Sent on July 15th, 2022.

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After three years of gaming startup investing, I’ve seen thousands of pitch decks. Many are cut from the same cloth (eh, Perfect Games Company Pitch Deck), but there’s a lot of originality out there as well.

Here is what has set the good ones apart.

1. Honesty

Pitching that we worked at Peak Games, but were you genuinely contributing to Toy Blast’s and Toon Blast’s success? Do they have the same level of knowledge and skill to execute as Dream Games’ CEO Soner Aydemir?

Bring the negative side upfront in the pitch: “We know there are twenty merge games with VC-backed companies in the works, in soft launch or already scaling through user acquisition. We know it’s risky, and we think you shouldn’t invest if you think it’s too risky.”

2. Stats <3 storytelling

Besides being honest about where you stand as a team, the other piece of confidence-building is to show that you’ve gone a long way to prove that you know what you want to build makes sense for the market you’re going after.

You might have to build a similar game in the same vertical, and you know everything there is to it (earlier, Toy Blast and Toon Blast example).

Here is another way: you have been in soft launch for some time now, have pivoted the game, and can show how metrics have improved with each version.

Here’s the best graph I’ve seen, illustrating all the information needed from a game going through a soft launch.

Note, that the retention Days are on the x-axis and retained players on the y-axis.

To have an impact, you still need a narrative on how you came about the product’s progress.

  • What was the inception?
  • What caused you to pivot?
  • What did you learn?
  • What started working?

3. Concise pitch deck

I’ve previously talked about the teaser deck. I won’t go too much into talking about the “More isn’t better” since it’s been covered previously. All I can say is that more data points, more precise ideas of “how this will be big,” ain’t going to cut it.

So founders have taken my teaser deck and used every square millimeter on the slides to show some information and give some nudge. It just doesn’t work. Don’t pack your slides with too many graphics or lengthy descriptions, just the essentials. If you have to share more, send them in the Appendix slides.

4. Show the game

It’s great to see screenshots of the game. It’s great to see the game’s core loop, describing how the players spend their time in the game and what drives them to come back.

Get this “Teaser deck template

Nothing beats a video from the game and a QR code for the investor to quickly download a playable version of the game.

5. Team dynamics

One thing I usually look for in a pitch meeting is to read the enthusiasm and energy of the team to build this company. Second, I want to get a read on the dynamics of the team: who is the idea and vision owner, who is spending the most time on the project, who is taking the most risk, etc.

It’s often quite hard to talk about these in a pitch deck. But I’m delighted that my co-founder’s equity split calculator is a great way to evaluate the team dynamics.

By answering these questions and bringing them to the pitch deck, perhaps as appendix slides, I’d be pleased to see this kind of transparency and work by the founders to get things right on the team dynamics side.

(Photo by Pixabay)

Get my book, “Long Term Game: How to build a video games company” from Amazon. Available on Kindle, audiobook, and paperback. Check it out!

Quote that I’ve been thinking about

Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.

— John Carmack

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Hope you have a great weekend!

New articles that are worth the read will be shared again in August! I’m at the cabin now and minimizing the amount that I look at on Twitter and LinkedIn. I hope to share more interesting pieces when I’m back in the city!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Joakim