Your Game, Your Name and Your Online Presence

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Speaking as a professional(-ish) developer, your real name being out there and attached to something you develop isn't only going to happen, but it's important.   It's important for your online presence that people know who you are.   If you want to be taken seriously and to have people find you, and possibly connect and work with you, they need to be able to find you.  The more places they can connect to you on, the better.   An actual Google+ page for an actual person?  That's one of the big things they look for.

If you want to be anonymous, just prepare to not be taken as seriously as you could be otherwise.  It'll be difficult (near impossible) to make connections if you want to continue moving up or through the industry and remain anonymous, too.
 

Robin

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I concur with FleetingInfinity. Professional game developers should use their real names (perhaps in addition to an online handle). I would just accept it. I've messaged you with your name from a quick google search, which will hopefully show you that this isn't something worth worrying about.
 
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Shelby

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Dark said it best, if you can't throw your real name out there then your just not ready. We all have the right to judge people in the public eye and of course developers! 2014 has been a bad year for gaming so let's try and not add to the problem.

People will look you up and your games for good reason. If I see that a game is made under a certain company NAME I will not even buy it, like ohhh Ubiesoft, and I couldn't care less if I spelled that right because they haven't made a working game in years!!!!!

You see my point, it can be very important to people. Games should be fun and give ppl peace of mind.
 

Marquise*

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Protecting privacy is also important to me. 

I had been stalked by fans, had family I don't want to be embarrassed with, harassed a lot in my life.  I know while asking for customer service GoGoU2 isn't a real person's name, but as much as I want to keep my mononym, artist name and handle name, I don't want anyone unrequited into my medical references, doorstep, high school past or bullying me out like some spying self-promoting employers do asking their employees to open up a facebook profile or just to be laid-off! 

I need like Daft Punk members, Lunarea, Archeia and other artists having their stage/Net identity and performance to the public and their personal bank account protected from ID thieves and pirates, and their personal lives a real haven to breathe freely like any human being and not some corporate public slave who deserves 15minutes of fame every minutes, 24hours a day, 7 days a week and all year long.

Plus...  Mainly why folks like us does that is to not turn bad as so many public figures forged by their very own corporate public image.  I'm sure anyone who has been really abused, bullied up, harassed or tamed in the past can understand this and that making something useful constructive and productive of their lives while not risking being torn apart by all sides or told they are inapt to do business because they need their very own personal haven of privacy to keep-up living too would understand.

It is not avoiding banks and taxes, any law enforcement presence either.  It is just dealing with them privately while working on doing our best with a quiet mind.  I know everyone now can post all over their very own e-selfies or boast upon their sex lives and it wouldn't be a taboo.  How many her would type in here their incomes per year?  And their full address?  I can deal with my neighbor being a star without bothering him.

(yeah most Hollywood stars loves my hometown because they know what some of us still do to harassing paparazzis and that they can walk without their bodyguards or agents here most of the time and I hope it stays that way for long)

That was my two cents on the subject anyway!  I do hope that I could had brought some of you a fresh perspective on the topic.
 
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Gavitron

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I would look into incorporating. I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that it lets you establish a separate entity that can be used to publish games, license software, etc, which can then "hire" you as an employee. I'm not sure this would give you 100% anonymity, but it would put another buffer between your identity and the end user. My understanding is that there is a cost though, depending on where you live, potentially $1000 or more.
 

BardicHeart

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Simply put: Is there any way to get around having your (mine, in this case lol) real name be publicly available when publishing a game, particularly a game that has already been attached to this profile? Because if I publish the game in question as a commercial one, even under a new nickname or company name - a quick search of that game's name will reveal my real name and tie it to this one within two to three searches (publisher name on Greenlight (presumably real name alongside it) -> Game's Name -> This current name).
As someone already said you need to see a lawyer, specifically a lawyer that deals with incorporation.  If you live in the US you could file for incorporation in I *think* its Nevada or Rhode Island (but check with a lawyer because its been awhile and I'm not sure if I remember which states correctly).  You do not have to be a resident to file there.  You'll want to file as an S corp which is the simplest form of incorporation above an LLC.  This establishes a legal identity, including for tax purposes, that you can use to purchase game assets (which takes care of the licensing issue), and so forth.  The advantage to filing in these two states is that their corporate laws do not require the names of the operating officers to be disclosed, meaning you could be the sole operating officer and nobody can look that up (at least not without a court order for disclosure).  That's about as close to legal anonymity as you'll get that I know of.  Its not cheap, you'll spend around $500 filing, more if you have a lawyer do it for you (you don't need to you can get a kit with all the paperwork and a guidebook on what you need to do, its not terribly complicated if you just want it to be basically a sole proprietorship).
 

Marquise*

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I'm Canadian.  I once read on the internet what was a LLC.  And I wished I could do that.  I'm self-employed and sometimes while trying to explain what I do for a living.... since I'm pluridisciplinary, you can see where it gets weird.  Kinda... Yeah I am a 2D artist and made that amount by sculpting and playing music and being a mime. o_O

XD
 

BardicHeart

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Yeah, so far as I know Canada doesn't have an equivalent to an LLC.  I'm not at all familiar with their laws regarding corporations but I would assume some of the basics are similar, being that it is its own legal identity (meaning you can do business in a corporate name and not directly involve your own) and you get some sort of tax ID which banks and things like PayPal can use (handy if you want a separate PayPal ID for taking donations, payment, etc.).  Again, all I can say is you should consult with a lawyer that deals with incorporation there, they'd know best.

That said, and given that pretty much nothing is going to give you absolute anonymity, why not just set up a website with your own domain name, keep the registration private and do business that way?  You wouldn't have to give out your personal information and it would give you a basic level of privacy.  For example I have my own domain name and a web site hosted on a commercial server (have had it for almost 20 years now), the registration is private (meaning you can't look up my phone number or address or anything) though I don't try to keep my identity secret I just keep the personal information out.  Would that not meet your needs?
 

Marquise*

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Indeed!  That would meet my needs!

But I have no idea how to proceed somehow and what are all the legalism/tax/security risks behind them.  When I took courses with our local development business place, it focused a lot on street shops and about 1% was about internet (I know they would like to encourage local development and job making as opposed to just something digital... but...)

And what was about internet was how not serious business were having Gmail or Yahoo or internet provider addresses and maybe that crash course where I don<t recall if they went on, "This is a mouse!".  I<m pretty sure they didn't got the PayPal and the SSL stuff ^^;

Off course, when I try to find something on the internet, I fall on all the commercial gimme your money and we'll start you up!  So I get the chills a lot because for example, each time I want to publish I need to learn what a Legal Depot is and how to get IBSN numbers and keep my right for myself to not buy IBSN from companies that have rights over my own material and can make movies, games and toys out of it without giving me my cut or asking my opinion etc...  So...  Yeah I envy you folks who found the right solution.

Me, I've kinda been stolen since I've been 9...  :/  That builds up a confidence when it is time to go into business!  I really start from top bottom do I? ^^

It might be another subject, but what do we need to look when we try to take that leap as in having the right website and setting a commercial account?
 
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BardicHeart

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Indeed!  That would meet my needs!

But I have no idea how to proceed somehow and what are all the legalism/tax/security risks behind them.  When I took courses with our local development business place, it focused a lot on street shops and about 1% was about internet (I know they would like to encourage local development and job making as opposed to just something digital... but...)

It might be another subject, but what do we need to look when we try to take that leap as in having the right website and setting a commercial account?
Okay several different questions here I'll cover what I can.

Commercial internet hosting, that part is fairly easy.  Pick a commercial host (I use Network Solutions, but there are a lot of them out there, pick one you like) and sign up for a commercial account.  For example, mine costs me about $140 per year.  For that I get 300 GB of server space, unlimited bandwidth, up to 3000 individual POP3 mail boxes, up to 25 MySQL databases, and a bunch of other stuff.  In other words, I get pretty much all the basic foundations I need to run as big a commercial site as I might want and that's what you want.  It comes with Word Press support built in (all the basics for it are pre-installed and pre-configured).  It also does automatic backups of my site and my databases and I can store multiple backups to restore from which has proven to be pretty handy at times.  I built my site myself using Word Press and its various plugins, right now I'm just using free stuff but there are a few I've found I really like and I may pay for the pro versions of those in the near future.  The short of this is, its not hard for you to put up your own commercial site with your own forums, galleries, etc.   BTW, those email accounts all use your domain name; i.e. all my emails are something@bardicheart.com which is kind of nifty.

Now if you want to sell stuff directly through your site PayPal has some features to help you there, contact them directly and ask about that.  Some commercial web hosts will also give you basic help for free or for a fee (usually pretty big) they'll build a store for you.  But I'll warn you, the price tag for custom commercial stores is usually pretty high in my experience.  Last I asked about one I was given a quote for $20,000.  To which I replied, "Not happening, for that amount I'll go get a degree in it an do it myself!"  But between Word Press and PayPal you can actually build a functional basic store to get started with.   You can also do what I'm doing now which is selling through other vendor sites.  They get a cut of the retail price but they also worry about all the tech stuff and advertising for me leaving me free to focus on creating... that works for me.

ISBNs... why do you feel you need these?  I sell stuff through vendor sites now and never used them.  Of course I'm dealing purely in digital content, and for that they just aren't needed.  Only thing I've ever seen that needed them were print books, and if you're going that route you should also probably be working with a publisher who can/will take care of that.

As far as taxes, you'd have to check Canadian law since that's where you live.  But here in the US I simply report the income as personal income.  Essentially I'm operating as a sole proprietorship which doesn't require any incorporation.  I think, but may be wrong, you can do the same in Canada.

One of the biggest problems you'll face doing business online is getting customers to your site.  That's another reason I go through vendor sites.  Like I said, rather than spending a lot of time and energy trying to advertise my site, figuring out how to do that, etc. I just use vendor sites that are already doing that.  They get a cut of my sales, I get a ready made market.  So depending what you want to sell, look for vendors that specialize in that and don't limit yourself to just one if you don't have too.  For RPG Maker games, right now Steam seems like one of the better options, but I'm far from an expert since I have yet to publish my first game.  I'll let others who have speak on that, someone with actual experience is going to have a much more valuable opinion than mine.

As far as VATMOSS, that's primarily a EU / UK thing.  Doesn't affect those of us in the US and so far as I know isn't an issue in Canada either.  Even if you are in the EU, so far as I know nothing stopping you from using a commercial host based in the US and thus still keeping the domain registration private.

Hope that helps
 

Marquise*

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Yeah really!  It demystify a lot of things in my head (also helps me plan ahead with vocabulary I don't have.)

Tough, ISBN is real important when/while publishing.  I don't know why digital media is supposed to be a must while editing, but while doing research anywhere in the world at any time it helps to not have to get (as it happened to me once) 2 books of the same name, having similar subjects?  Also, it is pretty fast reference.  Call me an oldie (which I am), but I've been working in municipal libraries and as long as the wheel isn't broken, I won't fix it with a wing :} even if flying helps avoiding the traffic and parking a vehicle on the roof prevent car theft.  XD  (Yeah I wish it was that simple thought!)

Well, I can start my own researches now.  When I'll be ready to sell, it'll HELP a lot!  ^^
 

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