What percentage royalty does Bigger Boat take?
Our percentage is specific to each deal and is primarily based on the amount of portals that you license to us and also the age and status of the game. The more portals we handle the lower our percentage. If the game is old or has already been released in bundles then we typically need to take a higher percentage.
Is the royalty calculated before or after the digital store / outlet takes their cut?
Our royalty is a percentage of the net revenue after the outlet takes their cut of approximately 30% and any other minor costs from the portals.
The % share you take is only from the revenue generated by the portals you manage?
Yes, our revenue percentage will only be from the portals that we manage and sell your game on. We don’t ask for a cut of revenue from other stores.
Can I use Bigger Boat to handle my game on Steam?
Bigger Boat was designed to help indie developers take their game to stores outside Steam, leaving management of Steam to the developer. However if you’d like to discuss with us also handling your game’s distribution on Steam, we can certainly take that on for you. Bigger Boat is part of Surprise Attack Games, an indie games label, and we have multiple games on Steam.
One very important thing we like to make clear, however, is that we don’t believe an indie should sign with a publisher or distributor purely to get access to Steam. If you want us to handle Steam then we can do that but we will also add value by providing additional services such as customer support, managing the community hub or additional marketing.
Are games on Bigger Boat still subject to the approval of each individual marketplace?
We have agreements and relationships with each of the stores but games are still subject to the approval of each marketplace. Some stores only sell particular types of games or only want games above certain price points for example.
Having said that, it’s our job to pitch each game to the stores and we believe we have a stronger chance to secure distribution on these stores than individual developers since we will have other games already on their stores, ongoing regular communication with them and we already apply a filtering process for quality.
How is it decided which stores each game will be submitted to, and what are the risks of hitting more stores for developers?
Developers decide which stores they want to license to us. We then look at which stores we feel the game is suitable for. There are not really any risks for developers in hitting more stores since their work is the same regardless of the number of stores and we handle the first level of customer service enquiries from each store.
How about the prices on the portals you manage. Does the developer set the price or will it be decided by Bigger Boat?
We will take the SRP (Suggested Retail Price) you currently have for your game either at your own website or Steam. If the game hasn’t been released yet, Surprise Attack is able to assist you in setting the price but you will always be the final decision maker.
Can I use my Steam build on other digital portals?
Yes. The majority of portals that we manage are able to distribute a Steam version of your game. We only need a certain amount of Steam key codes. GOG.com requires a DRM free build and it is also best to have a DRM free build for the Humble Store but otherwise Steam versions are fine.
I’m planning to launch on Steam’s Early Access. Do any other portals have “Early Access” options?
We currently work with the following portals that have a similar option to Steam’s Early Access: Amazon, GamersGate, GOG.com, Humble Store, Wildtangent, GreenmanGaming, GetGamesGo, Desura, Gamefly, Ztorm, Metaboli, Nexway
Does Bigger Boat help developers with the handling of customers with queries and complaints from these non-Steam stores?
We handle what we would call first level support for customers on these stores. That is, the support emails from the stores will come to us and we will attempt to respond to as many of these directly as we can, passing on any that we can’t to the developer but hopefully filtering out the vast majority.
The more the developer can help us in advance with this by providing FAQ or answers to known issues the more we can take off their plate by handling enquiries.
One key thing – we’re not going to answer any controversial questions without talking to the developer. It’s important that we don’t inadvertently mishandle complaints on their behalf.
Will we have to invoice you?
No, you won’t have to invoice us. We will send you a monthly report stating how many units you sold and the revenue generated on the portals that we manage. Once we have received the money from the stores and it’s time to pay you, you’ll get another report that details the payment amounts and the revenue will be transferred to your nominated bank account.
My game is released and I want you to take over management of some of the stores it is already sold on, how is that done and from what date would you officially take over management?
This is definitely something we can and have done. Basically all revenue received up to the signed date of the contract will be provided to you. Any revenue received on and after that date will be subject to our agreed royalty rate. In some cases, the payment period of the store will not match the date of transfer i.e. the transfer might be mid-way through the month. In this case we work out how much of the revenue that month was pre-transfer and do not charge any royalty on that.
What are the payment schedules?
At present the schedule is that we pay out within 75 days of the end of the month in which the sales occurred i.e. January’s sales get paid out to developers in mid April. This is based on the payment schedules of the various stores as some of them have 60 day payment schedules themselves and we then need time to organise and reconcile all the reports and payments.
We know this isn’t ideal and we’d prefer to get money to developers as fast as we can but we also need to balance that with keeping processes efficient and making sure the reports and payments tally up.
Are there any payment thresholds?
Yes, if the total fees payable to a developer for a month are less than AU$200 then their earnings are carried over to the next month. Since this is total earnings across all the stores we have their game listed on it will hopefully be a very rare situation.
Related to payment thresholds, a big advantage of being part of a portfolio of games is that each store’s monthly threshold is easy to hit when there are a number of games contributing to it.
MARKETING & PR
Do you negotiate advertising on the distribution channels?
Yes, this is key part of the service. We manage the promotional activities for the game on the stores we manage. Through our greater scale and multiple games we talk to all our stores regularly and can put together stronger promotions.
Does the service include any additional PR or marketing for my game?
Bigger Boat is part of Surprise Attack Games, an indie games publisher. As a result we have a network of You Tube Let’s Play video makers and games media and we alert them whenever we add a new game to Bigger Boat. We can also offer them codes for review / to make a video if you wish or simply send them your way if they are interested in covering it.
If you would like additional marketing support beyond this, we can certainly talk about factoring it into the deal or about a full publishing deal on the Surprise Attack Games label.
What marketing assets do I need to provide you?
It would always be the best option to upload all the art assets you have so we can create additional materials if needed. To give an overview of materials we need:
- Game logo (PSD)
- Studio logo (PSD)
- 10 screenshots (Hi-Res)
- Trailer (mp4 and You Tube or Vimeo link)
- Game description and key feature list
- Background images (large PSD)
- Boxshot image (2D Hi-Res)
- Price list (USD, EUR, GBP)
- System requirements (minimum and recommended)
- Other relevant information (awards, etc)
Does the Bigger Boat team handle asset resizing to ensure they meet the standards of various marketplaces?
Store assets are our responsibility and provided we have the right suite of assets to work with we would expect to handle resizing of art assets, tweaking store page copy to suit each store’s specific setup etc.