Formation of contracts with publishers. Preparation, audit and finalization.

2018-2020 have proven that the local gaming software companies are able to make quality products. But even the highest quality product needs to be promoted, and even more so, to be monetized.

Publishers

In an interview for App2Top, the founder of H8 Games (Voodoo Games Ukraine) said:

I emphasize again: we decided to focus on what we like and do best — on the mechanics. We left marketing and monetization to those who do best just that.

Starting in 2018, Asian and European publishers have been considering the post-Soviet domain as a priority market.

Pain in the …

Legal relations with the publisher are specified in the publishing agreement. To finalize such an agreement and get it signed by the parties is a difficult task.

Applicable law

If the developer does not have a company registered abroad, for example, in Cyprus or in the US, the finalization of the agreement will be delayed, as the local law differs from the European, and even more so, from the Asian countries legislation.

Exclusivity

Whether to work with other publishers or not to work with them is solely the developer’s business decision.
It is often the case that the publisher pushes an exclusive contract through, but fails to generate enough traffic under it. The bottom line is that you can either forget about the game entirely, or, as another option, the project will enter the phase of permanent legal warfare.

The development process

Some publishers reserve the right to intervene in the development process. Big publishing agencies do have more experience, but based on our practice, misunderstandings may arise and they ought to be preventively remedied at the negotiation phase.

Real case: a gaming software company did not agree on the deployment date of a game and constantly made improvements as directed by the publisher. At the same time, the publisher promised that the game will be released in 2-3 months. But in effect it took a whole year, and as a result, waiting for feedback from the publisher took most of the time.

Royalties

There is a case posted on habr.com about a publisher that specified in a contract in small print the right to perpetual royalties in the amount of 20% of the gross income (this is craziness because the royalty percentage is larger than that of the income itself), and a developer (a party to the contract) signed the contract without paying attention to that clause.

By the way, in order to receive royalties, the developer must legally own the intellectual property rights to the game, otherwise there will be problems with the local tax. In most jurisdictions, intellectual property needs to be added to the balance sheet of an enterprise.

GDPA and CCPA

Normally, publishers provide additional agreements under which the developer, or their product, must comply with the applicable legislation on the protection of users' personal data.

Negotiating a contract with a publisher without a lawyer present by your side is suicide. An experienced lawyer will help to avoid unfavorable situations that the developer could not foresee.

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