Do any of you make a decent living?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by d000hg, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Chris Evans

    Moderator Original Member

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    I think Tom Cain pretty much nailed it. I'd just like to add to his 2nd and 4th points.

    This is very important and I also think it helps to have some kind of hook to your company or games, which customers/players can latch onto. Whether it's a particular graphic style or catering to a particular niche, I think it really helps to specialize in at least something. Creating generic games for a general audience is a fast-lane to nowhere as an Indie.

    Though I want to also add that you should try to remain flexible. You never know what may click with your audience. For example, I have PC and Mac downloadables available on my site, but it was my web games and web demos that got the most praise/attention from players. While 3D in downloadables is very common, many of them told me they hadn't seen 3D graphics in a browser like that before. That told me, "Hmm, maybe I should greater utilize my talent for web 3D graphics into my business more". So keep your eyes open for your unique selling points and listen to your players.

    This is also true. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who over-estimated how much they would sell in the first few months. I thought 150 sales a month would be a cake-walk! Boy was I wrong. :) Once I got over the initial shock of not meeting my initial sales expectations, I revised my business plan somewhat.

    Instead of trying to earn enough money to make a living within 4-6 months, I established a 2-3 year plan for profitability. This is still being generous if you think about it since most businesses (even the big boys) bleed money for the first several years (or more) before seeing any real profits.

    You can obviously make money being an Indie full-time, but I think a big problem is that a lot of new guys are expecting to be totally profitable with their first game. This isn't necessarily a bad goal, but as Tom said it's like winning the proverbial Indie lottery. You should really have some long-term plans and goals in place just in case you don't hit the portal's top ten with your first game.

    This is why I've stepped back and started concentrating on building up my website's traffic this year. It won't have a lot of immediate returns, but I'm hoping within a year or two, I'll have a good flow of visitors to pitch games to and other things.

    If you have a 2-3 year plan in addition to a 4-6 month plan, you'll have pretty good odds of eventually reaching profitability if you work really hard at it. But just churning out games won't do it. IMO, you have to be cohesively building up to something. Otherwise you're just throwing darts.
     
  2. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Lol this is the story of 90% of people around here who started to be indie after reading Pavlina's articles :D
     
  3. Sharpfish

    Original Member

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    Personally I have an upper estimate of somewhere around 60 a month (being "good") and a low (minimum) estimate of around 10 a month (being low but at least being a start) anything below that would be a dissapointment sure, but it takes time.

    I haven't set targets too high before I'm even on the market - that will come with experience and knowledge. I don't suppose you can just pull a number out of your £$$ and say that is what I will reach. (sure if you read Steve P's old articles enough you will be telling yourself you are going to make $2000 a month from the get-go and that you need to be positive - which you do - but also realistic to save de-moralising disapointment that could prevent you even bothering with future game development). I found his stuff inspiring way back in time, but since starting out on the process of development myself have adjusted all my expectations downwards by some margin using the real situations around me and the devs who are around today earning a living as a target to aim for. And I don't mean the big earners either.

    I suppose the reason for that is, I have always said I am not primarily in it for the money (just as well) but for creative freedom and because I have always been intersted in doing it. If anything it means I will possibly take a big dip in my usual income just so I can do something I like instead of working for "the man" - I'm fine with that, in general I am not a money led person.
     
  4. Game Producer

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    I don't make a living as a indie game developer but Tim Fisher at www.indiepath.com (friend and business partner) does make money enough to support his living. Although the money is not the same he did when selling stuff at IBM...

    Kai-Peter Backman (www.mistaril.com) is making a living (paying rent etc.) by selling his game. He has done that for several years now (with one game) and I really appreciate the work he has done.

    I presume both of these professionals share this trait (among others): work hard enough to get the money. They are working in different business buth have clear vision of what they are doing and how the money will be earned. Clear goals I presume and drive to make it happen.
     
  5. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    I'm pretty sure Tim Fisher can tell you this himself, but I know he works ALL the time on various projects, never stops thinking/working. That's how some people suceed in business for sure.

    I plan my code/design in the bath or just before I fall asleep or when driving or just standing in a queue somewhere.
     
  6. dislekcia

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    I'd think that that was standard on this forum. If you can get your projects out of your head then you arguably don't care enough about them...

    As far as making a living from this goes, I've taken a different route to the norm. Started out just making things for fun, got a community going on a magazine site here in SA and then grew from there. Now I don't have any games selling (yet, and my first product is going to be an educational visualisation package, not a game) but I make a decent living writing freelance articles for magazines to support the community I grew.

    And because the writing isn't too time consuming, I'm getting closer and closer to release :)

    -D
     
  7. arcadetown

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    Yes, that's how most succeed! I'm extremely busy myself yet sometimes I'll take time to give minor tips. About 1/4 of the guys use those tips, others simply call things done as they've already given up. Almost invariably those 1/4 are or become the succesful ones.
     
  8. Tom Gilleland

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    Are Tim Fisher and Brian Fisher are the same person??? I'm assuming corporate Tim and indie Brian. I like reading Brian Fisher's posts as they are thoughtful.

    Tom
     
  9. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    haha, they are not the same person, for sure.
     
  10. Game Producer

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    Tim must be Brian's brother. How else would they have same surname? ;)
    (sorry for this off topic... seriously: Tim Fisher is the owner of Indiepath - Brian Fisher is at ArcadeTown.)

    I'm sure Tim will soon appear here and ruin this thread...:rolleyes:
     
  11. Indiepath.T

    Original Member Indie Author

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    I'm Tim, that's Brian. And no, I don't think we are related - cool surname though :D

    Yes you can make a living, it's hard work and you've got to stick at it. Try and keep an open mind though, for me it's more about being a business man than being a developer.
     

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