As someone who aspires to make games, it’s always interesting and valuable to hear from the people who take pitches of games to see what they look for, because what a game needs for its design and what a game needs for it to be published and monetarily successful are not necessarily the same thing. This talk had a lot of good information that I think boils down to three solid pieces of advice.
The first one I think is that to successfully pitch you have to have a strong vision for your game, and be confident about it. Your game has to have a good hook, or unique selling point, preferably multiple (4. Pillars are not hooks), you have to have a strong vision for your design, and not merely trying to tell the publisher what they want to hear (3. I’m not going to design your game for you.) or trying to capitalize on a trendy technology (15. Pandering to the latest tech craze.), or attempting to clone an already successful title (17. Gone home already exists.) Your game has to be unique and have a solid foundation: there should be a reason for your game to exist in comparison to other games.
The second is related to doing your research. Knowing what publisher you’re pitching to (16. Pitching a phone game to a console publisher) what their role is (18. Can you help us negotiate a license deal?), and at least have a bit of an idea of the constraints of your project (20. No idea how much money, 22. You don’t have a team. 22. Business plan is based on outliers), and know what information the publisher wants to know during your pitch, and what to omit (1. I don’t give a crap about your backstory, 2. inventory system.) Basically, be prepared and do your homework, and know what the purpose of pitching to a publisher actually is.
The third is how you present your pitch. You should be prepared to present in a way that is useful to the publisher (26. Watching a pitch on the phone, 27. You brought a laptop, but not headphones), and present yourself in a professional way (28. You’re drunk or high, 29. You trash other companies, 30. You need to take a shower). And also realize that working with a publisher is a business relationship, so treat them with respect, because if they don’t want to work with you, it doesn’t matter how good your game concept is. (23. 24. 25.) And one final thing is that you should expend your effort in meaningful ways. Make a prototype that showcases your unique mechanics, not standard mechanics (10). Don’t spend excessive time on art if it’s going to go to waste (11, 13.) and if you’re going to showcase a certain element, better make sure that it’s good (14. Your sample dialog sucks)