Are game develepors Poor?

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  • I was seeing a post that a guy asked how they much they make profit from the game making. DUTOIT replied that it is a multi billion industry, but 5% of game developers gain big bucks while 95% of them starve. Is that true?

  • well, the profit value is relative to the size of the team and what you consider enough.

    For a huge AAA company making 10k usd would be useless, but for a small single guy company, 10K es enough to work for the rest of the year.

  • Its true for every single industry.

    How many million new books are published every year. How many spots on the bestseller list?

    How many salesmen? How many make seven plus digits?

    How many brokers? Who aren't broke?

    How many games come out in a year? Can you count 100 top games that year? All time yes, but a single year.

    Now look how many are released for pc, mobile, consols etc etc etc.

    Yes, it is very true.

    Multi billion industry, some top companies take big chunks of that, they also can afford to pay game developers some big chunks. Every now and again you get a small team that get a hit, but the average guy trying to make a game has to answer this....

    How much do I need to make a living = X

    How many games do I need to sell/people download/people play/ads veiwed/ etc to give me X = Y

    Do your own math, numbers don't lie.

    What do I consider profitable? For me the magic number is 1000.

    I want 1000 people to give me 1 days worth of their annual salary.

    That means I earn a little over 2 x the average annual salary. I have 1000 days of salary vs 365.

    Example to illustrate:

    So to make 1,000 a month I need to sell 1000 games a year at $12 game, or 2000 a $6, or 3000 a $4, etc

  • Im agree with Dutoit of only little percent really earn money.

    but i do not undertand what is 1000 people give 1 day annual salary.

    To make 1000 a month need 1000 people for $1 one game in 1 month.. so is 12 games (one per month) per year.

  • Im agree with Dutoit of only little percent really earn money.

    but i do not undertand what is 1000 people give 1 day annual salary.

    To make 1000 a month need 1000 people for $1 one game in 1 month.. so is 12 games (one per month) per year.

    Lol, I overly complicating things I guess.

    Point is, what do you consider success, work out how much you need (sales and games) and go do it.

    Some folks make tons, others scrape by. In the end making money isn't winning the lotto, it requires hard work and lady luck, and if she isn't giving, then create your own luck.

  • Its true for every single industry.

    Actually no. That's only true for the creative industry:

    • Musicians
    • Writers
    • Filmmakers/Directors
    • Dancers
    • Actors
    • Graphic Designers (Painters, Illustrators, GFX, VFX)
    • Sound Designers (AKA SFX)
    • Game Designers
    • Game Programmers

    If you're a corporate lawyer, database analyst, backend programmer, management consultant or things like that, you're (crisis aside) pretty safe from poverty.

    This used to mean you should only get into game design if you're really passionate about it, because there will be months where you won't be able to afford groceries. The risk lies entirely with the developer, who has to create a product from scratch and hope people like it enough to pay for it. Players on the other hand have no risk: they can try a demo, watch a let's play, read a review or even pirate the game. If you go with a publisher (that means you're no longer indie, you're just small), you can transfer some of that risk to the publisher, but lose some creative control (some publishers are great, though, don't let the stories scare you).

    Kickstarter recently changed the way the industry works, now ideas can be evaluated upfront and so some of the risk in indie development is transferred from designers to players, who may never get a product (or get a much inferior product) in the end due to complications with development.

    In the end, though, these are pretty much your only options:

    • Working with a publisher, you get decent money and don't have to starve, but you'll be making the games THEY want (which probably means bejeweled clones), and that sucks the life out of any indie dev pretty quickly. Go this route if you like games in general (instead of a specific game/genre) and feels confortable working with the current trends in the industry (as of this writing, we're talking about mobile physics-based puzzles with IAP. A few years ago it used to be social games, but that trend has died down).
    • Going full indie, you can make the game you always wanted. This takes a lot of time, and you'll find little to no support. Don't expect people to team up with you, and you'll have to pay out of pocket for people to do things you're not good at (sound, music, art, programming, writing, etc). Your first games will not have commercial success and it's a ton of work, for a very long time, for very little pay. If you manage to hit it big, though, the earnings can set you up for life.
    • Hobbyists have a full time job that they drain funds from to fuel their passion. This means you have a boring 9-to-5 job and during the rest of the day (and weekends) you can work on your game. This allows you to make the game you always wanted, and you don't have to starve. There is also more room for mistakes since you can always restart (you're not against a ticking clock). The problems are that development slows down to a glacial pace, there's nothing and no one pressuring you (which means you need tons of willpower), and feature creep can become a serious problem.
    • Crowdfunding. This changes the whole picture, because it allows you to sell your game "upfront", even before you actually code anything. The problem is that you need to somehow acquire the funds, and your prediction must be pretty spot on, if you run out of funds you're not off the hook. Also, if your game fails (read: you were unable to complete it), your reputation is doomed. Unfortunately, kickstarter is only available in the USA, and it's extremely impractical to work with it if you live anywhere else (with possible exceptions for Canada and the UK).

    I've tried all the alternatives above, and from my experience the hobbyist approach is the only one that affords you a worry-free possibility to make the game you want. Everything else is either immensely stressful or leaves you making crappy-bird clones until the cows come home.

  • Atleast is true for this industry.

    By the way.. the money "industry" have this %

    There are only few Mac donals who have tons of money and tons of burguer restaurants that dont have that sales...

    there are few Zara clothes who have tons of money and lots of makets with no name which sales are "nothing".

    So maybe is not in every single industry... but is also true is not only in creative industry....

    The only true fact is there is "almost" 95% non successfull people / market / industry and 5% very successfull / rich people / market / industry.

    By the way im in the Hobbyists sector

  • To not be poor at any creative job, especially indie games.. you need:

    1. Talent

    2. Marketing

    3. Luck


    Good post, very insightful. Atm I've been going full indie. If in a few years things don't work out and I have no luck, it'll be back to the 9-6 day job.

  • To not be poor at any creative job, especially indie games.. you need:

    1. Talent

    2. Marketing

    3. Luck


    Good post, very insightful. Atm I've been going full indie. If in a few years things don't work out and I have no luck, it'll be back to the 9-6 day job.

    4. Work Ethic

    5. More luck

    6. More work Ethic (Outwork the competition)

    7. Funding

    8. And More luck

  • I really don't think the luck is so decisive... i think more like... if you do good decisions or bad ones..

    im not selling good? maybe because art is not good, idea is not good marketing, is not good time (ipad was created many years ago but wans't the good time),

    i really don't think like... yeah.. i don´t sell very good because i have bad luck.

    I do think the luck takes part of a success but not as much as you think.

  • Luck is a far smaller factor for successful game making, than for something like writing a best selling book.

    In game making, if you can produce a decent game, people will take notice, regardless of who you are. Yes, there's a small glass ceiling, but your limitations for breaking it are down to your resources (including talents) in making the decent game.

    Compare this to writing. When was the last time you heard of a truly 'average' person making it in fiction? It doesn't happen. Unless you're already somebody, or have links to a group which will piggyback you, you won't even have permission to enter the room with a glass ceiling, much less break it.

  • Luck is not about breaking through the ceiling. It is about making the correct game. We have unlimited games we can make, but only enough time to build a handful. Yes it could be educated guess, but lets be honest, no matter how much you know what people want, who can predict 100%. That is where luck comes in.

    Getting noticed is not luck, getting people to play your game is not luck. Building a great game is not luck.

    Luck is having built a game that hits the market at exactly the right time and finding a following that you had nothing to do with. Call it a runnaway success, that is what luck is - luck is the game has its own life, it choose to be made, it choose to connect with people , etc etc etc.

    Not trying to get mystic, just trying to explain that even the best guesses shoot miss. Luck has a large impact on what game to make with so many good ideas to choose from.

    Sidenote: Books are the same. If you write a book that connects with people at a level at the right time etc etc etc. You have a runnaway success. But we cannot plan, or even fathom what that connection will be or how people will react.

    I know many books that touched something in a reader, and the reader(s) themselves made it a bestseller.

    Right book at the right time - this is luck.

    Right game at the right time - this is luck


  • In my opinion it's more of being active than luck.Having a base of players to play your game before you launch it is what I work on now.I am currently working on android gaming and it is more about social connections than about the game,and for those who make these type of games there are a few tips you can find on either internet or from your own experience.

    I've seen great,great game on android that had like 1k downloads because they were not appealing at that time.

    1 month ago a flappy bird clone could have made like 200 dollars a month or even more,now it's down and we are waiting for the next thing we can copy.

    So you can make money without luck or experience in the domain,but you have to put time and a little bit of research in it.

    Naji games are great as an engine to work on,but they lack graphics and that spark for making it appealing.

    If I knew C2 as Naji do I could finish my game in weeks,but I don't so I need to rely on my skills.

  • Effort > Luck

    Work hard and good things will happen.

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  • Sturgeons law - game development, as with any creative industry isn't qualification based, some kid in his bedroom can have a crack and so can an office of people at a mega-bucks company.

    If you want job security look at industries with a qualification barrier, like a lawyers, doctors,pilots etc.

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