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Indie developer who turned down $500K contract with major publisher describes its "exploitative" terms and conditions

Commissar SFLUFAN

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Other devs share their experiences with negotiating publishing deals.




Jakefriend, who publicly declined to name the publisher, explained that if a usually ambiguous breach of contract was found, the contract allowed the publisher to keep the rights to the game's IP. The publisher would also be given all rights to sell the game, and Jakefriend would lose his royalty, effectively giving the publisher 100% of the revenue.


Jakefriend also said the contract would require him to pay back all of the advance money given to him, and incredibly, that the publisher would be able to take control over the game's production and finish development at Jakefriend's personal cost, and with no limit to how much they could charge.


Jakefriend explains that the contract presented to him included a 100/0 split in favor of the publisher until the game sells about 24,000 copies and makes about $250,000. The contract also wouldn't require the publisher to pay the developer their share of revenue until "30 days past the end of the quarter," which could take four months.


If Jakefriend wanted to allege that the publisher underpaid him, the publisher is under no legal obligation to pay any penalty fee, only what is legally owed, and any audit would come out of the developer's funds. Other details Jakefriend pointed out include allowing the publisher to implement advertisements in-game at the developer's expense and establishing that global sales taxes are solely the developer's responsibility.



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Yeah, honestly i think it needs to be indicated who made this offer, i dont care what publisher it is!


This kind of exploitation needs to end in the gaming industry. It will stifle people who try and come up with new innovative stuff, and this industry is really lacking in innovation right now.


Outing these kinds of things, will also help with employee rights in these businesses as well. As we have seen with Ubisoft, Riot and more recently, Acti-Blizzard, employees being treated like shit and being harassed is rampant and needs to end. I think that outing these bad faith players is a step towards that

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