Can you live on the funds you make?

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by Skurge, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Skurge

    Skurge " (GASP) What's going on!? " Veteran

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    Kick starter sounds awfully risky, I have submitted a ticket support to them to see if that can inform a little themselves.

    So as of lately kickstarter is pretty ineffective, are there time limits where you must meet a dead line or something like that?
     
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Well,  you will have pressure from the backers asking when is the game coming out, and so on. Plus, if you fail to make the game (or it is not what people expect), then except very angry fan mail.
     
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  3. Skurge

    Skurge " (GASP) What's going on!? " Veteran

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    say I decided to steam greenlight a project, like for example It was in production- maybe even playable demo stages, could It be done like early access?
     
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  4. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    Theoretically yes, but again you're too late for the hype. There have been too many games where the developer used the "early access" to get money for games and then never completed them correctly (either abandoning them completely or working on them so slowly that they have been in "early access" for years.


    As a result, "early access" has become more of a warning sign than an advertisement.


    Sorry - as with all forms of income, you have to put in effort and quality before you can get your rewards, no one hands out freebies...
     
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  5. SomaelCK

    SomaelCK Lv 99 Simple Sheep Veteran

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    It depends on where you live too.

    My first commercial game is about a year old coming this Oct 17th and over a year, it sold roughly 15K+ copies on steam alone, counting in the bundle keys sales ( tho it's tailing off lately). And my country currency is very weak against $ and living cost is very, very cheap. Around 300$ is more than enough for a single person for a month.

    But of course, that wouldn't be enough for anyone living in cities with very high living-cost.
     
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  6. Kyuukon

    Kyuukon 主人公 Veteran

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    Every blog post I read in the internetz says the indie game market is over saturated and that you will fail but seeing people from here make me think they are full of BS and don't want you to succeed/compete with them.

    I mean, you won't be rich but I'm sure if your game is simple but fun will do well enough (and even maybe if it isn't xD).

    I can live with $300/month where I live too (if I don't rent) and I really wish I could drop my day job and dedicate that time to game developing. Hopefully, in a few months I release my first game on there (almost finished) and see how it goes first hand...

    I have a few doubts as to where Steam and other publishing firms pays you though. Bank account in the US?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2015
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  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Steam pays to your bank account wherever you happen to be.  Be aware, however, that unless there is a tax treaty between your country and the US, they will do a tax witholding deduction of up to 30% of your receipts.

    That is what they are obliged to do under US regulations.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2015
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  8. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    Lucky you :)

    It's not necessarily untrue. For newcomers I'd say the market is indeed saturated and it's difficult to position yourself.

    However, if your country is weak against dollars, Frick yeah go for it lol

    This (a "poor" country) is the absolute master card in indy gaming.

    Then go for it.

    $3600 a year is very doable.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2015
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  9. metronome

    metronome Veteran Veteran

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    Well...may be the blog posts you read in the internetz are made and written by those living in countries where you will waste 35+ USD/day (rent excluded) easily there....


    The thread starter of this topic is coming from Australia. I don't know how much he will waste per day there, but looking at 2015 CPI, Australia is ranked 5th in the world..., so I guess living in Australia is kinda expensive I think. But then I could be wrong since I am not living there~~
     
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  10. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Even if you live in the US, I'd say still go for it for $3600 a year. That's more than you would probably make flipping burgers as a side job 2 - 3 nights a week, and much more fun.

    But, maybe I'm in an odd spot as I don't intend to quit my day job unless my games somehow become the next Minecraft.
     
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  11. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Even if you can't live on what you make from your games, that extra income could fund something that perhaps you otherwise could not afford. 
     
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  12. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    Minecraft made millions and millions. "Just" $500,000 could grant you several years of comfortable existence...
     
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  13. Skurge

    Skurge " (GASP) What's going on!? " Veteran

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    I would be happy to earn several grand hey, the little extra is definately a bonus- enough money to live off and better seek comfortable work.
     
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  14. ConkerMich

    ConkerMich Veteran Veteran

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    Yes you can.

    You won't unless you work really hard for many years and build up a name for yourself, so get to it! :)  
     
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  15. DarknessFalls

    DarknessFalls Rpg Maker Jesus - JS Dev. Veteran

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    You can but you have to know what your doing. Indie game movies were really good at showing this.
     
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  16. lTyl

    lTyl Warper Member

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    I don't agree with this because you are not factoring in 'opportunity cost'. By tracking your hours worked on the game (Across all team members), you gain valuable data to help plan your future business growth, and allows you to place a firm budget on the total financial cost a project took to produce. For example, say I build a simple mobile game in 500-hours of labor. I have no 'out-of-pocket' expenses, only my time to build the product. I make a total of $10,000 in net-income, after taxes and any legal expenses. I can take these figures and compare my opportunity cost by checking out what I would've made with the exact same amount of hours worked if I chose a different path. Say I would've made $12,500 in the same amount of hours worked if I got a job somewhere; in that situation my project would still be in the red relative to my value in the open market, and I would have lost money.

    Even if your total budget for the title is the revenue the product brings in, you should have a fixed budget on paper forecasting your projections and how much you expect to earn. Tracking all this data adds to the administration overhead, but is so very worth the extra hassle. Don't potentially devalue your most valuable asset, time, by locking it to the profits of your product. Value your time as what the market will pay you for it, and if you end up with an overall net loss, it is ultimately up to you to decide if the loss is worth the freedom of building your own titles.
     
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  17. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    The problem is, we're talking about time as part of your budget.  When you're an unknown artist, you cannot factor in your time.  It's irrelevant because you're unknown and your income will be derived from people who have to decide if your product was "fun enough".  In short, it's a business run on subjective personal opinion.

    Hours to you personally, mean nothing in terms of budget or even profit, because almost every small business pays themselves last (and for good reason).  If you are working with a team, however, their hours are important, and it's important to pay them what they are worth so that they stick around and continue to do the work they were hired to do.  However, as basically the producer and publisher of the game, it is the customers who get to decide what your time is worth.  If you spend 500 hours making a game and it sells 3 copies, your time isn't worth much of anything.  But, if you spend 500 hours making a game and sell 5000 copies, that profit you just made is what your actual time, energy, and effort, is worth in real world terms.

    You cannot really budget for "what your time is worth" as an Indie Developer because it isn't you who gets to decide that.

    As for "Opportunity Cost", well, that doesn't really come into play until you're selling game after game and making pretty good profits on them so that you can actually quit your day job.  Most Indie Developers do game design as a side project (like most any other artist).  It's something they do in their free time, just trying to get noticed, just trying to sell enough to make a name for themselves, so that they can quit their day job.  Eventually, you will make enough money to have to consider whether or not working a day job is worth more than being an Indie Dev.  Most people don't get that far, however, so it's kind of a moot point.  It isn't really up to the individual to decide what their time is worth (very few people on the planet get to ever decide what their OWN TIME is worth, because the market simply doesn't work that way in any country, because that's not how real life works), it is up to the person paying you to spend that time to decide what it is worth to them.  If you don't think what they pay you is enough, you find a job where you think they will pay you more.  If nobody will, then you have unreasonable expectations about your own worth.  Your time is worth whatever people are willing to pay you for it.  As such, you cannot really factor it into a budget.  Pay yourself $50 an hour all you like, doesn't make it true, and doesn't make the finished product any better.  Paying someone else that much, however... well, that's again subjective personal opinion.  What is their time worth to you?
     

    Furthermore, you probably shouldn't be using your "revenue the product brings in" as your base for the budget either.  The budget should be what you're willing to spend to get to a finished product, and initially should be funded by your day job.  Later budgets can take profits from the last game as their "budget", though I don't recommend doing that.  I recommend using some of those profits in your new budget, and banking the rest in some sort of "business savings account" for emergencies and such. 
     
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  18. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    I disagree with this point of view, though I understand where you come from. You as a gamedev, as an artist, as a musician, as a programmer, you have your necessities and therefore a "price". your time is worth the price your expenses demand, or rather the price you would charge were you developing a game for another person. The fact you may or may not get paid that price has nothing to do with how worth your time actually is. The fact you worked for 3 years on a game that sold 36 copies at a dollar each doesn't mean your time is worth $1 dollar / month. It means that you failed miserably in reaching your time's worth. But you must take that value into consideration. Artists often charge per hour instead of per asset for much of the same reason.
     
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  19. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    It means, though, that you MADE $1 a month. What else do you need to know? Who cares what their time is "worth"? It's all subjectivity. What is objective is that you made 1 dollar a month...
     
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  20. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Artists charge per hour based on what I just said.  They are charging what they think they can get away with for the work they are hired to do.  As in, someone requested their skills, so they get to demand a price for those services.  It is up to the customer commissioning the artist on whether or not their price is "reasonable" to them.  At that point, you can haggle and renegotiate...  Or take your business somewhere else.  If business is taken elsewhere, then to that person, your time isn't worth what you want to charge for it.  Subjective personal opinion.  What your time is worth will vary from person to person.

    However, if you aren't being commissioned, you can't really decide what you're going to charge for your product or even your time creating said product.  What you will be paid is what people are willing to pay for it.  If you charge $20 a game and 2 people buy it, then nobody else thought it was worth $20, 'cept you and two other people.  Your time is effectively worth $40 divided by time you spent making the product.  As an Indie Dev, you aren't commissioned to make your own game.  But, you may commission others to help you make your game higher quality.

    Basically, it's how basic economics works.  Supply and demand.  There is no demand for unsolicited artwork.  But, there can be demand for people to help you make your unsolicited artwork.  If people come to you and ask you to do something, they're demanding your services, so you can charge what you like to supply them.

    Things are only worth what people are willing to pay for them.  This is the essence of value.  Your time only has value, only has worth, in a marketplace (via currency) because people will pay you for it.  If you cannot get paid for your time, your time is has no value and no worth in a marketplace doing what you are doing with it.

    As for "necessities", this is why you have a day job.  If you are trying to live off of your artwork, then it needs to be well-known and of high quality that you can.  If it isn't up to that standard (by the customer, not yourself), then you shouldn't be trying to live off of it and shouldn't be factoring your "necessities" into the equation.

    Likewise, artists don't charge by "asset", because they'd make less money by doing so.  It's also much harder to determine relative value of their artwork by a single asset.  Especially when all assets are not created equal.  It's easier to make money by charging $7 an hour on a single asset that takes you 6 hours to complete than it is to simply charge a flat fee based upon "quality of asset".  This is also why many publishers of artwork (and not artists themselves) make the task and job more manageable and easier for customers (USUALLY!) by simply charging a flat rate and paying the artist a percentage of that flat rate per product sold (like books, games, advertising, etcetera).  It makes business costs a lot more manageable to have someone charge that flat rate and pay the artist you commissioned a flat percentage on each sale.  It promotes quality work (after all, the worse the quality, the less it will sell, the less money the artist makes) while cutting costs so you can compete with competition.  This isn't how all publishing and such works, but ideally, this is why it exists.
     
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