The Art of The Negotiation 8 Apr 2015
Though not war, there is an art to negotiation. For developers, the goal of that art should be to assure that their studio secures up with the best deal possible under the circumstances. This means taking into account the relative bargaining position of the parties as well as the current forces in the marketplace that may influence the outcome of the negotiations. But, there is more. The art of the negotiation is also is about a process and as with any artistic endeavor; success takes time, perseverance, and patience. This art should be nurtured as a craft to be understood and mastered. To succeed, individuals responsible for the ongoing fiscal well-being of their studio ought to put the same level of focus and trade-craft into their negotiations as they do into the other aspects of the games they create.
While getting the best deal is great, a negotiation is not merely about getting the deal done. It is about establishing an ongoing beneficial working relationship. In additional to securing the most advantageous deal terms, negotiation is often a process through which the potential partners evaluate each others temperament, as well as their professional and business acumen. The initial perceptions of each other gained through the negotiation process often color the ongoing working relationship long after the negotiation has finished. These first impressions may well exert their influence, good or bad, throughout the life of the relationship. Sure, deal points are important, but consider that it may actually be the nature of the nuanced communication among parties throughout the process of the negotiations that may carry the true value, and the art, of the negotiation.
About Tom Buscaglia
Tom Buscaglia, The Game Attorney, is a principal in the law firm The Game Attorney PC, with offices in the Seattle, Washington, area. Tom has assisted independent game developers since 1991 with all aspects of business and legal matters. Tom wrote the chapter entitled “Effective Developer Agreements” for the book, The Secrets of the Game Business and has written numerous articles, including in Game Developer Magazine and the Game Law series of articles and an Expert Blog on Gamasutra.com. Tom is a perennial presenter at numerous game industry conferences. Tom Chairs the Board of Directors of the International Game Developers Association and is Treasurer of the IGDA Charitable Foundation which he co-founded. As FaTe[F8S], Tom is founder and Supreme Warlord of FaTe’s Minions, an online gaming “clan” that has been competing online since January, 1998. So, in addition to his deep professional knowledge base, he has a gamer’s appreciation and understanding of the game industry.
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