Up to $500K publishing deal.
0% recoup. 50/50 rev share and industry standard terms.
On Monday Rogue and IGN announced Rogue Jam, a massive indie game event that showcases and rewards the rising talent in the industry.
The reaction to Rogue Jam has been super positive, which is incredible to see. But there’s some confusion about the rules—and that makes sense because they haven’t been posted yet! We’ll be posting the rules well in advance of the event’s launch on November 29.
The rules don’t cover the entirety of queries we’re getting, though, so we’ll also update our FAQ with answers to commonly asked questions. Some of the questions coming in are straight-up fringe scenarios that we hadn’t even thought of—keep in mind this is new territory for us too— so please keep checking the FAQ. We’ll update it as quickly and as regularly as we can, but you can also hit us up directly on Discord or Twitter if we miss something you want covered.
Here, however, I want to be very transparent about our intentions, our process, the details of the show, the publishing deals, etc. so that you have some insight into the whole shebang and why we’re so psyched to be doing it.
The goal of Rogue Jam is pretty simple, really:
1. Fund several awesome, deserving indie games.
2. Publish those awesome indie games.
3. Build awareness for the games and studios as well as for Rogue.
Our hope is that this is a huge win for all parties involved.
So how is Rogue Jam different from your average pitch to publishers? Of course there are some similarities because if you compete in Rogue Jam you will effectively be pitching your game to Rogue and to our panel of judges. You could also pitch us outside of Rogue Jam at rogueco.com/contact and we’d be happy to take a look at your project.
The big difference is that Rogue Jam is also a contest with some unprecedented benefits for winners. Let me outline a few of the key ones.
As savvy developers likely know, publishers generally recoup 100% of advances to developers before splitting revenue percentages. This is standard practice because in many cases publishers advance great sums of money to see games to the finish line, and therefore shoulder a huge amount of risk. In contrast, Rogue will NOT recoup the advances we pay to the winners of Rogue Jam. This is a sunk cost from Rogue and one of the big prizes for this contest. In other words, if you win top prize and nab up to $500K toward your game, we don’t take any of that back.
Paragraph break to draw attention to this next statement or my BD team will come for my head. The lack of a recoup, again, is an exclusive prize for this contest and not standard business practice. So if you’re not a Rogue Jam winner, don’t expect it.
The prize money can be diced up any way you like with one caveat, which is that it goes toward the development and/or marketing of your game. Indies, we love you, but we’re not buying you a new house—this is all about your games. That being said, if you only need $250K to make the best version of your game and want to devote the rest to ports, or marketing, or licensing, or whatever, let’s do it.
If you go the distance, but don’t land the $500K, you’ll earn guaranteed, but not-limited-to funding starting at $50K to $100K. The $500K and two $100K winners are also guaranteed publishing deals with Rogue. $50K gives us the right of first refusal and a discussion. It does not mean we swoop in and take control of your game for that price. In some cases, these amounts will be enough to complete games and in some cases they won’t. Rest assured that you are not locked into any contracts with Rogue at any time, and we would never force you to sign up for a contest that auto-triggered some sort of shadowy publishing deal. That’s some made-up super villain bullshit and we pride ourselves on not being assholes.
Let me run through a scenario just so this is totally understood. Pretend you did it. Your game is so damned amazing that it took top prize and a $500K publishing deal. If you have a change of heart—maybe you’re not cool with our industry favorable terms, you don’t like the portfolio we’re building or just think I’ve got a dumb, punchable face—you could walk away. You’re not in business with us until you sign a contract and that happens during a traditional negotiation after you’ve won—and to answer your first question, our revenue split for Rogue Jam publishing deals is 50/50 straight down the middle, we don’t own your game, and our terms are more than industry competitive. If you do ultimately decide Rogue’s not for you, you forfeit the deal and the money.
The other major differentiator this contest brings over your standard pitch is an unparalleled several-months-long partnership with IGN and a network of influencers including Sweet Anita and Bluedrake42. This level of continued exposure for your studio and your game is perhaps just as critical as the funding itself. And should you go the distance, you’ll be featured on a multi-part Shark Tank-inspired show with all of our judges. Similar to series such as American Idol, I suspect that even many of those who go home empty-handed will have leveraged this opportunity to build a fanbase and expose their game to a much wider audience.
So what are you signing up for when you submit your game? Well, you’re uploading a playable version of your game and granting us permission to play and expose it. We’re not stopping you from pitching to 100 other publishers at the same time. Obviously, though, if at some point during our process you sign with another company you’d be disqualified from Rogue Jam. Also, if you’re not interested in the contest at all and just wanna pitch, please add Rogue to the list—we’d love to see what you’ve got.
Many of us at Rogue have been in the games industry for 25 years or more. We share a collective love of the artistry of video games, and these days indies own our hearts. I sincerely hope you’ll think of Rogue Jam as yet another publishing option at your fingertips. Maybe it’s not right for you or maybe it’s perfect. We’re not hiding the fact that we’re in it for badass games and exposure for our rapidly growing company. But we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is, too, and help make some indie dreams come true.
– Matt Casamassina
CEO, Rogue Games