In a new Gamasutra feature
, former Krome Studios employee and experienced industry pitchman Cameron Davis offers a variety of tips for developers trying to sell a game idea to a publisher.
"Primarily, a successful pitch comes from being a good salesman first and foremost," Davis says in the feature. "This is why I think many pitches fail. It's not for a lack of talent, passion and creativity, but we, as an industry of developers, are absolutely hopeless at selling ourselves."
In preparing for a five to 15 minutes pitch, a developer should internalize everything they can about both the company they're pitching to and the product they plan to make, Davis says. If possible, he recommends building interactive prototypes or non-interactive concept videos -- complete with sound effects and music -- to really make the pitched idea special.
"Remember, the pitch is basically you asking someone to give you a large amount of money to make something that doesn't exist yet -- but should," he said. "You have to make every element of your pitch go towards that goal."
The full piece includes specific game pitch tips -- such as not getting caught up on minor details like AI algorithms -- but also general presentation tips like bringing your own backup projector and paying attention to your personal appearance and bearing before a face-to-face meeting.
"Dress well. Get that haircut you've been putting off for the summer. Have business cards ready to hand out when asked for one. Greet everyone with a handshake and a smile. Make small talk about the convention / flight / rental car mixup / local sports team," he suggests.
Finally, when answering questions after your pitch, Davis suggests being able to give an answer smoothly is more important than giving a direct or complete answer.
"You should never lie, of course," he says. "However, it's a great skill to have an answer to something, no matter the question. One of the first skills media advisers instruct politicians is to just answer the question you wanted to hear, not necessarily the one they actually asked."
The full piece
is packed with many more tips along these lines that will ensure your next game pitch gets the publisher attention it deserves.