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How much does it cost to buy an RPG property?

Iron_Man

Registered User
Validated User
The lottery in my area is up to 40+ million. I wondered, idly, what it costs to buy an RPG property/trademarks? I'm not a valuation expert, so I guess it's some function of expected revenue and expenses.

In particular, I'd offer to purchase Ars Magica from Atlas Games. The game line is temporarily discontinued as it was losing money in the long term.
 

Chris Goodwin

not a robot
Validated User
The only one who could tell you would be whoever owns the property. And it's very doubtful they'd respond to a public query on a message board, or even a private email.

Probably the right tactic is to wait until you actually have the money in hand, and then get in contact with them. How much money? I think we're into "if you have to ask it's too much" territory.
 

Iron_Man

Registered User
Validated User
The only one who could tell you would be whoever owns the property. And it's very doubtful they'd respond to a public query on a message board, or even a private email.

Probably the right tactic is to wait until you actually have the money in hand, and then get in contact with them. How much money? I think we're into "if you have to ask it's too much" territory.
Good points! I'm in no position IRL to buy IP.
 

adwyn

Registered User
Validated User
While I've never brokered an RPG sale I do routinely deal with blue sky valuations. My guess would be if you total up the sales numbers of the last three to five years and assume a $1 per copy profit I find you will get a high value to most people's temptation level.
 

g33k

Active member
Banned
Validated User
I think Atlas has some ideas for a "Magicshoe" (Gumshoe Ars Magica) spin-off.

They believe that ArM's 1e/2e/3e/4e/5e sequence has seen the game get about as far advanced as that "style" of mechanic can go, so they aren't pursuing it further (but they don't rule out, e.g. Gumshoe/etc). They think a "6e" evolution (from the 1e-5e sequence) would essentially be a churn-for-money, not a "better game." Doing so would alienate ArM fans, and damage "Atlas Games" as a brand/company. Not to mention: they love ArM, and doing that to it would make them sad :cry: !



Before launching into the ArM market, I'd take a hard look at how YOU see it going, and is it likely to be a better approach than Atlas has already considered... and dropped as non-viable. Atlas has both a deep history with the game (Atlas pres/founder/ceo John Nephew was with Lion Rampant (original publisher of ArM 1e&2e) up until their relocation/merger with WW), and in the ArM5e era also brought non-ArM talent to bear (e.g. Cam Banks of Leverage/Cortex fame) .

Were I to win a big lottery, and seek to reboot ArM, I would probably approach Atlas Games as an "angel investor" looking to hire some talented consultant developers (both some WITH prior ArM experience/love, and some WITHOUT) to do a thinktank, and see what an extended brainstorming session could come up with.

But I'm not Atlas; I report (above) what I recall of what they have previously stated, and one idea for how to get that particular ball back in play...
 

Fabius Maximus

Registered User
Validated User
I have some experience with comic properties, though I can't say which ones (so take this for what its worth), but it depends on a lot of factors. Someone sitting on an rpg that last saw the light of day back in 1983, might very well be willing to let you have the rights for a song. In general, they'll look at how likely they are to use it, as opposed to what they can get from you working with it.

Not always, though. Eric Flint in one of his books mentioned how he'd really wanted to get an Eric Frank Russel story in, but the estate proved impossible to deal with. You might run into someone who knows that the IP of Starships and Space Elves (500 xeroxed copies sold in 1977), is obviously the next Star Wars and prices it as such.
 

SibKhatru

Registered User
Validated User
I agree. Imagine an older game long out of print, perhaps somewhat obscure, with a niche fan base. Approach the owner(s) and strike a deal like: $2500 plus 15% of sales above $25,000. See if they bite on that option. My imagined example (unnamed, since I am actually trying to locate an owner) involved a rules upgrade/editing, new art, possibly basic pdf, then box set, then deluxe set, sort of a gradation with a crowdfunding tool and pledge targets. That's a somewhat traditional, book publishing-oriented sort of deal. Never hurts to approach and ask.
 

SignoreDellaGuerra

Audii alteram partem
Validated User
I think Ars Magica is one of the most evocative games.
While the selling point has always being the troupe game play style, I also feel is the biggest hindrance.

Perhaps a revision of the rules, with a system more inclusive for mundane characters, that allow for better development and engagement in medieval reality, with actual economy and prices, perhaps can very well bring new life and breath to the game.

Other aspects I would review is a better combat system, with more depth and more current medieval fight findings.
Perhaps creating a more incisive setting, against some specific background, like the fifth crusade, Albigensian crusade or some other big European strife.
 

punksmurph

There he is
Validated User
Not cheap for anything with a small name recognition, even it was a decade out of print and had no new material in 12 years it would be a 7 figure sum IF they were willing to part with it. Even with a ready investor, people willing to start up, and a business plan I couldn't secure viable properties. I tried twice, both times the owners were unwilling siting a high value of the IP.

It would be best to find a company in a state of decline and swoop in as saving investor, but many times you will be asked to not interfere on the product side. It would be best to move forward with a unique idea or help support a smaller studio with a bigger project.
 

martian_bob

Existential brain-poop
Validated User
There's also a big difference between straight up buying the IP and licensing it to make a new edition. If, for example, Atlas knew that they weren't going to do anything with the property for a while, they might prefer to license the game instead of selling it outright. They'd get the revenue without losing the IP, keep it relevant in the meantime, and if they're smart, have some level of quality control.
 
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