Developers Face Publisher Hurdles in Getting More Money

Developers Face Publisher Hurdles in Getting More Money


A handful of game publishers are withholding royalty fees from developers if their games don't achieve a sufficiently high review score.

The MTV Multiplayer blog reported these findings in the course of examining gaming review practices. Staffer Stephen Totilo said his inquiry began when one developer he spoke with told him that his company missed out on royalties for a game that sold more than one million copies because of its Metacritic score.

"Former GameSpot reviewers Jeff Gerstmann (Giant Bomb) and Alex Navarro said they've not only heard of this practice but even know developers that were caught up in it," Totilo's blog noted.

"That's something that really troubles me... When I'm sitting down to write a review I'm never setting out to think: 'I am taking food off this guy's table,'" Gerstmann was quoted as saying.

Gerstmann and Navarro said the practice was not widespread today, but was considered "avant-garde" three or four years ago.

Totilo also spoke to Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack and Insomniac Games president Ted Price, who said they were aware of the phenomenon but said developer-publisher relationships should be based on trust.



Solution: Put guns in the hands of the developers.
Turn this:

Lowly Developer: "Sir Mister Overlord Master PWNER, could I have one more cent?"

Greedy Publisher: "NEVER!!!"

Into this:

Lowly Developer: "Yo, I need some more cash. Gimme or ima pop a cap in yo' ass!"

Greedy Publisher: "Aight, G. Only cuz you look so fly wit yo' glock."

I don't mean to make Developers look lowly or Publishers look greedy (despite their titles), or to spread racism, I just think this'd be a fun thing to try. [Note: SARCASM]

Obviously the developers couldn't find another publisher to back them because nobody in their right mind would sign something with a clause that withholds royalty fees based on reviewer subjectivity. But hey, if a developer was desperate enough at the time, they shouldn't be complaining now. I mean, despite how ludicrous it is, they did sign a contract.

I can't wait until publishers are not a huge deciding factor in game development. How many publishers have pushed products out the door before they were ready because they were in financial trouble based on poor management of previous, non-related projects? Anyway, off-topic. ;-)

Well... good luck finding developers to allow you to publish their games... Greedy bastards.

That's one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard. On the other hand, I think there's more of a problem with well reviewed games selling poorly than with crappy games selling well.


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