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Tim Ingham-Dempster

Start-up statistics

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Hi, Does anyone know where I can find some numbers for start up games companies in the UK. I need things like average monthly sales volumes and profits. I've been looking for ages and can't seem to find anything, Cheers

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nothing on here?

http://www.gamesindustry.biz

it has a directory of games companies, not sure it has the stats. you're looking for though.

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What exactly do you mean by "game company"? Are you talking distributors, publishers, console manufacturers, developers? If developers then casual/mmo/boxed retail? - all hugely different in their operations.

As for the lack of availability of figures that is because developers and publishers don't release that sort of information. The only thing that the industry charts show is the relative positions of game titles sold in the UK (many of which aren't made by UK companies) but not the units sold. As for other financial information you would need to search out their accounts at Companies House.

There is some sales data available at http://www.vgchartz.com/ but (I believe) it is just for US sales and I do not know how accurate the data is. There are companies out there that track sales of games but they charge a lot of money for the data.

[Edited by - Obscure on May 13, 2008 1:32:07 PM]

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In the US we have EDGAR, which digitally transcribes corporate filings required under the SEC. Those filings usually contain financial data about a corporation and break down to quarterly and annual financials. That seems to be the kind of information you're looking for.

There are small business exceptions to the SEC filing requirements, most notably Regulation D. However, some state Blue Sky laws require public disclosure/filings of certain financial information when companies actively seek investors. This includes small businesses and start ups that seek investments over a certain amount.

Companies House is a safe bet for companies doing business in the UK. You can run company searches here. I haven't paid for reports through there, so I'm not sure if the financials are as thorough as what you'd get from US company filings through EDGAR.

[Edited by - madelelaw on May 13, 2008 2:21:50 PM]

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Sorry, I should have been clearer. I am looking for info on developers, mainly contract and freelancers. I know that this information isn't going to be easy to come by but I thought there might be some industry wide averages or something, maybe not. As a bit of background, I'm just about to graduate and am setting up a small games company. I'm a mature student and I've been programming games for years (though not professionally). My university has a great incubation scheme which will remove most of the overheads. I need to present a business plan and I am trying to do some sales forecasts. I was hoping to base them on more than guess-work, but I suppose I might not have much choice. Thanks for all the help - Tim

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> I need things like average monthly sales volumes and profits.

Sales information and cost structure are the kind of information companies keep confidential. Large public corporations typically show aggregated numbers that have only meaning for assesing the company's financial health and its management's performance; I'm not convinced you will find the information you seek from their financial reports. The way around this is to buy POS (point-of-sale) data from sources like NPD TechWorld; that's not cheap, btw.

The industry rule-of-thumb for development costs for a AAA project is around US$10K per man-month. Maybe you can find a project post-mortem with team size and timelines precise enough to estimate the cost structure and hence the profits.

Hope this helps.

-cb

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Quote:
Original post by Tim Ingham-Dempster
Sorry, I should have been clearer. I am looking for info on developers, mainly contract and freelancers.
You mean a programmer working as a contractor for other commercial software developers or an indie developer making small downloadable games and selling them over the net?

You say you want to set up a small company. How small, doing what sort of games on what formats?

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I'm mainly looking at working as a contractor or a freelancer for other developers. When we can get enough work doing that to pay the bills then we will look into doing our own stuff as well. As for size, currently its just me and potentially two friends, though they are undecided at the moment. The type of games will be more or less whatever we get paid to make, although when we start developing our own games we are looking at casual and educational sectors. Format will be mainly PC with a possibility of doing some XNA work for the 360. We're looking mainly at flash and java based web games to begin with. Sorry it takes me a while to reply by the way, my internet access from home is somewhat sporadic.

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Every business guide plan out there says, "do your executive summary last" (the bit at the front that summarises the whole report). I don't quite agree.

I think you should do this first as an outline of what your company is and what your company goals are. Then do your business plan, and then completely rewrite the executive summary again once you're done.

The reason I'm saying this is because you need to have a good idea of exactly what you want your company to be, and writing it down stops it being a bunch of abstract ideas that you can't explain properly.

Just nailing down what you want to set out to do should be your first priority. Once you have, give us that summary and we can be more help.


On another note, I started out a while back with the same problems or the scale of the company. I wanted to be a development company with staff, full game contracts, etc …but few people are going to take a chance on a graduate. So I started off freelance, with the aims to larger and larger projects and bring in other freelancers when needed, then staff. I said as much in my business plan.

The pros to this are that you start getting money to pay off your basic survival costs, you gain experience for your CV/portfolio so you can get better jobs, and you make contacts with the people you work with, for or even against.

The cons are that you will have to start on the very bottom rung of work. I had to do some really poorly paid, uninteresting visualisation jobs. From there I got more interesting work that was poorly paid with overtime. You’ll have to get more than one job at once to have any kind of security and you have no time to yourself (same goes with when you’re a company with staff).

In the end, I got offered a cushy job with a good wage at a games company before my company was ready to take on a team contract. I suggest you skip my first few steps to that plan if you can :P

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