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EGDEric

Lower pay in exchange for %age of profits

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I'm doing budgeting for a game I'm working on, and I was curious about this idea: Are artists willing to work for less in exchange for a share in the profits, if so, how would that work? (i.e.: How does pay reduction convert to % of profits?)

 

If you were working for a new indie company, would you agree to a lower pay in exchange for a percentage of the profits after the game ships?

 

If so, how much less pay would you be willing to go for for this type of job? 75% your normal rate? 50%?

For 75% your rate, how much equity would you ask for?

What about 50% your normal rate? How much equity then?

 

Let's assume the company is comprised of just one developer right now; they have a website, a business plan, they seem organized, but in typical indie fashion, they're working from home.

Edit: Also assume that the game is supposed to ship in 2 years.

Edited by EGDEric

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Wise artists should interpret your offer as reduced pay in exchange for nothing, and refuse it not because they don't trust you but because expecting profits is an unreasonable risk: chances of turning a profit are slight and success depends mostly on others: what will the programmers and game designers accomplish in two years with the stuff they draw today? 

On the other hand, if you convince an artist to work for profit sharing you are hiring an optimist, and we all know how good at meeting goals and deadlines optimists are.

 

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On 7/30/2019 at 2:38 PM, EGDEric said:

I'm doing budgeting for a game I'm working on, and I was curious about this idea: Are artists willing to work for less in exchange for a share in the profits, if so, how would that work? (i.e.: How does pay reduction convert to % of profits?)

On long term projects? (as per your 2 year ship estimate) Probably not... I've done some art work for other people's games, usually a few pieces for people I know (some made it commercially, others didn't). Sometimes I will do very small projects just for a portfolio piece but these are done at my own pace and with the intent I'm doing it solely for my own portfolio so I would be making something similar regardless. I personally don't care about rev share or anything else because the likely hood in getting paid is slim to none unless you're dealing with a team that has the financial capacity to market their game, and there is enough % of revenue generated to even get paid. Since 'most' rev share models are NET and not GROSS it leaves little revenue to distribute once all costs have been accounted for assuming you're in the plus.

On 7/30/2019 at 2:38 PM, EGDEric said:

If so, how much less pay would you be willing to go for for this type of job? 75% your normal rate? 50%?

For 75% your rate, how much equity would you ask for?

What about 50% your normal rate? How much equity then?

If an artist is going to work for money there is enough work out there to just ignore your lower offer and spend that time with clients that can afford their services. When you're starting out you might take such deals, but I personally wouldn't. I would want 100% and forget the equity deal. Usually people offer equity because they have no money, but when you give away equity in your business it makes it harder to gain investment later on if your project pops-off.

For argument sake, If I took less than 100% I would have to see how much valve my art makes to your overall project and I would ask for equity in the business which owns the IP (the game being worked on). Even deals like % off the top of every sale. But regardless, equity deals are worthless unless the business has other ventures making money currently, or in the case the business has the ability to fully fund the marketing which is unlikely if they cannot pay for help to begin with. I stay far far away from such businesses and I get offers all the time as a programmer more so than an artist which I decline.

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