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# What country in is best/cheapest for developers?

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Say you wanted to quit your job and just live on the proceeds of game sales such as in the Android store and the iPad store. As a game developer you could potentially live anywhere in Europe so the best place would be somewhere:

1) Where the price of living is very low.
3) Where cost of replacing laptops etc is low.
4) Where it has good dental care.

Where do you think the best place to live is? BTW Since I live in the UK I am entitled to live anywhere in Europe.
Possibly other places I could live with a 6 months working visa.

What do you think?
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Why?

If I had the option to move, I'd stay right where I am. I don't want to give up friends and conveniences and customs and my tangible assets I couldn't bring with me.

If I had to move somewhere, it would not be somewhere cheap. The most desirable locations have a tendency to become expensive.
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Just be like Jason Rohrer. Dude lives on $14,000 a year. [url="http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2008/future-of-video-game-design-1208"]Here's a super interesting article about him.[/url] 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites [quote name='et1337' timestamp='1353820724' post='5003886'] Just be like Jason Rohrer. Dude lives on$14,000 a year. [url="http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2008/future-of-video-game-design-1208"]Here's a super interesting article about him.[/url]
[/quote]

This guy reminds me of David Thoreau's "Walden". I don't know if I could enjoy that kind of lifestyle though. It seems a bit miserable.
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[quote name='slayemin' timestamp='1353854945' post='5003941']
[quote name='et1337' timestamp='1353820724' post='5003886']
I would stick with the cleanest and most modernized country in the world (Japan), which also provides the fastest Internet (the country average is only #2 in the world, but that is only because of old people (Japan has the longest life expectancy of any country), which is far less common in South Korea—the [i]actual[/i] average when considering only the people who are relevant makes Japan #1 by a very huge margin—here is my home connection (just $30 per month): [img]http://www.speedtest.net/result/686917675.png[/img] (South Korea may be #1 on [i]average[/i], but this connection speed is hard to find there, yet very easy to find in Japan)). Also your paycheck won’t be like in Thailand or India (as mentioned by frob). For game programming I think you won’t find anything below$65,000 per year, and if you do then it’s your own fault. It’s [i]easy[/i] to find jobs closer to the $90,000 mark. And contrary to popular belief you won’t be working 12-hour days etc., at least if you are programming games. Yes, that is common in Japan, but not so much inside the game industry. You hear about those people a lot but they are working in other types of programming such as finance or general-use software. I have never had to work overtime here except on 2 days when the deadline was close and a new bug was just found. Otherwise, for example now, I work 7 hours and have 1 hour for lunch, and then go home. It’s [i]normal[/i]. If you still aren’t convinced, I have 2 words that nobody can resist: ?????. L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites [quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1353901339' post='5004093'] Contrary to popular belief there are very cheap places here in Japan, even if you are in a big city such as Tokyo. Other big cities such as Osaka are literally half the price of Tokyo. So in Osaka you could get [b]25 square meters for about$400 per month[/b], and that is inside the city. If you are willing to live a bit of a way from the station you could get the same for $220 or so. [/quote] That is US 16' * US 16', which is smaller than most hotel rooms. Japan has outrageous food prices ($120 USD for a watermelon, $45 per LB for grapes ?! ) Japan is #3 on the list of most expensive country to live in the world Japan is #9 most expensive rent Japan is #5 in food costs 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites If anyone is thinking of Australia ([i]Europeans can easily get short term "working holiday" visas[/i]), I'd definitely recommend Melbourne ;) It's been ranked #1 most liveable city in the world a few times... but also #8 for highest cost of living... Living in the inner city, you could easily spend 1/3rd of your income on rent -- if you want to live cheaply, you'd have to live further out and put up with a 1 hour commute to work.[quote name='Shippou' timestamp='1353906951' post='5004113']That is US 16' * US 16', which is smaller than most hotel rooms.[/quote]Yeah, my inner-suburbs flat is probably 50+ sqm, which is comfortable, but I pay about 4 times L.Spiro's quoted price, at a distance of 5km from the city centre (15 minute train to work). I actually rented a tiny ~25 sqm flat in inner Sydney once, and that was$300 per [b]week[/b]...[quote name='Shippou' timestamp='1353906951' post='5004113']
Japan has outrageous food prices ( $120 USD for a watermelon,$45 per LB for grapes ?! )
[/quote][quote name='slicer4ever' timestamp='1353867828' post='5003973']
don't know who you talk to about india, but a guy on another forum i frequent is from india, and he's constantly bitching about how everything is 2-4x the cost of what it'd be in the us/uk.[/quote]Things that aren't common locally are going to be expensive anywhere.
How much is a traditional curry, the kind that the locals eat, in Japan or India -- probably extremely cheap. Edited by Hodgman
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I have to second Hodgman.
The rent is actually a very good deal considering what you get, and remember that you have to compare that to the actual income you would be making. As I said, my room in Thailand was about the same size as mine now but only $80 or so per month, but the salary was also much lower (it was higher than average for the country back then but certainly not comparable to anything you will find in Europe, Australia, America, or Japan). If you are not satisfied with 25 square meters you can always find bigger places. My friend lives in the same building as myself and has a 30-square-meter room, which would in Osaka be about$410 if close to the station, $230 if not. Not satisfied? There is a place in Shinagawa in which I am interested which has 91.20 (the brochure is sitting next to me) square meters, 32nd floor (amazing view!!), and costs$1,700 per month. But Tokyo is expensive and Shinagawa is one of the most expensive prefectures in Tokyo, so the same thing in Osaka would probably be only $637.50 per month. And all the prices I have listed include utilities, maintenance, etc. And as for food prices, again, what Hodgman said. But the bit about grapes is flat-out wrong. I buy grapes a lot and they never cost me anything significant—maybe 1 or 2 dollars for a quarter of a pound. While there are Japanese grapes, they taste the same or actually better than standard grapes, so I wouldn’t complain. But the main point is that rare foods cost more and local foods cost less. Do you honestly think the price of watermelons applies to standard foods prices? I pay the exact same amount for McDonald’s as in France (though about 2.5 times as much as in Thailand). A bentos package of rice, fish, noodles, and some side things I don’t even know what they are, costs less than a dollar. That’s a full meal for under a dollar. Overall the prices are exactly the same ratio as in any other country when compared to the actual income you would be making. Japan is #4 in per-capita income, but here again there are a lot of old people skewing the results. Besides, you are talking to someone who lives in the most expensive city in Japan. I have to deal with food prices, higher rent than in Osaka, etc. I am in the most expensive part of the “#3 most expensive country to live” and I can tell you that money is no problem. Very easy to save up, and I am the kind of person who spends literally thousands of dollars on LEGO® and other hobbies. L. Spiro 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites the OP point is to live as an independent developer tho. I am not sure Japan immigration will let people in and grant working visa if you are not locally employed. But I agree on everything else you've said about the advantages you get living in Japan, after spending some time there the rest of the world will look "barbarian" in comparison.... it has to be said tho that living in a 25sqm "house" won't be considered by many as living at all. Back to the OP's question, I don't think you can find a place with low cost of living in europe unless you start thinking "exotic" and look at places like Romania. Far east, remarkably Thailand is a much better fit from that point of view, but you'll have to struggle with visas there as well. Myself, I am going to move to the Philippines next year once my new game gets released.. the country is very friendly due to virtually no language barrier (pretty much everybody speaks english and english is the standard language in all banks, hospitals and so on), getting a visa is much easier, especially if you happen to be married to a local. Of course, quality of life is much lower than Thailand and not even comparable to Europe of Japan.. but things are REALLY cheap and 400$ should put you in a VERY nice and big house.

I probably think your best bet, if you want to stay in Europe, is to head north to Scotland.
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[quote name='kunos' timestamp='1353929685' post='5004176']
Myself, I am going to move to the Philippines next year once my new game gets released.. the country is very friendly due to virtually no language barrier (pretty much everybody speaks english and english is the standard language in all banks, hospitals and so on), getting a visa is much easier, especially if you happen to be married to a local. Of course, quality of life is much lower than Thailand and not even comparable to Europe of[sic] Japan.
[/quote]
Trust me here before you make the biggest mistake of your life—DO NOT MOVE TO THE PHILIPPENES—DO NOT EVEN VISIT.
We have had some problems in the past few topics, but I am dead-serious when I say that you should not move there. I honestly could not forgive myself if you did. I have been to and sometimes even worked in every south-eastern Asian country there is, and I can just tell you that you need to stay away from the Philippines. Don’t go there even for vacation. If you had planned on taking a loved one there, now would be a good time to tell her that she is actually going to Cuba instead of the Philippines. Cuba is terrible but it is better than the alternative.

Speaking as someone who has been around the world, I am not joking when I say that I would take my worst enemy to the Philippenes before I would take a friend. Send your enemies there, not your friends. And if you plan on living there, you are an idiot.

L. Spiro
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1353935073' post='5004181']
[quote name='kunos' timestamp='1353929685' post='5004176']
Myself, I am going to move to the Philippines next year once my new game gets released.. the country is very friendly due to virtually no language barrier (pretty much everybody speaks english and english is the standard language in all banks, hospitals and so on), getting a visa is much easier, especially if you happen to be married to a local. Of course, quality of life is much lower than Thailand and not even comparable to Europe of[sic] Japan.
[/quote]
Trust me here before you make the biggest mistake of your life—DO NOT MOVE TO THE PHILIPPENES—DO NOT EVEN VISIT.
We have had some problems in the past few topics, but I am dead-serious when I say that you should not move there. I honestly could not forgive myself if you did. I have been to and sometimes even worked in every south-eastern Asian country there is, and I can just tell you that you need to stay away from the Philippines. Don’t go there even for vacation. If you had planned on taking a loved one there, now would be a good time to tell her that she is actually going to Cuba instead of the Philippines. Cuba is terrible but it is better than the alternative.

Speaking as someone who has been around the world, I am not joking when I say that I would take my worst enemy to the Philippenes before I would take a friend. Send your enemies there, not your friends. And if you plan on living there, you are an idiot.

L. Spiro
[/quote]

There's a [b][i]why [/i][/b]missing here somewhere.
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thank you for the advice.. I gather you had quite bad experiences there , I know it's very very easy to.

I have been there many times already and have been happily married to a filipina for 5 years and have been considering this move for ages now. But I totally understand your point of view , I did live in Shibuya for 2 years, 2003 and 2004, and I can understand what kind of standards you are accustomed to , thus your reaction. Edited by kunos
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There's a [b][i]why [/i][/b]missing here somewhere.
[/quote]
Why don’t you just point out where it is?

L. Spiro
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1353935591' post='5004185']
There's a [b][i]why [/i][/b]missing here somewhere.
[/quote]
Why don’t you just point out where it is?

L. Spiro
[/quote]

I think you misunderstood. I was interested in why this is such a horrible place on earth. Myself - I've never been, and thus don't know why.
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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1353935591' post='5004185']
There's a [b][i]why [/i][/b]missing here somewhere.
[/quote]
Why don’t you just point out where it is?
[/quote]

The why that is missing is "why not philippines", but I guess only idiots would question that? (or people like me, with almost no idea about philippines at all)
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[quote name='kunos' timestamp='1353935559' post='5004184']
thank you for the advice.. I gather you had quite bad experiences there [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img], I know it's very very easy to.

I have been there many times already and have been happily married to a filipina for 5 years and have been considering this move for ages now. But I totally understand your point of view , I did live in Shibuya for 2 years, 2003 and 2004, and I can understand what kind of standards you are accustomed to [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img], thus your reaction.
[/quote]
If you found a Filipino who really gives you her heart than you are both amazing and lucky. Most of my experiences were in Thailand which has a similar reputation, but the people I dated were really sincere, although ultimately not my type. There are sincere people in the Philippines just as there as sincere people in Thailand, but it really takes a mind to separate them and decide who is sincere and by how much.
If you are married to a Filipino then that is great, but I am still not convinced you should actually live in the Philippines. The fact that so many people want to get married just to leave the Philippines should be an indication of that.
If you can feel your wife’s devotion, hold onto that, but don’t ever ever ever for any reason ever go back to the Philippines. I have been there and done that and I can promise you nothing happy will come from it.

L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro
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[quote name='Olof Hedman' timestamp='1353935949' post='5004188']
The why that is missing is "why not philippines", but I guess only idiots would question that? [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] (or people like me, with almost no idea about philippines at all)
[/quote]
It really is difficult to explain. I have lived in poor countries and been to many countries on business.
Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. Among these, I have to strongly warn against any but Thailand.
Most of these countries don’t have a good gaming industry, but the Philippines are also very dangerous.
It’s true that the Philippines?’ wars usually don’t involved foreigners, but I see no reason to suggest the Philippines instead of Bangkok when both the risk is less and the wage will be higher.

Even if your wife is Filipino, I can’t recommend the Philippines over Thailand. It really is your best bet.

L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro
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well I'll give my brief point of view on the country.

PRO

- Beautiful scenery. Beaches (Philippines is a country made of islands, LOTS of them ), falls, caves, reefs.. you get it all
- "Constant weather".. 36 degrees, sun goes down at 6pm every day.
- Incredibly friendly people. You'll be interacting with people from the moment you land, heck, no, even before that on the plane . Yes they DO have an agenda and see the white foreigner as a walking wallet, but they are nice nevertheless.. just make clear you're not going to give anything to anybody and you'll quickly filter out the ones with the very short term agendas
- Cheap... this won't be like that forever and the prices go up every year, but it's still incredibly cheap to get basic needed stuff (house, power, internet)
- Language... they all speak english, at the very least they understand it very well, even the old ones, I really mean EVERYBODY. You know english, you're at home. Banks, hospitals, city halls, documents, it's all in english.
- Taxation system.. I won't get into the details.. but there is currently an "hole" in the system that is VERY convenient for non US foreigners making money from outside the country.. I'll let you fire google for more info on this one ;)

CONS
- Manila (the capital city) is to be avoided at all costs. There is nothing to see there and it is not representative of the country.. it smells bad, it's dirty and unsafe.. land there, rest one night and get out.
- Hard to find "luxury" stuff.. want a sports car? cool electric guitar? the latest tech toy? No luck.. the only option is to fly to HK or to Tokyo to get it and hope you wont have to bribe anybody on your way back in customs.
- Food. They are very proud of their food but compared to the countries around TH, VN, HK.. there's no comparison. Also there is no standard, after 7 years of regular flights there I am still wondering what an "Adobo" really is. The good news it that you can get good raw ingredients, so if you can cook yourself you'll be fine.
- Weather, if you dont like hot and humid.. not the place for you
- Corruption.. just learn to close one eye and live with it.. or get frustrated for life
- Slowness.. everything happens veeeeeery slooowww... take your time, enjoy the wait
- There are very dangerous areas, where kidnappings do happen frequently. Having said that.. more people die here in italy on car accidents than killed in the philippines by terrorist.. that won't stop me using my car to get to work won't it?
Edited by kunos
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Since I was originally giving advice to you on the Philippines I will follow up here.
Basically Bangkok has all of the same Pros but only half of the Cons.

Beautiful scenery, cheap, friendly people (it is “the land of smiles” after all), everyone speaks English, and there are holes in their tax/visa system that allow you to live there indefinitely even if you are really just a back-packer (though they have in recent years been trying to stitch up these holes).

While they have all the same Pros, they have fewer Cons.
For example luxury items are not as rare, although there are still some things you have to get overseas, and you still have to bribe customs. My past company had to bribe customs to get our Nintendo DS development kit—but then again at least there is game development in Thailand (and I can recommend a few companies if you need—tell them I sent you and you are a shoe-in) whereas there are literally none in the Philippines.
They are very corrupt and slow—they walk at half the pace of any other normal human being.
But on the other hand your overall lifestyle will be better, there are no dangerous areas in most places in Thailand (just don’t go south), and there are plenty of food options for Westerners. Luckily for me, I love shrimp and noodles, so there was always a menu option for me no matter where my coworkers wanted to go. But all major food chains do exist there as well so you can still pick up McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, MOS Burger, etc. if you want to stick to a Western diet (well, MOS Burger is Japanese but anyway).

However there is one last factor if you have a Filipino wife.
Thai people actually do discriminate against Filipinos. On the one hand she would be viewed as prominent for being with a white man, but whenever she is alone she is likely to be subjected to a small amount of racism. Having lived in Thailand for 5 years I can tell you that there are some Thai people who really criticize Filipinos over matters even as trivial as how they pronounce certain words, including the word “Thai” itself. But they luckily are not the majority.

On the other hand you yourself would receive more racism in the Philippines than you would in Thailand. And in both countries you would be surrounded by people with stereotypical views on Westerners. Taxis will stop in front of you just because you are standing there, not because you waved them down. In both countries, people will view you as nothing but a source of money, and if you don’t speak the native language you [i]will[/i] get ripped off. Taxis turn off their meters when they see westerners and then take the longest route possible to said destination.
Even if you do speak the native language there are places that will charge you more just because you are Western. Go to the beach and the hotels have different prices for natives and for foreigners. My Laotian friends pretended to be Thai for the cheaper price.

But all of these things are basically true in either country. But I can tell you from personal experience that those places are nice to visit, but living there will drive you crazy. You will never be anything but a source of money in the eyes of the natives. No matter how long you live there, no one will view you as a resident. Even if you live there for 20 years you are always just a guest to them.

L. Spiro
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well.. just as I have been doing in the last 20 years.. if things don't work out, I'll move again
It's an endless search.. I do miss Tokyo and Japan and I can't wait to visit again, but living there as an indie somehow scares me to hell.
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