I get these sort of inquiries all the time, but have never bothered to do a blog post or article about them. But I think, since most of these people check out my articles or blog before the send me an email, this post might help them get a better understanding of the the true value of great ideas for games from those outside of the industry. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Dear Mr. Buscaglia:
I have discovered you via your papers and videos on the internet. I am a professional working in New York, and I enjoy video gaming from time to time.
Recently, I had what I believe to be an original idea which could lead to the development of the first true Massively Multi Player Online Strategy Game (real time play, not turn based).
If properly executed by a game developer, it could bring in significant money.
I am not a game developer. I am not a publisher. I have no relationships in the these circles. I just have this idea. I am looking to determine if the key elements of the concept, the Game, can be copyrighted and/or patented. If yes, I would require help to do that. Then I would welcome further help to shop the concept around to a developer/publisher. I work primarily as an executive for a mid-size not for profit company, but I have a small S corp that could function as the owner of the game assets.
The ultimate aim would be to secure a deal transferring ownership of the game to a developer in exchange for an upfront payment, plus percentage of revenues. Possibly an advisory role during the creation phase of the game.
I am writing you to determine whether you would be interested in working on this project. Ideally, I would like for you to review the concept and give me your opinion of its worth. If you think it has legs, then I would like to retain your services to do the work presented above. It would be helpful to see how much you think this would all cost.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Clueless in NY <-- not his real name!
Dear Clueless in NY
I do not mean to be harsh…but you really should just go back to your day job. Everyone who plays and loves games has great ideas…and, more importantly, everyone who makes games already has their own great ideas for games. It’s what they do for a living and they’re pretty good at it for the most part. So, why would they pay to take someone else’s game idea and make a game from it? It makes no sense.
Moreover, an MMO takes literally tens of millions of dollars to launch and ongoing support necessary to make it a success is also in the millions each month. Not the sort of investment any sane business person is going to make in a game imagined by someone with no industry experience or credits.
Sure, this is an industry based on intellectual capital. But, ideas are everywhere and everyone who loves games has a great idea for one (maybe more than one). The real trick is making games. If you can’t do that yourself, or afford to pay someone else to do it for you, you got nothin…
Finally, if were to review all the “great ideas” that folks send my way and then deliver my expert evaluation on them for free on the outside chance they I might gain a client from the work, I could not make a living. So, while I am happy to provide a free consult to game developers interested in retaining my services…which is more than most other lawyers will do, you got to have more than a “great idea for a game” to get my time or attention.
You said you were looking for some advice…and there you have it.