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Ricki80

"Hidden" ("Unsuspected") development costs?

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Hello
What would be the most "hidden" or "unexpected", "unusual", ("difficult to think about ahead" maybe even)...
We all know more or less about the graphics, programmers, musicians, sound guys, animators, voice actors etc. etc. But there are surely less "visible" but yet NECCESARY costs most people who did NOT yet gone throught the WHOLE process of producing and releasing THEIR OWN game might not know about or thought about.
I would like to name few and maybe even estimate the cost of each and i would like others to add their "tips" and experience regarding this.
1) Game testing - according to me a lot of this is overshadowed and underestimated by regular development but you still need to test and "Debug" your game which costs time/money. I dont have experience with this so i dont know the cost
2) Getting approved by various "age" rating agencies like ESRB, PEGI, some australian one and others. This was a suprise for me, and altough its said its not necessary to get this rating, but in reality it practically IS NECESSARY since when you dont have it, some shops will simple refuse to carry your game or do something similiar to ignoring it. It was a shock to me, listen to it in some interview with some gamedev. You practially NEED it or NO shop will take your seriously... Is this true...? The COST for these ratings was also quite a negative suprise for me cause i think that for the big three (PEGI+ESRB+the australian one+ you should probably get even the german one (?) it i think like around 2 750 USD...
3) AFAIK even demos (not a current issue really) but even TRAILERS (!)  need (?) to be apoved (and pay for aproving). Is this true?
4) Steam admission fee - i think theres something there but its small, but i rather mention it.


Could someone elaborate more on these and add additional "hidden" costs that are not as "visible" or "easy to find/figure out" in advance?
Thank you
(Sorry for english, have written it in hurry)

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Just to clarify:

- You're self-publishing? On Steam? It's a PC game? 

- You need to market the game. Can't just put it on Steam and expect it to sell itself.

- You need a website to promote the game.

- Lawyer costs. You need a professional to advise you on contracts you'll be signing, and to advise you on end user license agreements and copyright/trademark protection.

- Business / registration costs. If you're in the US, you'll need to register your business with the local government for tax purposes.

- Taxation, tax preparation, accounting. 

 

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Y

6 hours ago, Tom Sloper said:

Just to clarify:

- You're self-publishing? On Steam? It's a PC game? 

- You need to market the game. Can't just put it on Steam and expect it to sell itself.

- You need a website to promote the game.

- Lawyer costs. You need a professional to advise you on contracts you'll be signing, and to advise you on end user license agreements and copyright/trademark protection.

- Business / registration costs. If you're in the US, you'll need to register your business with the local government for tax purposes.

- Taxation, tax preparation, accounting. 

 

 

Yes of course i know all of that :-). Anyone else has a tip? Especially about the rating systems...? I would need probably ESRB+PEGI+USK (german)+Australia+Russia (but didnt Russia used PEGI?). These should be the main, others are not that important.

 

Do i really need to get those in order to publish my game on steam...?

 

And is it true that i need to get reatings even for TRAILERS (!?) in order to release them?

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The thing most people seem to find surprising is the ratio of costs for successful projects.  Development tends to be about 1/3 of the cost, marketing is about 1/3 of the cost, preproduction and post-production support are both about 1/6 of the cost.

This holds at many scales. If you're doing a hobby project for a few years, with roughly the equivalent of $100K in your own private time, to be a success you should plan on paying out $100K in a careful marketing campaign, and expect to provide another $50K in your own private time to support the player and patch the game.  Hopefully you also invested the enormous time required before developing the game to ensure there is actually a market for the game, and it will have the ability to recover the costs you invested.

Similarly, if you've got $5M on development, expect $5M on marketing, $2.5M tinkering and experimenting and doing market research before development takes off in earnest, and another $2.5M supporting players, issuing patches, etc.

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Thanks. With the postproductions cost you mean what...? - patches ok, but "supporting players" you mean what? Steam does customer support, correct? Im having in mind smaller indie project, i cannot think much about additional costs in regards to postproduction for a small "cheap" (small budget) indie game (not online or multiplayer)...?

Thank you

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Steam does customer support for their platform (managing user accounts, transactions and refunds), not for your game.

Many problems and situations can arise after the launch, that would require time (and money). Some are problems (your game breaking in a specific hardware configuration, that you need to test and fix), some are things requested by users that are reasonable (like accessibility options) or even new cool ideas that arise after launch (like DLC or new game modes). Some are simple customer support (time spent explaining things in forums).

Also, the business cost (as cited by Tom Sloper above) doesn't end when the game launches. It probably gets higher.

So, even if you don't need to do many things after launch, it's reasonable to factor them to your cost, because many things can happen, and it's a good idea to be prepared.

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