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This topic contains 16 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  monument 14 years, 1 month ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #2763

    aphra
    Keymaster
  • #9097

    ThrAx
    Participant

    Whats the situation with start-up companies in Ireland at the moment? What can be done by agencies in Ireland to help start-ups now?

  • #9102

    Paul Conway
    Participant

    The reason why i think that there is hardly any companys over here is simply because there hasnt been enough skilled people over here at the mo. There are currently only two courses to study games design over here at the mo as Enghland for example have degrees in it everywhere. I think that if enough people want to make it over here, you must pitch a good idea to a publisher. It would have to be something special as they arent that easy to pursuade these days. Hopefully this will change in the future for the better but that remains to be seen.. From what ive heard, the interest from the goverment IS there… Its about time aint it.

    Paul
    Ludo
    :D

  • #9103

    Niall
    Participant
  • #9107

    paulmay
    Participant

    Scabby publishers

    Good point Niall, I think that the next few years will be the most important for us wannabie games developers From what I can see, and I may be wrong, the last year or two has shown more interest in the idea of an Irish games industry then ever before. I dont think any foreign publishing agencies are willing to come over here to invest in any games company because i aint sure if they are convinced with 1. Our ability, and 2. The risk to invest in something that has happened before, therefore it being a bit risky in their view.

    I think that if we start to show enough interest, then there is no reason why publishers wouldnt want to risk all the money they have to fork out!

    Ryanair as a publisher? Rock on!
    ———————————————————————————

    Paul May writes:

    I don’t know if the lack of Irish publishers is a major disadvantage, I mean look at Counter-Strike as an example. A game add-on that became more popular than its host game through the web, publicity and though just having a great product. The real problem I see with the games industry in Ireland is a lack of enterprising spirit.

    CompSci grads seem to be only too happy to go to work for large multi-nationals, or conventional companies…i just don’t see computer science courses trying to enthuse students with anything other than the established practices of work, languages, applications. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just feel that the problem is more root and branch than a simple lack of investment from publishers.

  • #9108

    Grifmike
    Participant

    I do not think the Irish game development effort is hindered by a lack of an Irish, or Irish based publisher… Many of the UK based publishers fund projects in other EU and non EU territories, plus having a publisher based in Ireland, will not necessarily make that publisher fund Irish projects, unless they make sound commercial sense for them to do it…

    The problem is getting the Irish developers educated / equipped and ready for ‘attracting’ publisher interest, whilst providing them with seed funding from alternate sources… On the subject of dealing with publishers I have given my 30 seconds opinion within the ‘Education’ section on this forum…..

    The difficulty from an investors point of view is ‘who should I back?’ When dealing with a creative industry its difficult (but not impossible) to pick ‘winners’. The government does not know how to measure this, and neither do private or institutional investors…. That is why they prefer to invest in pure technology companies.
    Therefore investors also need to be educated…..

    The key to success in this business is to show a strong portfolio of ‘High Potential IP’ this means being able to show that your company (and it must be a company) has a range of IP (concepts), production plans for these, concept documentation, art samples, style sheets, demonstrate market research and knowledge, A SOUND BUSINESS PLAN and be in a realistic position to attract a publishers interest (before any investment takes place)

    The seed investor needs an incentive – something similar to the Film finance packages available to the film industry would work well here – tax breaks and incentives would go a long way to stimulate interest in placing seed investment within Irish game companies.

    EI should provide (in my opinion) the first port of call… a Irish game company ‘start up’ could be required to submit its IP portfolio (under strict NDA), which EI then gets a recognised Industry expert from the UK/EU to review… If the expert gives the thumbs up, based on the IP and team skills etc… EI could place (with some credibility) start up funds into the company……

    This EI backing and industry expert review could then be used to attract further seed investment from investors based on ‘project funding’ principles…. giving the group long enough to develop an ‘Alpha Build’ of one of its projects….

    The Alpha then becomes the sales weapon of choice in dealing with the publishers…

    Its possible to do, but the way to do it needs some structure…. the industry needs credibility, and the only way to gain it is to work within a structure (or have a proven track record) (you will have to deal with structure anyway when you are dealing with Publishers so you might as well get geared up and ready for it!!)

    Finally a root to market needs to be established…. once you have your alpha…. how do you intend to ‘sell’ it to publishers…. and which publishers? (some are quite simply not worth doing business with!). EI could also help here by generating a sales database for the EU publishing houses… they could also develop an open day type event for publishers to come and visit the Irish industry… but there would need to be a decent amount of Irish companies in place before this would be worthwhile and credible….

    So a complex mix of developer education on how to deal with a publisher and their expectations, Government assistance with some industry expert review, Investor incentives and education, as well as industry initiatives are required to really light the flame under this business in this country… This would take time and a lot of coordinated effort by a number of bodies to create and implement.

    Other than that we will have to wait to see which one of us developers creates the ‘success’ case study! (I know who my money is on! :) )

  • #9109

    Grifmike
    Participant

    EI have provided assistance with regard to funding our attendance of E3 in the past ….

    But PS2 dev kit funding assistance would be a major plus!!

  • #9147

    aduggan
    Participant

    Excellent post Grifmike, the experience is showing.

    Your suggestion on seed investors caught my attention.

    Enticing investors into early stage companies through tax incentives and treating the Game Development community like the Film industry would definitely help matters. Something has to reward the investor for take what is seen at present as a large risk. BES has been suggested to me as an investment avenue but I haven’t as yet investigated the possibility properly.

    I think it would also help if Games were categorised as art thereby bestowing the same tax incentives as enjoyed by artists in other media, e.g. music.

    Alan

  • #9167

    Seattle
    Participant

    How about a sponsered booth at E3? Maybe a competition to select work/comapnies to showcase?

    Besides attending E3 as a visitor i’ve also spent two E3’s as an exhibitor and its really fun and educational. You can make contacts there like nowhere else.

    -m

  • #9170

    aphra
    Keymaster

    Hi all,

    I was wondering does anyone have any recommendations as to an expert on IP and legal issues in the games domain?

    Aphra.

  • #9176

    omen
    Participant

    If you are looking for a professional in the field, I received a talk a couple of months ago from a solicitor in Scotland who specialised in IPR.
    I can’t remember the name of the firm now but I can easily find out tomorrow if you want to follow up on this.

    Damian.

  • #9185

    aphra
    Keymaster

    Hi all,

    thanks Omen that would be great although perhaps someone in Ireland would be useful too – in case we want to get them to write about the Irish legal situtation in this area.

    Anyone else any contacts in this area here in Ireland?

    Aphra.

  • #9189

    omen
    Participant

    Sorry about the delay with this…

    The company is called Shepherd & Wedderburn,

    http://www.shepwedd.co.uk

  • #9190

    aduggan
    Participant

    There is a company in Dublin called F.R. Kelly who deal in IP services. I saw their presentation in Galway about Copyright, Trademarks, & Patents which was quite good.

    I am not affiliated with them in any way and given that I have not used their services in anger just yet, I not in a position to recommend them either but their presentation was good, detailed and insightful, and on the face of it, they appear to know their stuff.

    Website is http://www.frkelly.ie

  • #9191

    Shane Whelan
    Participant

    Getting back to the subject of investment, publishing, etc…

    I read in the letters page of a recent Edge magazine (can’t remember which one) quite a balanced argument for publishers who own developers.

    A lot of the blame for publishers’ fear of risk in the western hemisphere is founded in the belief that our culture simply doesn’t embrace diversity in game design to the same extent as in Asia. Hence, we end up with derivative FPS and strategy titles.

    This letter supposed that the publishers in Japan had no more courage than their western counterparts, but what they do have is a different business structure to the US, Europe and UK. I know it happens here as well, but there it’s the norm for a publisher to have subsidiary developers. So the letter said, anyhow — I don’t know how accurate that is.

    The writer maintained that the Japanese publishers were able to pump out more original titles than us simply because the lines of communication are a lot shorter between them and their developers. I haven’t made up my mind what I think of this myself yet, but it’s certainly food for thought. It makes some degree of sense, but of course it’s not the only reason for there being a richer and more receptive attitude to games in the east.

    Personally I do think there’s a massive cultural problem in the attitudes of most people in this side of the world, and that includes developers as much as publishers and people who don’t play games but think they’re for kids, etc.

    …But that part is for another thread. ;)

    I’m interested to hear what people think about the different structures of the businesses and the consequent relationships that emerge between publishers and developers. It’s definitely something to think about, since we don’t really have any big Irish publishing companies yet. Most people looking at this forum will be developers. How do we feel about our IP being almost wholly owned by someone else?

  • #9478

    Siofra
    Participant

    Hi there,

    I just saw the thread about legal contacts in Ireland. My 2c is that firms like FR Kelly, JA O’Brien, Cruickshanks are good for the formal IP protection (filing patents, trademarks etc) but for IP strategy or advice on contracts, it’s better to (either hire an inhouse counsel:-) or go directly to a lawfirm that you know and have confidence in. Relationships with outside counsel are very dependent on the person you deal with and you should make a point of quizzing them about their knowledge of your sector and the particular legal “hotspots” of your industry. It’s also a good idea to explain industry norms to external counsel – so if they are negotiating a license for you, they won’t spend hours arguing a point that should have been conceded from the outset (and vice versa)

    There is a very good firm in the UK, Osborne Clarke, and Paul Gardner of that firm presented at the International Games Licensing conference (last year at any rate) and was really excellent. It would be very hard to find someone with that level of experience in Ireland though.

    A lot of the concepts in IP and contracts are materially the same as between Ireland, the US and the UK. Gamasutra has some good articles in the features/business and legal category(http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/article_display.php?category=2) which are useful for background knowledge, and also for explaining to your potential Irish lawyers what this gaming lark is all about.

    All the best
    Siofra

  • #9507

    monument
    Participant

    How about a sponsered booth at E3? Maybe a competition to select work/comapnies to showcase?

    Besides attending E3 as a visitor i’ve also spent two E3’s as an exhibitor and its really fun and educational. You can make contacts there like nowhere else.

    -m [/quote:3292ecfab4]

    It might be a good idea to even call the stand GamesDevelopers.ie and a stepping stone to E3 could be a stand at ECTS?

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