheh ;)