video game pitch deck, how to pitch your game, how to pitch your video game to publishers

Perfecting Your Game Pitch: 30 Tips and Traps to Avoid for Success

In the competitive landscape of the gaming industry, standing out from the crowd can be a herculean task. Success in this dynamic field often hinges on one key event: the game pitch. The first impression you make could be your only opportunity to captivate potential investors, publishers, or even your audience. Unfortunately, many game developers, especially those new to the field, often make critical mistakes during their pitches that can turn a promising opportunity into a missed one.

In this comprehensive guide, we aim to illuminate the common pitfalls often encountered in game pitches. The goal is not to intimidate but to provide a roadmap towards a successful pitch, outlining the essential ingredients that make it captivating and compelling. We’ll cover everything from the importance of understanding your core audience to the significance of presenting a feasible scope and communicating your unique vision. Armed with these insights, you’ll be better prepared to dodge common mistakes and deliver a game pitch that hits the mark.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting your journey into game development, the following tips will serve as valuable checkpoints on your path to a successful game pitch. So, let’s delve into the world of game pitches and uncover the secrets to a well-crafted and compelling pitch.

The Importance of a Well-Crafted Game Pitch

The First Impression and Its Impact

First impressions are potent; they set the tone for all subsequent interactions. When it comes to game pitches, your initial presentation can influence whether your idea piques the interest of potential investors or publishers. The key is to deliver a captivating introduction that highlights your game’s uniqueness and potential value proposition. Your first impression must demonstrate your thorough understanding of the game’s genre, target audience, and the competitive landscape.

Insight into the Decision-making Process of Potential Publishers or Investors

Understanding the decision-making process of potential publishers or investors can help you tailor your pitch to address their key concerns and meet their expectations. Typically, these decision-makers ask two fundamental questions: Is the game concept interesting and marketable? And, can this team deliver on their promise?

Addressing these questions in your pitch requires demonstrating both your team’s capability and your game’s viability. Back your arguments with compelling evidence, such as previous successful projects, a well-thought-out plan, and perhaps a workable prototype of your game. When you address these concerns head-on, you increase the chances of your pitch resonating with potential partners.

Remember, a well-crafted pitch does more than just showcase a promising game idea; it is an opportunity to demonstrate your team’s ability to follow through and deliver a quality game. Understanding this principle is key to creating a pitch that is persuasive and convincing.

Understanding the Core Elements of a Good Pitch

Explanation of the Hook

Every game pitch needs a hook – the unique selling proposition that sets your game apart from the rest. This is the fascinating element, the innovative mechanic, the narrative twist, or the unique visual style that makes your game distinctive.

Articulating the hook is essential because it can intrigue your potential publishers or investors. Remember, they’re likely sifting through many game ideas, so it’s vital to make yours stand out. The hook is what will stick in their minds after they’ve heard multiple pitches.

Importance of Understanding Your Target Audience

Who will play your game? What do they value? What are their gaming habits? Knowing your target audience is paramount. Understanding the demographic and psychographic details of your potential players can inform design decisions and allow you to present a game concept that appeals directly to their interests.

Having a keen grasp of your target audience demonstrates to potential publishers or investors that you know who you’re making the game for and that you’re creating something that meets a specific demand in the marketplace.

Presentation of a Feasible Scope

Your game pitch should be ambitious, but it also needs to be feasible. Presenting a project scope that aligns with your team’s capacity and resources is critical. It is essential to show that you understand the complexities involved in developing your game and have a realistic plan for overcoming potential challenges.

Ability to Communicate Your Vision

Lastly, a good pitch hinges on your ability to clearly communicate your vision. This vision goes beyond just the gameplay mechanics or story. It encompasses the desired player experiences, emotional responses, and the unique value that your game will offer.

Use your pitch to paint a picture of what your game will be like, how it will feel to play it, and why it will be an unforgettable experience. Your passion and excitement should shine through as you articulate your vision, making your audience believe in your game as much as you do.

The 30 Common Mistakes Made During Game Pitches

1-5: Basic Etiquette Mistakes

  1. Late Arrival: Arriving late for a pitch is a major faux pas. It signals disrespect and lack of professionalism. Always ensure that you are punctual for your pitch meetings.
  2. Disregarding Time Limits: When you are given a specific time slot, stick to it. Overrunning your allotted time can inconvenience others and might be perceived as disregard for their time.
  3. Overuse of Jargon: While industry terms are useful, too much jargon can lead to confusion and disconnect. It’s crucial to keep the language simple and accessible to all potential investors or publishers.
  4. Forgetting to Introduce Your Team: A pitch isn’t just about your game; it’s also about the people who will bring it to life. Always remember to introduce your team and their roles.
  5. Ignoring Feedback or Questions: Not addressing feedback or questions from your audience can create a barrier. Be open and receptive to constructive criticism and queries.

6-10: Presentation and Professionalism

  1. Cluttered Slides: Your slides should support your pitch, not distract from it. Keep your slides clear, concise, and visually appealing.
  2. Failure to State The Genre: Always state your game’s genre upfront. It sets the stage for the rest of your pitch.
  3. No Clear Game Description: Make sure to include a concise and comprehensive description of your game. It’s essential to give your audience a clear picture of what your game is about.
  4. Ignoring the Competition: Not acknowledging the existing competition can come off as unpreparedness. It’s crucial to understand your market and how your game fits into it.
  5. Not Addressing Monetization: Be clear about your game’s business model. Investors want to know how your game is going to make money.

11-15: Inadequate Research and Planning

  1. Inaccurate Market Analysis: A pitch should include a well-researched and realistic market analysis. Avoid overestimating the potential market size or profitability.
  2. Lack of Understanding of Target Audience: Understand your target audience and their preferences. Tailor your game’s features to suit their needs.
  3. Unrealistic Development Timeline: Be realistic about your development timeline. Overpromising and underdelivering can harm your reputation.
  4. Insufficient Budget Planning: Ensure that you’ve accurately calculated the budget for your project. Inaccurate budgeting can lead to serious issues down the line.
  5. Not Factoring in Marketing: Marketing is a crucial part of a game’s success. Ensure that marketing costs are part of your budget.

16-20: Overpromising and Overselling

  1. Overpromising Features: Be careful not to overpromise features that you might not be able to deliver. Always underpromise and overdeliver.
  2. Claiming to Have No Competition: Every game has competition. Instead of claiming that there is no competition, highlight how your game stands out in the market.
  3. Exaggerating Game Performance: Always be truthful about the capabilities of your game. Exaggerated claims can damage your reputation and relationships.
  4. Misrepresenting Team’s Abilities: Be upfront about your team’s skills and experiences. Misrepresentation can lead to skepticism about your project.
  5. Unrealistic Sales Projections: Be cautious with sales projections. Unrealistically high projections can create doubts about your understanding of the market.

21-25: Miscommunication and Lack of Clarity

  1. Confusing Pitch: Ensure your pitch is clear and concise. A confusing pitch can lead to misunderstanding and lack of interest.
  2. Inconsistent Message: Maintain a consistent message throughout your pitch. Inconsistencies can make your pitch seem less credible.
  3. Not Conveying Game’s Unique Selling Point: Clearly communicate your game’s unique selling point (USP). Failing to do so can leave your audience wondering why they should invest in your game.
  4. Failing to Present a Clear Call to Action: End your pitch with a clear call to action. Let your audience know what the next steps are.
  5. Not Being Prepared for Questions: Be prepared to answer questions about your game, team, and plan. Lack of preparation can undermine your credibility.

26-30: Personal Conduct and Respect

  1. Disrespecting Competitors: Always show respect towards your competitors. Disparaging remarks can reflect poorly on you and your team.
  2. Inability to Accept Criticism: Accepting criticism shows maturity and a willingness to learn. Defensive reactions to criticism can be off-putting.
  3. Lack of Enthusiasm: Show enthusiasm for your game. Lack of enthusiasm can make others question why they should be excited about your project.
  4. Not Following Up: Always follow up after a pitch. It shows commitment and respect for the time of those you pitched to.
  5. Disrespecting the Audience’s Time: Whether it’s going over time, arriving late, or not being prepared, disrespecting your audience’s time can leave a negative impression.

Additional Pitfalls to Avoid

Beyond the aforementioned common mistakes, there are few more pitfalls that can potentially hamper the success of your game pitch. Awareness of these can help you avoid stumbling into them and significantly enhance your chances of success.

Failure to Deliver on Promises

Following through on your commitments is an essential aspect of building trust and credibility. If you make a promise during your pitch, whether it’s about game development timelines, promised features, or future support, ensure that you can deliver. Failure to keep your word can harm your reputation and future prospects.

Disrespect for Other Companies or Games

Professional respect is a critical component of a successful pitch. While it’s okay, even necessary, to differentiate your game from others on the market, avoid outright disparaging other companies or games. This type of behavior can reflect poorly on your professionalism and can raise red flags for potential publishers or investors.

Lack of Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is contagious. If you’re excited about your game, that energy can infect others and make them more interested and engaged. On the other hand, a lack of enthusiasm can make others question why they should be excited about your project.

Not Being Upfront and Honest About the Team’s Experience

Transparency is critical when pitching your game. Be honest about your team’s skills, experiences, and limitations. Exaggerating or misrepresenting your team’s abilities can lead to mistrust and skepticism.

The Role of Prototypes and Concept Art in a Successful Pitch

One key area of focus in your pitch should be the demonstration of your game’s potential through prototypes and concept art. These visual representations can serve as tangible proof of your concept’s viability, offering a clearer understanding of your vision to the stakeholders.

Importance of a Functional and Polished Prototype

An interactive prototype can bring your idea to life and provides a hands-on experience of what you’re proposing. A well-designed prototype can help your audience to better understand the game mechanics, art style, and user experience. It’s not just about showing what the game might look like; it’s about conveying the feel of the game.

Impact of Well-Prepared Concept Art

Similar to a prototype, concept art can provide a tangible representation of your vision. It demonstrates the visual style, mood, and aesthetic of the game. It’s not just about presenting beautiful artwork; it’s about proving that you have a strong and consistent visual identity for your game.

The Role of a Team’s Track Record

Having a great concept is only part of the equation. An idea, no matter how good, is just an idea if you can’t execute it effectively. That’s where your team’s track record comes into play.

Importance of a Proven Track Record

When you’re pitching your game, you’re not just selling a product, but also your team’s ability to deliver. It can be particularly helpful if your team has a history of successful projects, as it builds credibility and trust in your potential to execute your vision.

Significance of Demonstrating Ability to Execute

Showcasing your team’s previous work can be an excellent way to underscore your skills and experiences. Even if the games you’ve worked on before are different from the one you’re pitching, showing that you can complete a project and deliver it to market can increase confidence in your pitch.

Communicating Your Game’s Unique Hook

Your game’s unique hook is what sets it apart from the crowd. It’s the unique aspect or innovative feature that captures attention and makes people want to play.

Methods to Discover and Define Your Game’s Hook

The process of finding your game’s hook often begins during the game design phase. Consider what differentiates your game from others in the market. It could be a unique game mechanic, a compelling character, or a twist on an established genre. Experiment with different concepts and push the boundaries to uncover something truly unique.

Ways to Effectively Communicate Your Hook During a Pitch

When pitching, it’s important to emphasize your game’s hook right away. The sooner you can pique someone’s interest, the better. Explain it clearly and concisely, and make sure it’s an integral part of your pitch. Use visuals or a prototype if possible to provide a tangible demonstration of your hook in action.

The Power of Honesty and Enthusiasm in a Game Pitch

One thing that resonates across all successful game pitches is a combination of honesty and enthusiasm. They are invaluable tools that could make the difference between a successful pitch and a missed opportunity.

Authenticity in Presenting Your Game

When presenting your game to potential publishers or investors, being authentic is crucial. This means presenting your game as it truly is, without resorting to embellishments that might lead to false expectations. Keep your pitch realistic, focusing on what you know your team can deliver. If your game is still in the early stages, it’s better to talk about your vision and plans rather than making unverifiable claims.

Significance of Showing Enthusiasm for Your Game

Enthusiasm is contagious. If you’re excited about your game, that enthusiasm will likely spread to your audience. Show your passion for your game – talk about why you believe in it, why you’re excited about it, and why you think others will be too. Enthusiasm can make your pitch more engaging and memorable, so let it shine through every aspect of your presentation.


As we reach the end of this comprehensive guide to crafting a compelling game pitch, let’s take a moment to revisit the key points and set you on the path towards a successful game pitch.

Recap of the Importance of a Good Pitch

A well-prepared and delivered game pitch can open doors and create opportunities for you and your team. It’s your chance to make a strong first impression, showcase your team’s capabilities, and convince potential publishers or investors that your game is worth their time and resources. Remember, your pitch is not just about the game; it’s about your team’s ability to deliver a successful product.

Final Thoughts and Motivation for Preparing a Successful Game Pitch

Game development is an exciting journey, and pitching your game is an integral part of this process. It might seem daunting, but remember – every great game once started as an idea that was pitched to someone else.

Avoid common pitfalls by taking the time to research and prepare thoroughly, keeping your pitch focused and concise, showcasing your team’s capabilities, demonstrating a clear understanding of your target audience, and communicating your game’s unique hook effectively.

Bring authenticity and enthusiasm to your pitch. These qualities can make your presentation more engaging and memorable, increasing your chances of success. And remember, while a strong pitch is important, ultimately, the quality and potential of your game is what will make it shine.

Wyatt Mayham

Wyatt founded TwitchMetrics in 2016 and shares his knowledge about the business elements of the livestreaming and gaming world. With more than 10 years’ experience collaborating with gaming studios, developers, and agencies, he’s adept at increasing their game revenues through strategic partnerships with creators and PR and marketing strategies.