Reverb Publishing is the world’s leading digital video game publisher. It was just announced that they have entered into a site licensing agreement with Epic Games’ industry leading, multiple award-winning, game engine, the Unreal Engine 3 (UE3). Within this agreement, Reverb will lend some of their resources to developers of all sorts. Whether it’s a company starting to get their feet wet, or an indie developer. One of these resources happens to be Reverb’s dedicated publishing program for all sorts of markets and platforms. The publishing program is made for the following platforms: PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade, PC and Mac downloadable titles, iOS and Android.
This agreement has made Reverb Publishing the first dedicated digital publisher to have secured a site licensing agreement with Epic’s UE3. It’s safe to say that a developer with these two power-houses behind a team is a very comforting feeling.
Unreal is the most widely used game engine in the market to date. It has been used to develop extremely successful titles such as the Unreal Tournament series, Gears of War franchise, and Reverb’s own Dungeon Defenders.
When it comes to publishing a game without an agreement like the one Reverb is offering, a developer has to, metaphorically speaking, sell their souls (or pretty damn near close to it). They lose rights to their intellectual property and a large amount of money that could be made into profit goes to the publisher, not the developer.
I recall having a conversation with one of my teachers at the Art Institutes for my Advanced Level Design class. My teacher is a programmer who helped kick start Peanut Gallery Games. He helped develop the title Minor Battle and he was telling us a story about how the publishing system works for XBLA. For lesser known titles the cut that Microsoft takes isn’t all that bad, it’s a number that is to be expected. But if a game were to start doing well they would put it up on the dashboard and then take a larger cut from the sales seeing as how they helped “promote” your game.
President and CEO of Reverb Publishing, Doug Kennedy, had the following to say about their recent agreement with Epic and what they would offer to developers under it’s model:
“The Reverb publishing model has always been about allowing developers to make game creation their uninterrupted focus. By securing such liberal access to the Unreal Engine, we can now offer our development teams the world’s best game engine, coupled with a business model which provides them complete support for their titles, without losing ownership of their intellectual property and without the lopsided deals cut by many of the traditional publishers.”
With this kind of support it will help devs get up off of their feet, especially if it’s a lesser known developer. Anyone out there with some money to spare can buy a licence to a game engine, but having the support of a highly successful publisher behind them will help kick start the business and allow for a higher success rate. And hopefully in the long run, better titles. Joe Kreiner, North American licensing manager at Epic Games, had the following to say on the subject.
“This license with Reverb ensures more Unreal Engine development teams are supported with the type of launch programs independent studios need to have a successful digital title. It’s important for Epic to do more than simply license our tech; we are always looking for opportunities to help indie developers successfully bring their creations to market.”
Katie Morgan, vice president of business development at Reverb Publishing also had the following to say on the matter:
“In many cases, developers find themselves struggling to provide their title with production, public relations and marketing support from Sony and Microsoft. Reverb offers a program flexible enough for developers of any size, from the indies starting with UDK (Unreal Development Kit) to mature studios looking to establish more freedom from traditional publishing shackles.”
I myself have had the privilege to work with a few game engines, and UDK happened to be one of them. It is a very powerful and very organized program. It’s no mystery why it’s one of the top choices for developers looking to create a game.
Reverb Publishing has welcomed developers of all sorts to come join their ever growing roster of digital titles. Now all we need is for them to answer their call.