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Getting Financed

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1)A Game Project I was wondering how people get financed for their projects. I do understand that for the 1 and 2 party developers it`s pretty easy since their in the publisher or already known to the publisher(contacts & everything). But let`s say that I have a game project idea and even more, a solid engine capable of many great things and a tech demo to show what I can do now, plus designs for the game/project that I want to make using his money. How can someone get that kind of finance when your kind of an independent developer ? I do realise that most projects are financed via close-contacts, mostly through a network of connections and such, but how about the low-level developer with a promising future ? I must say that I once mailed some companyes and just telling them to watch my stuff and say how bad I am but never got a reply, so obviously e-mail doesn`t work on these kind of situations & companyes. PS:For an Add-on question, let`s go further and say that even a full game has been created, how can I get someone`s(a publisher) attention ? And I`m not talking about Pong nor Bomberman games here. 2)Sponsorship of any kind How or who are the people to get sponsored from in the industry ? For example I`m a student, the sponsor pays me while I`m school and after I get out I`ll work for him for 3 years or stuff like that. I Don`t have this kind of oportunity at my faculty so don`t point me there. Or some other kind of sponsorship, I need the money but I ran out of ideas...

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Nice, very interesting, thanks, but...


Budget funding or full price ? I don`t get it, who`s budget ? and full price on what ? and what is a budget game ? a game with no funding ? If that`s so, what is a budget publisher then ? since he doesn`t fund anything...

And What/Who is a/the VC ?

Well I see the point : you already have to have experience in the industry, but if anyone requires such a thing, how did they all started ? or you`d have to be in the industry since the begining ? That would mean that no new people can enter it... or have to have those relations & stuff.

Ok, if that sounds boring,I may ask a second question, if I have the game already finished, will a publisher think it`s a risky thing to just distribute it ?

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Original post by cippyboy
Budget funding or full price ? I don`t get it, who`s budget ? and full price on what ? and what is a budget game ?

In this context, a budget game is a game that was created with a relatively limited (read: small) budget, often self financed. It means that you don't get any 'formal' external financing, but use your own money, or throw together with some partners to develop the game. Most indie games are budget games.

Full price games are the typical industry strength AAA titles, that will cost you millions of Dollars. And unless you happen to have that kind of money on your personal bank account, you'll need to get third party financing for such projects.

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Original post by cippyboy
a game with no funding ? If that`s so, what is a budget publisher then ? since he doesn`t fund anything...

Someone who publishes, ie. promotes and sells your budget game. Here is a list.

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Original post by cippyboy
And What/Who is a/the VC ?

Venture capital. Forget about it for now.

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Original post by cippyboy
Well I see the point : you already have to have experience in the industry, but if anyone requires such a thing, how did they all started ?

Get a job in the industry, work your way up the career ladder. Once you have a few AAA titles under your belt, you can quit your job and create your own development studio.

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Original post by cippyboy
Ok, if that sounds boring,I may ask a second question, if I have the game already finished, will a publisher think it`s a risky thing to just distribute it ?

Yes, distributing a game is always a risk. There are always costs involved: production and manufacturing, marketing, promoting (ie. advertising), shelf space, support, etc.

It depends on the publisher though, and of course, it depends on your game. If you have Quake5 ready to package and sell, you won't have any trouble finding a publisher. But for a usually indie game, you won't get a publishing deal from one of the global players, even if the game is finished. You can try with an indie (ie. budget) publisher though, or you can self publish over the net.

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Self-publishing looks like an "if there`s no better way, better do this one, since we already have a game on"; How less do you get on that (copy units)? I don`t know what are the numbers on them but I`d guess their low.

The thing is that I`ve seen very bad games sometimes that either hit a blind/one-time public or are a complete joke to the genre/gamers. The question is : if those dudes could get a funding, why shouldn`t I get it ?

Want an example ? One of the few game companyes in my country : <Fun Labs>, made at least 3 games that I know of : US Most Wanted, Revolution, Secret Services, have you ever heard of them ? I thought so...

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Original post by cippyboy
Self-publishing looks like an "if there`s no better way, better do this one, since we already have a game on"; How less do you get on that (copy units)? I don`t know what are the numbers on them but I`d guess their low.

There is a huge (but crowded) market for indie games using either publishers or
self-publishing through the web.

Let's say a budget game takes roughly $10,000USD (including tools) for you to complete; We're talking about a hobby game by a team of friends, worked on for months on end. Some of the money would go to advertizing. If you sold it online for $10 per copy, taking in to account transaction fees, you only need to sell 1500 copies to become profitable. That is not an unrealistic expectation.

The PC indie game market is basically saturated. There's a lot of noise and a lot of junk. Try to avoid it since it is almost impossible to get noticed.

Indie Mac games have always been assured to make a profit since there are so few good games out there. Cell phone games are also extremely popular right now and will be for the near future.

Quote:
Original post by cippyboy
The thing is that I`ve seen very bad games sometimes that either hit a blind/one-time public or are a complete joke to the genre/gamers. The question is : if those dudes could get a funding, why shouldn`t I get it ?

There aren't a lot of people out there throwing out a few hundred thousand dollars just so you can try to make a game.

Browse the "Help Wanted" forum. Over the past year, there were an average of 45 new projects asking for help every week. A tiny budget of 10,000 per game would be almost $25 million per year. A budget large enough to give a reasonable chance of success would be over $2 billion per year. That kind of money isn't floating around.

Those groups probably got funding because (1) they already had experience, (2) they had good designs, (3) they worked hard at seeking funding, and (4) they were lucky. Most bad games don't even sell enough copies to be considered a joke. At least those games managed to get a bunch of sales.

Quote:
Original post by cippyboy
Want an example ? One of the few game companyes in my country : <Fun Labs>, made at least 3 games that I know of : US Most Wanted, Revolution, Secret Services, have you ever heard of them ? I thought so...


Three minutes of research on IGN about Fun Labs:
They started out on a project (Broken Balance) that was not critically reviewed that I can find, by a company started with experienced talent. Secret Service nor US Most Wanted don't look like they was critically reviewed, but they did get mentioned on IGN. Revolution had an IGN rating of 3.0 (very low) by only one press critic.

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Ok, 3, nice right ?

I actually asked if you heard of Fun Labs <without> searching IGN or anything else. It was like asking you if you played Unreal, would you search IGN for that ? I wouldn`t because I know and played most of them.

Ok, so the point is, you need to get lucky ?

And if they get more than 1500 copyes, how much could one make at maximum, like what`s the most famous prgoram that sold really good.

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Basically, unless you make a really revolutionary game, or an MMORPG, doing games for money is not worth it.

Mai bine te apuci de facut software la comanda pentru diverse firme.

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Is the PC market really saturated? Or just to get loads of sales? And is the Mac market really that much better - maybe I should port my projects, except then I'd have to buy a Mac...?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Revolutionary ? All the World War 1/2 games are nothing but revolutionary, and people just buy games based on a sure-seller strategy.

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Revolutionary doesn't mean that the game has to be about something that never happened before. A game about a common subject such as WW1&2 can be revolutionary if the gameplay is totally new and never done before (and good, of course).

But I am curious if you have any sources regarding how much money the indie developers make from WW1&2 related games..

[Edited by - Raduprv on January 10, 2006 5:39:34 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Have you Played Digital Devil Saga ? That game (actually 2 games) are a new world, totally unimagined, new gameplay, new everything; it`s the most original and believeable story I heard in the past 5 years.

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I am not really a gamer, so I didn't play it or heard of it. Do you have any link?

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I had a friend who financed his small business using credit cards and bank loans. He worked very hard and perfected his credit until he was able to get somewhere around 50,000 dollars worth of credit. It was quite surprising. He also said he could have gotten a lot more. It is something to look into. I read several articles on the subject. If you are interested I could probably find some.

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QzarBaron - that's all well and good but, if your project goes down the tubes, that's a helluva lot of debt to pay back (with interest for however long it takes to pay back) for nothing.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I wasn`t saying that a loan would solve, but something like donations or charity or something to raise money :D

Or I don`t know, a fast way to make money on the internet anyone ?
here`s my site : www.relativeengine.freegsm.ro ; I have suscribed to Google ads and make a couple of dollars, and maybe I make like 100$ in 3 months or so :))

(Anonymous is me-CIppyboy- I didn`t had the time to sign in)

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Hi,

You could try to work as a freelancer for websites such as "Rentacoder.com"
or "Guru.com", if you have a strong enough stomach for website programming and such.

You do catch game development related projects on those websites, but not as many as those that are web related. I've got this year a MMORPG sprite editor and a 3D color gamut space visualisation software using DirectX, but that's about it. Those 2 did help me with funding my firm through the dry months of starting to develop games (it's mobile game oriented), but they also ate very much of our time. The result was just a couple of mobile games ready to be shipped this month and a better place in the Rentacoder's top coder contest. (The initial funds for my firm came from my friends.)

For you, since your daily living costs should be lower as an individual, freelancing can prove to be a deep enough pocket to allow you to further develop the engine, perhaps to the demo stage. It did look promissing, so I do wish you best of luck with your enterprise. I assume here that you get a couple of friends toghether and form a team, accepting to work for free.

The other valid track is to get hired by Ubisoft or by Funlabs or by the newer firm that has appeared on our territory (and whose name I don't know) that has an ex-Microsoft exec in the person of a capable woman (whose name I also don't know) (they seemed serious enough, were implementing an artist-oriented visual shader builder that impressed me very much). This way you can get enough experience to evaluate your financial costs correctly. Trust me, 50K will only take you so far in 3D PC games.

As for getting real financing for a game, you need to have a really well thought of business plan. Unfortunatelly, Romania doesn't seem to have a Business Angels' network (correct me if I'm wrong!), and people who can afford to lose 500K usd/year are rather rare too, so I fear you might have to look for a foreign partner. That is both tricky and dangerous, so I can only suggest you the first 2 ideas with peace of mind.

If you have any questions related to the local game dev. or just want to talk, feel free to ask me directly.

Mult succes!

Tudor Tihan
[edit - typo]

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