There are many different types of sponsorships, and it can get confusing trying to figure out what each one means. If you aren’t educated on the different sponsorships, you can end up getting ripped off on your game or even lose the rights to your game. So in this post I’ll be bringing you the information you need to understand the different sponsorship types.
Firstly, lets delve into what a sponsorship is. Broken down into it’s simplest explanation, a sponsorship is when a site owner pays a developer for some sort of special rights to the developers game. These rights can include branding, exclusivity, or even source code.
Now that you know the basic principles of a sponsorship, it’s time to get into the different types of sponsorships. The most common sponsorship form is an exclusive license.
An Exclusive License is a sponsorship in which the sponsor will pay a developer to incorporate the sponsor’s branding into the game. This branding will usually include a splash screen or preloader as well as a More Games link of some sort. More branding may be placed, depending on the sponsor.
1. You are assured the money that you agree upon for your game. It doesn’t matter if your game bombs, you will still receive that money.
2. You will generally get paid a high amount upfront for an exclusive license. Since they are exclusive, the deal will be worth more than almost any other types of individual sponsorship deals.
3. Your sponsor will distribute the game for you. If you land a good sponsor, they will spread your game a lot further than you could have done on your own.
1. You cannot further monetize your game. Once your initial payment is received you will make no more money off your game, regardless of how well it does.
2. You are not allowed to sell non-exclusive licenses. This limits the amount of revenue you can make off your game.
3. Most sponsors will not allow you to put in-game advertising into your games. This means no recurrent advertising revenue.
The next type of sponsorship is a Primary Sponsorship. This is the sponsorship model that is being pioneered by Flash Game License. It is essentially an exclusive license, without any of the drawbacks. The game will be sponsored in the worldwide release by the primary sponsor, however you are free to sell site-locked non-exclusive licenses and have in-game advertising.
1. You receive an upfront payment for your game. You will be paid no matter what.
2. You are allowed to sell non-exclusive licenses. If your game does well, more sites will be interested in non-exclusive licenses and it will generate you more revenue.
3. You are allowed to keep in-game ads. This not only means you will make money each time your game is played, but also can be used to leverage portals to purchase your non-exclusive license. You can offer to remove the ads for their portal if they pay you for a non-exclusive license.
4. Sometimes, a sponsor will offer you a percentage of advertising revenue. This means each time your game is played on their site, you will be paid a portion of the advertising revenue. Site ads usually pay a bit better than in-game advertising does.
1. Primary license will usually net you a little bit less upfront money than an exclusive license will.
2. It can be hard to find a primary license. Fewer sponsors are willing to give you a primary license because most sponsors used to buying exclusive licenses, and don’t want to make the transition to primary licenses.
There is also the Site-Locked Non-Exclusive license. This type of license is when a site will pay you for an exclusive version of your game. This game will be available only on the sponsor’s site, and won’t be distributed to any other sites. It can include API integration, removing ads and external links, as well as possibly changing certain gameplay elements. You will typically want to go after these licenses after you game has been sponsored and released.
1. Site-locked non-exclusive licenses aren’t exclusive. You can still have a sponsorship for your game. As long as your sponsor allows you to sell them, you are free to sell as many as you want.
2. You can sell many site-locked non-exclusive licenses. The more you sell, the more money you can make off them.
3. They require little work. Usually you only have to stick an API or two into your game and your done.
1. It is additional work though. It takes extra time to add each sponsor’s API’s or logos, and some sites will require more changes than others.
2. You make less than you would with other types of licenses. However, the work you have to do for them is less too.
3. They aren’t going to help you distribute your game. Since it’s site-locked, they aren’t going to make any effort to spread your game.
Finally, there is the source code sale. A source code sale is basically what it sounds like. You sell the source code of your game. This will usually include the whole .fla that was used to make your game, or could just include the code that was used in your game. I would only advise this type of sponsorship if you have already released your game and don’t plan on making any sequels for it.
1. It’s an easy way to monetize your game. You just hand over the .fla and you are done.
2. Your source code is worth more than any other type of sponsorship, so you can make the most money upfront off this type of sponsorship.
1. You lose all the rights to your game. The person who buys your source code is allowed to do as they wish with your game. They are free to modify it however they like. This is why most developers choose not to sell their source code.
2. Whoever buys your source code will be making money off your game. They may just replace your graphics and re-release it as a new game. Or they could modify the code a bit and release it as their game.
3. Your reputation could be hurt. People may mistake their game for yours or could think you are just releasing as many similar games as possible for maximum advertising revenue.
Each type of sponsorship has it’s own benefits, and no single one is best on it’s own. Not all sponsors will follow these rules exactly. They may offer you bits and pieces of each type, and you will have to decide upon or request the sponsorship aspects are the most important to you.
For tips on finding a sponsor and getting your game licensed, check out my Finding a Sponsor series.