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  • What a Pitch!

    [06.24.08]
    - James Portnow
  •  Do you have a game inside of you that you're burning to make? We all do.

    Do you want yours to actually be made? Then I'm going to give you one simple piece of advice: Learn how to pitch.

    It all comes down to the pitch. That's where all games start.

    What's a Pitch?
    A pitch is simply a concise way of explaining why your idea is good. It can be formal or informal, technical or abstract; so long as the goal is the same, it's a pitch.

    Many people outside the game development industry (and even some experienced professionals) don't understand why it's important to know how to pitch. This is simply because they don't realize how often they are called upon to pitch. You pitch every time you try to convince your friends what to do on a Saturday night or where to go out to eat. Throughout the course of a development cycle even the most junior employees will get the opportunity to pitch features and development ideas; a lot of the time they just don't realize they're doing it.

    No One Makes Games Alone
    Very few games today are made by a lone developer working in isolation. Rather, they're made by teams, and no matter who the development team is, the project will start with a pitch.

    It doesn't matter if it's a pitch to your friends to convince them to help you build agame, or a pitch to your college professor to let you pursue a game project, or a pitch to your corporation for financial support. It's still a pitch.

    Pitching doesn't stop there. You'll find you'll have to convince people that you're doing the right thing throughout the development process, not just when the game idea is first put on the table.

    Where Should I start?
    In order to convince someone that you have a good idea, the first thing you need to do is know why your idea is good. This seems silly. You're probably saying to yourself, "Of course I know why my idea is good." But take a minute to really think about it.

    Your reasons need to be concrete and expressible. They can't be statements like, "It would be super fun" or, "Because making RPGs more complex makes them better."

    When trying to hash out why your idea is good, be very careful about using the word "fun." Yes, Super Mario Bros. 3 is more fun than McKids, and Gears of War is more fun than Dikatana, but almost every time you use the term fun, you are obscuring a deeper question about what makes something fun.

    Before you delve into what makes your idea good or fun, take a moment to think about why the following ideas were good when they first came out:

    • automobiles
    • toaster ovens
    • sewers
    • compact discs
    • bottled water

    What did you learn? (Don't click to the next page until you have an answer.)

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