Why royalties make Kings and Queens of us all

There is a story which Philip and Andrew Oliver enjoy telling about our first meeting together at a trade show back in September 1986 (http://www.olivertwins.com/history/page/7). They came to Richard and I with a fantastic new game called Super Robin Hood, and we quickly made them an offer. “We’ll give you 10p per copy and we reckon it’ll sell 100,000 copies”, I said, and off they went with a smile on their faces at the chance of earning 10,000 pounds.

Super Robin Hood
As it happens, I was right. The game did sell 100,000 copies and the Olivers earned more money for that game than they had done for their previous work. But what if it had sold a million and we’d handed over 100,000 pounds? Well, I can tell you, I would have been delighted, and that’s because I’m a firm believer in royalties, and I think it’s a great shame that most people in the games industry are not paid them.

Richard and I earned royalties on our own games when we were starting out, and it made us feel like pop stars. Royalties motivated us to write high quality games, knowing that our efforts would be rewarded. So when we were at Codemasters we made sure the developers who worked for us were valued too. Employees are the greatest assets a company can have, especially in the creative sector, and investment in them is very important.
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Creative Teamwork
As a publisher I’ve paid out millions in royalties. We rewarded Ted Carron, the co-inventor of the Game Genie, Gavin Raeburn, who produced TOCA Touring Car Championship, and Guy Wilday, who developed the first three Colin McRae games, among many others, and now we’re doing the same at Kwalee. Our new royalties scheme rewards the team with a massive 15% of each game’s profits.
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David & Richard Darling and Ted Carron
The greatest rewards are given to those who have put in the most time and effort on a profitable project, and it means if someone works on a game from the start, has risen through the ranks, and gone over and above what’s expected of them, they’ll get the largest slice of the cake.
That’s a pretty sweet deal, I reckon, and it’s something we’re going to be offering everyone who works here, from the oldest hands to the newest of recruits. It’s a belief system that I’m sure will encourage innovation and creativity.

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