Failure of Most Game Dev Teams

Raijinn

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Most indie game development teams have failed in making their games either abandoning the project, or disbanding their team altogether. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, why do you guys think this happens?
 

Jonforum

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Most indie game development teams have failed in making their games either abandoning the project, or disbanding their team altogether. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, why do you guys think this happens?
Maybe this is in your head ! or bad manager team or expertise!
Do you made a skype live interection or a Live dev Code following ?
Dev with team need skype and other tool for live update progresion.

Take a look on this tool:
https://codeshare.io/
https://github.com/
https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/
and for finance you game look at what your Gouv free give, you need call
http://www.subventionspretsentrepri...entions+pour+lindustrie+des+jeux+video+canada
http://international.gc.ca/world-monde/funding-financement/funding_development_projects-financement_projets_developpement
or also
http://mashable.com/2010/07/14/distributed-developer-teams/#zY3FzGbr88qy
And for auto Finance
https://www.kickstarter.com/
or
https://www.floship.com/kickstarter-alternatives-you-should-know-about/

ps: very rare that pro projects falls to the water
if you have the necessary skills, everything will be fine.
 
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Vanessa

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Money
People moved by money, it can also keep the profesionalism and responsibility among the crew.
Sometimes it's not enough just having casual similiar desire. In my experience, staffs more motivated if their works rewarded fairly.
And so good staff management followed. Make an MoU before started.
 

Leon Kennedy

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Agreed with above, indie games don't usually start out with very much money being made so it's easy for people to just lose interest. Time is money so that would be the #1 cause of failure then disagreements with game direction or features etc would fall in the #2-etc reasons they fail.
 

Kes

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It might be worth noting that probably an equal (maybe higher?) percentage of games made by solo devs also get abandoned. There will be a lot of overlap in the reasons why that happens e.g. too complex a game envisaged for the skill sets available, RL making increasing demands, poor initial planning, inspiration running out, etc. etc. When you add on the additional factors that come with working as a team, then it is not surprising that they don't all make it to release.
 

Lantiz

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Yes, money. Money is the problem.
Do it for passion, because you enjoy making games, not for money.
Make the game you want to play and, maybe, someone else will want to play too.

From what I can see, most successful indie games have come from people who enjoy what they do.
If you look around you'll notice these guys are always in game jams or even releasing small games for free.
At some point, one of those becomes a hit.

I'm not telling you to release your games for free, but not to have it as a goal.
 

Kwerty

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Games get abandoned for a whole plethora of reasons, the same reasons why companies in other sectors fail.

May be a vision change impacting budget, market conditions, poor planning - too many to list. Could write a whole essay on the subject.

Lots of possible internal factors and probably the most common - (team related/planning/execution -> impacting and straining budget) and external factors (economy/tech/social changes)

I could say that you are more exposed to the failures in this industry because you are 'active' within it, care about games etc and therefore become aware of the failures, but in all honesty, it is the same across all sectors and industries, especially in the business start-up space where most indy game dev companies live.
 

EpicFILE

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It might be about lack of potential reward.
Either money, recognition, or satisfaction.

If a solo dev successfully made a game, at least even if it's not commercially successful or get a proper recognition...
He/she have the satisfaction of making his/her dream game.
That's the reward.

In a team, we need bigger reward than just a simple satisfaction.
Because we sacrificed ourselves, making a game for somebody else. (the project leader in this case)
What's the reward for the rest of the team if there's no money and recognition?

If the leader wants to keep the team's interest...
The project itself needs to be potentially successful commercially, or at least get a wide recognition.
It requires the power of good project planning and the magic of persuasion.
The way of telling "you'd be happy because you'll be a part of a great project".

Actually if a project is based on friendship... (not based in leader - member relationship)
I think there might be a higher chance of success.
Because everybody shared the same dream.
Even if it's not commercially successful or get wide recognition, they have made their masterpiece.
Still, there can be many factors that can stop them too.

I think that's it. :D
 

metronome

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It's interesting to see that most of the reply here justify money as the casual suspect.
You would be surprised that most of the reason they fail is not because of money, but the problem they face could usually be solved (grudgingly or happily) with money.

eg.
3 people having full time jobs, unmarried, decide to join as a team and make a game.
They know full well they probably wont make any money on the game they make, but they don't care anyway.
After some times, they loose steams.
One of them says he wants to get married so he needs to get a raise in his paycheck (licks his boss' asses, less time to work on project, etc...)
Another one says he feels unmotivated, the project they are working on doesnt seem to go anywhere.
The project "leader" wants to keep the team from falling apart, and offers them extra money.
These two men's problem are not money, but money could solve their problem......albeit imperfectly.
 
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Raijinn

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Thank you all for replying, but after thinking about it for a while, this is what I think. It's short and simple, they didn't plan ahead about their game. And so their scope becomes too big and it just overwhelms them
"Can WE make this?"
"How LONG would it take?"
"Do WE have the resources?"
They never asked those questions and so they start very enthusiastic and ambitious, but then they start losing those enthusiasm and ambition.
And so the team crumbles.

Of course another thing to consider is their real life, because most of these indie games are built on a no-pay system, It doesn't really count as a job while they have a life to live and things to buy to keep them alive.

But that's just what I think, what do you guys think?
 

ChampX

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Generally, teams fall apart because of one or more of the following:

-Terrible sense of scope
-Inadequate planning
-Lack of experience (which generally is apart of the first 2 reasons)
-Not enough budget (to either support team members and/or of obtaining resources needed such as Photoshop)
-Communication issues
-Internal conflicts with other team members
-Life priorities
-Terrible work environment (which can also contain any of the other reasons above)

The earlier you are in your game dev journey, the more likely you are going to fail.

Here's a secret though. Everyone fails. Newbies to veterans, we all fail. Failure is how you learn. It's how you handle those failures and turn them into success is what really matters. Failing early is also critical. It is better to get a F on that group game capstone project in school at age 22 than it is to suffer huge financial losses at your job due to a failed project so the company lays people off and now you are age 45 with a spouse and 2 kids to feed, but just lost your job. The earlier you fail, the lesser the consequences.
 

Ed19

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I think the main reasons are : budget, money / incentives, and incompatibilities between members.

One more thing, for a starter indie developer , don't try to develop a game more than 5 years, unless your previous games are widely recognized , and you get positive reviews.
 

Requiem

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Probably the number 1 reason for failure of *any* startup regardless of industry is lack of marketing and sales skills.

This is a common story: The guy has a `build it and they will come' mentality, doesn`t know his target market,doesn`t really know his competition, and of course when he builds and nobody or not enough people come, uh oh... but of course the money/time/nest egg has already been spent.

From more of a fan/hobbyist side:
It`s just the huge opportunity cost. its time you could spend with old friend/family/job/real startup/learn a new skill/etc.

Unless you`re studying in a field that is very very very closely related to game dev , then it`s probably a dead end career wise. And even then there`s probably a more direct path then making games to achieving your goals.
( unless you aspire to make game dev a career someday)

Or at least it is for me, when things get hectic IRL, game making is probably the first thing that gets axed.
 
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"Can WE make this?"
"How LONG would it take?"
"Do WE have the resources?"

Even if you ask the questions and have those answer you could still fail.

Can we make this? Yes, anyone can make a game but there's an aspect of the game that needs to be considered.

How long would it take? Well that depends, you can estimate a finish date but got to consider things like sickness, change of plan in the way the game works, etc you can give yourself an end date but when it end is up to the game.

Do we have the resources? If you have good, but you may need more.

You can still ask these questions and give yourself answer but how you act on them determines the end quality of the game if you finish.

But even then I consider the game a fail even when finished as the finished product could be bad.
 

Canini

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I haven´t been part of any projects when it comes to games (apart from a few demos which were solo-made with commissioned art/sprites). I do have been part of a few book and comic projects though, some finished and sold and some abandoned. For me personally the most common reason that somethings fail is a lack of planning and a lack of deadline. You need to set goals or the whole thing more often than not just peters out. That is why, now that I have started making games, I try to set a goal and post it here on the forum every month in the appropriate thread even if it is a goal I will probably not make.
Another common issue is that there is a lack of exposure. This is a particular problem when it comes to fanzines. If there aren´t a clear way to publish and sell, the artists may end up wondering what the point is and pull out of the project.
 

Ellie Jane

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Money, the fact for most it is a hobby, and frankly, the fractal nature of making a game that can be difficult to get out of.

It's so tempting to add to any feature you create, or try and fine tune it, or try and make it a little bit better. For side quests to lead to side quests. Maps to lead to maps. If nothing is planned properly then the game will never be finished and it would be foolish to try and create what you actually want in your head. And that makes it frustrating or annoying, because you can't finish your dream game. You can finish a rough approximation of your dream game, only if you restrain yourself. And for most people lets face it, this is a hobby and some fun, so they aren't going to live to those constraints.

I do it in practically every game I make. I try and keep it small and contained but I just explode in a world of feature after feature after unfinished feature.
 

ChampX

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How long would it take? Well that depends, you can estimate a finish date but got to consider things like sickness, change of plan in the way the game works, etc you can give yourself an end date but when it end is up to the game.

I actually had a senior game developer tell me a few years ago that if he asks how long something was going to take to his junior members, he would then add 25-50% additional time to what they said i.e. they said a month, add 50% and make it a month and a half. Inexperienced people and even some experienced people aren't good at fully predicting how long something is going to take and even then its good to leave some cushion room for the unexpected. One thing that can help with this, aside from practice, is to break each thing down into task size so something like designing an additional monster may be considered a small task, but implementing a new crafting system can be seen as a medium or big task. If that crafting system is way too big, you can break that up into multiple smaller or medium sized tasks.

This will help if you one day have deadlines that must be met and in order to meet those deadlines, you have to decide how long realistically something will take, which then means you start axing features you don't need due to time (and resource) constraints.
 

Parallax Panda

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While the specific reasons can be many (time, money, lack of skills, fading interest, etc), I think the question "Why do many indie game dev teams fail" could be answered by asking yourself "Why do most people who tries to write a book fail?" or even better yet, "why do most HUGE projects fail?".

It's because, in this case making a game, is a complex and time demanding task, and most people can't handle that (at least not on their first, second, third or even forth try). Most people, myself included, suck at managing projects that requires you to wrap your head around that many things and then systematically and diligently work your way though that mess in hope of creating what you set out to do. A process that probably will take months, or even years.

Saying that people who can't do it suck might be unfair. I think it's more appropriate to say that people who can manage are amazing!
 

Shaz

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Expecting people to work for free, or for royalties
Accepting anyone who wants to join your team, rather than searching out those with a track record
Lack of experience in both the leader and the team members
Thinking you have to get all the best tools up front, rather than buying what you NEED and holding off for other things until your team and game is proven
Poor planning or team management

It's important to note that 95% of startup businesses also fail. The main reason is lack of planning and committing your plan to writing and following it. People don't see the need for a business plan - they have an idea, and they wing it, and they fail. A business plan is vital for a business. Game dev, whether solo, indie team, or professional, is the same. If you want to build a business of any size that is going to last, you need a business plan.
 
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Kes

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The way this discussion has evolved, it is no longer 'off-topic' but definitely game making related.

[mod]I am, therefore, moving this to General Discussion.[/mod]
 

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