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Business Plan

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Hello. I have some questions that I have not been able to find answers to and I humbly inquire, an inexperienced yet dedicated individual, as to how to begin in my new company. I have searched around and I either am not searching for the correct criteria or there are no previous questions as specific as mine. First I would explain my situation; I am a newbie designer in that I do the creative and conceptual design for games. I have many games in concept written, and now I have startup money to start my own indie company and I know a slew of experienced and certified game programmers ready for me to hire. Along with marketing professionals, financial consultants, and product managers. I will operate as CEO and the director of the Creative Development department. There are several departments in which I have categorized in attempt to organize a business plan. The Function Department - Marketing, Hiring, Human Resources, Financial, Business. Creative Development Department - The designers of the games. And I believe the Programming Department, Art Department, Sound Department are self explanatory. There is only one thing that I am having trouble on. That would be a business plan. I would ask anyone who would answer me several questions in which I need to understand before progressing and I will be grateful for any leads, tips, or information that one might be so kind as to share with me. 1. Is there a template for a Independant Video Game Company business plan in which I could use to get me started? 2. What are the main positions in which I need to hire to begin making games? I know several but do not want to hire the wrong positions. For example, level designer, tester, etc. Is there a list? If it's a more specific thing I will be specializing in RPGs, MMORPGs, and possibly FPS', Survival Horror, and Hack and Slashers as I write new material. 3. I have some business experience but this is a completely new venture for me. Is there anything I should look for? Any additional tips or information which would be beneficial? Thank you all very much.

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Most indies I've read about start very small; usually as a garage/bedroom developer deal, usually with one or two developers with very low overheads. I'm planning on going down that route myself within a year. But you sound like you're wanting to start a small studio, which is a whole level up in terms of costs. Unless you've got a good investor or a sizable pile of start up cash already you'll probably need publisher funding to survive (and then you're no longer indie).

If you're thinking of going the indie path, I highly recommend buying a copy of The Indie Game Development Survival Guide by David Michael. Heck, I'd go as far as saying it's mandatory: there's no valid reason I can think for you not to own this book.

I don't know if there's a good template out there for an indie business plan. As I'm working on my business plan myself, I'm also very interested if someone could point us to some good examples.

Best of luck!

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Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
Most indies I've read about start very small; usually as a garage/bedroom developer deal, usually with one or two developers with very low overheads. I'm planning on going down that route myself within a year. But you sound like you're wanting to start a small studio, which is a whole level up in terms of costs. Unless you've got a good investor or a sizable pile of start up cash already you'll probably need publisher funding to survive (and then you're no longer indie).

If you're thinking of going the indie path, I highly recommend buying a copy of The Indie Game Development Survival Guide by David Michael. Heck, I'd go as far as saying it's mandatory: there's no valid reason I can think for you not to own this book.

I don't know if there's a good template out there for an indie business plan. As I'm working on my business plan myself, I'm also very interested if someone could point us to some good examples.

Best of luck!


Thank you very much! I have startup money and a few interested in investing. I am considering incorporating and selling shares after I get some return.

My plans are expansive but they are relatively small to begin with. In the beginning the initial project or few projects (however many until I get enough return for the company to be reasonably self sufficient before I rely on investments and such) will be moonlit and the team will be very small.

Though I am a perfectionist on my planning so I want an adaptive and expansive business plan so I can be ready as the company (or corporation) grows.

I will definitely look into that book. I appreciate the advice greatly!

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Hi Ozzie,
I wrote about game business plans in the book "Secrets of the Game Business" and in FAQ 29 on my website. FWIW.
Tom

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Hi ya, my name's Andy and I have a web development business but we are morphing into a game development company. There are two business partners, another coder and a MD who manages the semantics and is involved with the ideas.

This is only my opinion so take it or leave it but advise given to us would suggest that it was the case.

First of all rushing into business head first with a team of people, massive over heads and the idea to make 'games' would be suicidal. Especially in such a cut throat market where publishers really have all the power and just massively top slice any profits.

What you need is a USP, what makes you different, what is your business going to offer that no other games company can. This article is very interesting http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/microsoft-games-studios-europe-part-1 it's from Microsoft Game Studios Europe and they get 500 games ideas a year but only commission 3!!! What is your game going to have that will stand out from the other 499 and is that going to get you into the top 3!

From this you will derive a company ethic and it is from this that your business plan will center around. Sony make electronic peripherals that are incredibly high quality and better than anyone elses and that ethic never changes. So what do you need to carry that out. Work from the bottom up. Start up small, work out what you need to get what you want not what everyone else does because else you will disappear into the background.

So what I'm saying is get an idea in your head, make sure its a good one, cost up how you will fulfill that idea and then make your business plan.

This is how we have done it. We have an angel very interested in our business who is very successful and is sure he can work with us and raise 2 million in order to get our first 2 products off the ground. You'd be an idiot if you think you could take on the games market with anything less.

I hope this helps, you are certainly doing the right thing by asking other people for advise.

Andy

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Quote:
Original post by hotpixel
What you need is a USP, what makes you different, what is your business going to offer that no other games company can.

Just to clarify, by "USP" you mean Unique Selling Point, correct? I don't think the acronym is well known on GDNet.

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Sorry, yes I do mean unique selling point (USP). The acronym has been flying round the office so much I didn't give it a second thought to actually say what it meant!

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You will probably come across far more acronyms when talking about business, especially IPR (Intellectual Property Right), which when I first heard it I just nodded and smiled politely. It's something that is protectable, in Nintendo's case it's their Wii controller, so no one else can copy it. Investors LOVE something protectable (which we have) and they are FAR more likely to invest!

IRR (Internal Rate of Return) this is how you work out how quickly an investor will make their money back, he/she will then work out the percentage of the business they want based on this figure.

You may or may not know this but I'm sure there are plenty of people that don't.

Andy

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Hotpixel: Very wise advice. No doubt I strive for innovation and to break tradition. Innovation, problem solving, and leadership are my only three talents.

I have pitched my ideas to atleast two local businessmen who were immediately willing to invest money into it because of it's uniqueness.

I research the the features of the games on the market to come up with new ones.

As writing is my hobby, I have written hundreds of stories that can be modified to fit as a game's story. I first look at the features and design the gameplay and what features set the game apart and then I weave the storyline in and add plot devices. Is this a good pattern?

I would love to hear any more advice or information you would be willing to share.
I will heed them well as you seem to be very experienced.



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In my opinion a decent story line is what most games lack. Final Fantasy VII really grabbed its audience with a tantalising story and has always been a good franchise because of it.

Obviously you don't want to give much away but you have identified that stories are what a lot of games lack so aiming at tackling the market from that angle is a good start.

I would suggest talking to lawyer about any IPR you may have on your ideas and perhaps locking it down before speaking to too many people that could potentially steal your ideas. Either that or make sure NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements) are signed when discussing your ideas. This could massively boost your investment potential.

Best of luck,
Andy

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