In today's main feature, Gamasutra presents the latest edition of "Game Law,"
a regular column by veteran game lawyer Tom Buscaglia. In this latest edition, titled "Competent Counsel," Buscaglia investigates just why new developers should be careful in giving their publishers' rep too much authority when signing that first deal.
In this excerpt, Buscaglia explores some of the reasons why the publisher’s representative "is the last person" new studios should seek out for advice and information on their first game deal:
“First - the obvious. No matter how much he may love your game (he would not be talking to you about a deal if he didn’t), this guy works for the publisher. That means that at the core, he is on the other side of the deal and has substantial responsibilities to their employer that he must honor.
More importantly, unless he has experience on the developer’s side of game deals (and some publisher reps do have this experience) even if he really wanted to help you out he still doesn’t have the developer’s perspective on a deal. The reality is that a publisher’s rep will not give you anything in a deal that you are not savvy enough to ask for, even if he or she could deliver it as part of the deal if you did ask.
Second, you immediately make the publisher’s rep the authority on this deal. He’s the one who “knows” and you are the ones who don’t! You see, even if your publisher’s rep is a great person and wants to help you, you have given up your bargaining position by revealing your lack of experience relative to the business of games.”
You can now read the complete feature on the topic
from Buscaglia, including more helpful insight illustrating why new studios seeking to sign with a publisher for the first time should be careful (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).