Epic Games presents itself as developer-friendly, and so when it announced a new publishing wing earlier this year, it proudly shared the terms of its

What a good (and bad) indie game publishing deal looks like

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2021-08-19 02:00:01

Epic Games presents itself as developer-friendly, and so when it announced a new publishing wing earlier this year, it proudly shared the terms of its contracts. Epic will fully fund development of the games it publishes, and once it recoups that funding, will share at least 50 percent of the revenue with the developer. 

I asked around for informed opinions at the time, and Epic's terms were received positively by those I spoke to. The 50/50 split isn't the most favorable revenue sharing scheme out there, but the huge potential advance (the entire development cost) offsets that. Still, I wasn't entirely satisfied by the information I was able to get. Epic's announcement mostly just revealed how little public information there is about the deals developers make with publishers.

Lawyer Kellen Voyer, who works with indie game developers, is also concerned about the information advantage publishers have: They know what a "standard" game publishing contract looks like, but a new indie developer may have no idea. In a GDC Summer talk this week (the event is taking place via livestreams this year), Voyer sought to start correcting that imbalance by presenting the average data from 30 indie game publishing agreements, some negotiated by his firm, Voyer Law Corporation, and others that were submitted to him.

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