GDD 012 : Two Ways You Can Get Funding For Your Game

By April 11, 2014 Podcast No Comments
Game Design Dojo Podcast Episode

Detailed strategies on how you can get publisher funding for your game or go the crowdfunding route. Complete with real world war stories from the trenches.

Exciting NEWS!!!

“Source” by Fenix Fire is live on Kickstarter! “Source” is not just another project to Brian, it is THE project. He gives some personal insight of the inspiration for the game and explains it’s all about exploration and life. Brian will be at the Indie MEGABOOTH booth 2 at PAX East in Boston April 11-13 2014 where you’ll be able to play “Source” live. So, make sure to tell your friends and help make this game a reality with a successful Kickstarter campaign!

Funding Your Game

In this podcast we drill into two primary ways to get funding for your game – Publishers and Crowdfunding. We discuss the proper etiquette to use when trying to raise money for a project and/or a studio. We also give some advice on certain things or behaviors to avoid.


The #1 attitude you should have when approaching a publisher is the feeling that the train is leaving the station and it’s their choice whether they want to get on board or not. You want to let them know how their money will add to your project and how it will be useful for you if they jump in. Keep in mind no one wants to be a parachute for you. Investors want to be part of the success story.

If you believe in your game, you’re going to find a way to make it. You don’t want to depend on money from publishers to make your game. Firs,t be able to show the core mechanic and the core game loop and then make a clear plan of what you’re going to do with hat money.


Sales gets a bad rap. Here are some fundamental techniques and advice:

  1. The more you know who it is you’re selling to and the more more they know, like and trust you – the less you’ll need to do the hard sell, will be more conversational
  2. The less you know them and the less they know, like and trust you – the harder the sell, like a used car salesman
  3. Do not need gimmicks to sell
  4. Need to create  and build relationships
  5. Understand in the business world, sales are a very slow process and need to have a lot of respect
  6. NEVER Lie – always be upfront and honest, because it can easily backfire

Meeting With a Publisher

Like a resume, you want to ask yourself how do I get someone at a big company to pay attention to me? First, look for small victories for instance competitions, rewards, honorable mentions or Kickstarter funding. Try to build up credibility to give them reasons to trust you.

Brain shares his experiences with publishers and touches on Mobile Publishers. A word of caution he gives, “If you’re trying to raise quick cash, any day in the game industry will not get you there.” It is a long road that takes a long time and everybody who’s successful in the game industry had to earn it.

General Advice:

  • The further your game is along, the easier and typically faster the sales cycle is going to be
  • Don’t bend your design just to get get your game funded
  • When they ask for stuff, then you ask for stuff – respectfully not confrontational
  • They usually find you or send out a format to email back to them
  • Work on your community before game is launched
  • Move forward with the thought that you don’t need the publisher

The Pitch

Let’s say, you’re game has been identified as the specific kind of game the publisher is looking for. What happens next? Well, they will bring it back to a committee or group for evaluation. The #1 thing you can do is understand what that committee is looking for. Work with the ambassador to adjust your pitch. Also, the less amount of people you bring to a pitch meeting, the better.

A 20 minute pitch:

  1. Introduce yourself and your company – talk yourself up
  2. Start a light conversation – pretend talking to only one person
  3. Don’t waste any time – pick up controller and start playing
  4. Introduce character, world, goals and details that make your game remarkable
  5. Be very passionate about your game
  6. Build to a cliffhanger – leave them wanting more
  7. Open up to questions
  8. Have money slide and market slide prepared
  9. Thank them for their time – always be courteous

A great way to prepare for the pitch meeting is rehearsing in front of friends, family or co-workers. Once you get that awkward and embarrassing feeling out of the way, the real thing tends be much easier. Another tip is to talk in front of a mirror. It’s also awkward and weird but it helps you practicing good eye contact.

If the pitch went well,  they’ll ask questions like:

  • How much do you need?
  • When’s your release date?
  • What else do you need?
  • What happens after the launch?

If the pitch went bad,  they’ll ask questions like:

  • What makes you think this game will stand out?
  • What is special about this game?

Remember to answer honestly and not to get defensive. Maybe there’s something not in the build yet but you have a vision for it. Try to answer as thoughtfully and as best you can.

Publishers typically don’t say “no”, they just don’t say “yes”. There is never a finish line, it’s a marathon and a relationship.


Most of what we’ve discussed about publishers transfers over to crowdfunding. You want to develop relationships, build confidence and gain trust that you’ll be able to deliver. Instead of showing a demo of your game, you will be making a video that shows why your game is remarkable, interesting, fresh and unique. Brain shares his experience since he’s currently working on his video.

An interesting tip on Kickstarter is to make your campaign a do or die situation – unless you fund us,  this project will never be made. This is different than a publisher because the game is going to be made regardless and it’s up to you if you want to jump on or not.

See which approach Brian took with his Kickstarter campaign and watch his video!!!


Listen now to Game Design Dojo Episode #012

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