30: Pitching

30: Pitching

What are the most important things to remember when pitching your game, whether to publishers or players?

 

 

1. Research. Pitch the right game to the right company. Otherwise you look uninformed, and you’re wasting your collective time.

2. Be enthusiastic and polite. Practice. Don’t fret, they are on your side, they want your game to be great so they can make great games.

3. Be prepared. Have a thirty second elevator pitch. Pause periodically to ask for questions.

4. If they turn you down, say thank you and ask for feedback. Ask for the type of games they ARE looking for.

5. Say thank you again.

Kathleen Mercury

I always try to introduce some fun joke inside my presentation, to capture the attention of my audience. Very often, players remember that and use the same joke in their own presentation later.

Bruno Cathala

So long as you’re the only one talking, you’re not pitching effectively. A great pitch only really starts when the person you’re pitching to asks the first question. That’s when they’re starting to care about what you’re showing them. Structure your pitches to deliver a great hook up front, and then let the publisher or players guide you to the parts that intrigue them.

Isaac Shalev

The most important thing to remember when pitching your games to an audience are their needs. How does the essential experience of your game relate to their life worlds and play style?

Sam Illingworth

If they turn you down, say thank you and ask for feedback. Ask for the type of games they ARE looking for. — Kathleen Mercury

Know the company you’re pitching to. Go into each pitch meeting with at least some kind of sense of why this game is a good fit for this company. Also remember that the person across the table from you is just that; a person. They’ve probably had a long and busy day if you’re pitching at a convention, and it’s important to be aware of that and respect their time. Knowing how to take a “no” politely and professionally can be almost as important for future success as getting a “yes”.

Alex Cutler

A pitch to a publisher has to be different from a pitch to players. A publisher wants to know the game as a product, and especially what makes this game unique in the market. So make a special effort to emphasise which part of the game makes it unique. On the other side, when you pitch your game to players, you have to emphasise the context or story to make players feel the theme. Players need to know what they are going to feel during the game.

Eloi Pujadas

For me, the most important thing to remember is that the person you’re pitching to (be they a publisher or a player) does not have the same thoughts in mind as you do…it is important to be clear, and speak in absolute terms rather than relative ones. Comparisons to other games or other mechanisms can be useful, but only if the audience is on the same page as you, so at least verify that before tossing down a bunch of potentially confusing jargon!

Seth Jaffee

Treat the initial meeting as an introduction to you. It is not about your game – it is about building a relationship whereby that publisher will be willing to meet with you repeatedly. Don’t “sell” your game – if the game is good enough they will see its potential, if it is not right for them you are wasting their time by making them believe that it is – they’ll soon realise the truth. Don’t “sell” yourself. No-one is impressed by bragging. Be genuine and listen. Eventually you might find a game which complements the new relationship that you have built.

Adam Porter

Remember that the person across the table from you is just that; a person. They’ve probably had a long and busy day if you’re pitching at a convention, and it’s important to be aware of that and respect their time. — Alex Cutler

A great way to introduce a game is to encapsulate the experience it provides with a pithy sentence, almost like a tagline from a television commercial. I find this can grab the audience’s attention and then focus it as the rest of the explanation happens. So I am often trying to think up catchy little sentences to explain my designs. When pitching to a publisher it is rare you will play through a whole game, so it is important to convey the feelings and experiences the players will have in your presentation rather than just the factual information about your design.

Phil Walker-Harding

Don’t take too long to get to the game and try to read the people you’re pitching to. People are all interested in different aspects of the game and if you insist on going through the same introduction every time you introduce your game, you’re going to lose people’s interest. Be able to go straight to how a turn works, if people want that, or heavily focus on theme, if that’s what interests them. Know your game well enough that you can cater the pitch to who is listening.

Carla Kopp

When pitching to publishers: you love the game because it’s yours. Why should WE love the game?

When pitching to players: give a realistic idea of what they’re getting into! If your game has a 40-minute teach time, it’s not a “half hour game”. If it’s a co-op, mention that before I sit down to play.

Peter C. Hayward

Having judged a design competition recently, the thing missing from most pitches was a unique selling point (USP). With so many games out there, you have to stress what makes yours stand out. Also, get the basics out quickly and simply: player count, age range, game length. This gives good context. Finally, tell the game’s story from both the game and player perspective: what will the player do, and why?

Chris Marling

A great way to introduce a game is to encapsulate the experience it provides with a pithy sentence, almost like a tagline from a television commercial. I find this can grab the audience’s attention and then focus it as the rest of the explanation happens. — Phil Walker-Harding

To paraphrase Hamilton, “Talk less, play more.” Get people touching the game and playing it as quickly as possible. You stand an infinitely greater chance of succeeding if people are actively playing the game instead of passively listening to you ramble on and on. Player aids are very helpful to reference during the game, so make sure you have them. Don’t be afraid to start in the middle, either – craft a scenario that starts players off in the midst of the action. You need to show your game at its finest and you’ve only got one shot – don’t waste it!

Sen-Foong Lim

When presenting a game to players, in a playtest or a demo, you must first strive to be accurate. They care about the game: understanding it; playing it; winning it.

When pitching to publishers, you are bound by a different covenant — and must strive instead, I think, to be honest. They may or may not be interested in your game, but I think the smarter publisher cares rather more about you.

Brett J. Gilbert

Get the key concepts down to a quick, snappy 10-15 seconds. If you can explain the majority of your game in a couple of sentences, you’re good. If you can do that using simple, non-gamer terminology, you’re even better. There’s no better way to sell your game to folks at a convention or in a publisher meeting than being able to catch someone’s attention in a matter of moments – someone immediately knowing if a game is right for them or not is invaluable!

Michael Fox

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