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4MBD

Breaking Even

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I am currently in the planning and research stage of setting up a new independent studio, and I was wondering whether most independent games manage to break even?

To give specifics, we're looking at a budget of around £10,000 (about $16,000) with revenue share as profit (no salaries). We have an investor willing to give us the money more or less regardless of the odds of success, but I would like to know what the chances of reclaiming that money are.

Does anyone know of any average sales figures for independent games?

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There are so many factors that go into the success of any game let alone just indies that there's high risk in making any game. It's a hit driven business just like music and movies. Just because you have a great product it doesn't guarantee success. Look at some successful indie titles and see what they've done in terms of creating a quality product and marketing and check out some of their development blogs to understand the amount of effort that went into these titles with no guarantee of a single penny in return. Good examples to check out are Braid and Super Meat Boy.

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[quote name='4 Minutes Before Death' timestamp='1297991090' post='4775651']
How much risk is in an indie game?
[/quote]
Three thousand, four hundred pounds. (Is risk measured in pounds?)
Less-snarky answer: a lot. Why bother asking? Do you want to do it, or not?

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Success as an indie depends on how good your game is, how good you are at marketing it and a huge amount of luck. Even if you do everything right people just might not like the game. Most indies don't make money until they have been at it for some time and have made several games (so people who buy one game have a reason to return and buy another). Some games get lucky and word spreads. These are the headline stories the media like to talk about but most don't have the luck.

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Plan your marketing up front. It's just about getting your name out there. If you can create hype around your game while it's still in development then you have a winner. Perhaps that's how to do it then, release it in phases.

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