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Business & Legal Primer for Game Development Hardcover – November 10, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1584504924 ISBN-10: 1584504927 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Game Development
  • Hardcover: 475 pages
  • Publisher: Charles River Media; 1 edition (November 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584504927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584504924
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Greg Boyd is an attorney with Kenyon & Kenyon LLP in New York. He has represented some of the most prominent game companies in the world; his practice includes IP counseling and litigation for both publishers and developers. As a member of the International Game Developers Association IP Rights Committee, he was an author and editor on the International Game Developers Association IP Whitepaper. Dr. Boyd has spoken at several national conferences including AIPLA, GDC, Austin Game Conference, and State of Play. His commentary on business and law in the game industry has appeared in national publications including Fortune, Forbes, Game Developer Magazine, and Gamasutra. He sits on the Board of Advisors for Mobygames. Dr. Boyd obtained M.D. and J.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brian Green, often known by the online pseudonym of "Psychochild", is an experienced online game developer. He is co-editor a co-author of this book. Brian received degrees in both Spanish and Computer Science with a minor in Business. He started his professional career in 1998 working on the classic online RPG, Meridian 59 (http://www.meridian59.com/). He then left to work at the now defunct Communities.com on The Palace, a noted graphical chat product. Brian later started Near Death Studios, Inc. with fellow former Meridian 59 developer Rob "Q" Ellis II. In late 2001, the company had the opportunity to purchase Meridian 59 and work on it again. In May of 2002 Meridian 59 was commercially re-launched. Brian has maintained Meridian 59 and ran the business side of Near Death Studios, Inc. He is a frequent speaker at game industry conferences and shares his experiences in developing independent games and running a business.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
You actually have to sit down and convince yourself you're reading a legal book.
Elliot
This book was invaluable to me in learning about doing business in the video game industry and the concerns that a game development team will face.
Brian
Overall this book is a must for game developers and fun reading for anyone that is interested in understanding the business of games.
A Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James S. Humphrey IV on December 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am an attorney who only occasionally encounters intellectual property issues stemming from "gaming" in my practice. However, like most males my age, I'm fascinated by the video game industry, and in particular, video game development. I picked up this book to learn a little bit more about gaming issues--partly in the hopes of expanding my practice, partly in an effort to learn more about the industry--and ended up buying this primer on a whim. It turned out to be a great decision...not only does this book provide the astute, rock-solid legal analysis I would expect from a legal primer, it also gives an amazing and exciting inside look at the world of development.

The primer begins with a good-natured and insightful perspective on starting your own game company, winds its way through the trials of day-to-day business operations and ends up with some shared experiences from those who have "made it" in the world of video game development, including the co-founders of GameLab. In between, well-researched and easy-to-understand legal advice is dispensed on a wide range of pertinent topics, including intellecual property law, contract law, taxation and even the current state of law in virtual worlds.

In short, this primer is an affirmatively *enjoyable* read--a rarity among legal primers, as I can unfortunately attest--and a must-read for would-be developers and anyone else who wants to really understand the ins and outs of video game development. I plan on recommending it not only to my clients but to anyone who is even remotely interested in learning more about the gaming industry.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you are even thinking of forming a company in the computer gaming industry, or if you're an outside developer presenting a game to a company, here is a wealth of information. Of course, as one of the contributor says, 'if you have $10 million already and you are starting a game company, then you can afford to hire a lawyer to do all this work for you.' But just to double check the work he is doing you still should read this book.

This book really has two sections. First is about starting a company. This is on all the general business parts like creating a legal business entity, renting an office, hiring staff, product and market analysis, raising capital, etc.

But then comes the second part that is specific to the gaming industry, especially the intellectual property that you are creating as you define characters, the art aspects of how the game looks, and the contracts you will need to have in place with your developers or with a game distribution company if you use them.

There's another aspect that could fit under either of these two as they are not standard for most businesses but not restricted to games either, this includes selling internationally, paying international taxes and so on.

Basically, as the title of this book says, it's a 'Primer,' that is, a general introduction that will enable you to know what you're talking about but not enough to consider yourself an attorney.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in understanding the business of video game development this book should be on the top of your list of things to read first. Written for the person trying to get into game development or the person in game development looking to start out on their own. It combines both the business and the legal fundamentals that you need to know to get started in video game development. Includes analysis of publishing agreements and EULA's that are extremely helpful to any game developer. Also includes things you need to know to protect your intellectual property rights and what kinds of things in video games can be protected. The book is not overly complicated and in fact it is written to be easy and fun to read. The authors are all experts in the fields of business and law of video games and you can tell they had a good time writing this book. One of the most interesting chapters includes helpful suggestions from leaders in the video game industry on things that they wish they would have known starting out as game developers. Overall this book is a must for game developers and fun reading for anyone that is interested in understanding the business of games.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JM on June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book provides an essential introduction to every aspect of the game industry, and how to successfully navigate the creation or growth of a company. While some of the examples, such as the sample Publisher-Developer agreement, are written from a publisher's perspective, the author acknowledges that and there is plenty of info for developers as well. The coverage of a range of issues, including IP and taxation, from the field's leading practitioners, make this an important foundation for anyone who's serious about the video game industry.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dan A. Levy on April 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one amazing book. It quite literally addresses every possible business and legal issue for the game industry. Not only that, the information in this book is applicable to really any software or software intensive company. A+
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian on August 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was invaluable to me in learning about doing business in the video game industry and the concerns that a game development team will face.

While many books which discuss the video game industry will waver in their accuracy on any given subtopic due to the limited expertise of the speaker, this volume avoids that problem by having each chapter written by a different author, each with particular knowledge and experience with their chapter's subject. The Primer is written by more than a dozen experts, including game developers, business persons and law professors, each talking in plain English about the problems and solutions to difficulties and issues that will arise over the course of developing a game and starting a development company.

As a student, I have read a lot of textbooks in the last few years and being interested in the game industry I regularly read magazines and articles on game development. This book is neither of those. It is informative and helpful without being long-winded or wordy, serious in its expertise and insight but fun in its approach and writing. In short, it is the type of reading you will enjoy doing while learning the things you want and need to know about business and legal issues which arise in game development.
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