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Do you make real money with games?

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Hi all, I am just wondering how many of all the people around here do make money with programming games. I''d like to distinguished between people who program/design/.. in their spare time and have another real job, those who program their own games full time and earn enough with that to support their life style (i.e. have their own company) and those who work for a games company. If it comes to me: I have anotehr "real" job in the IT-Business, but I design/program/.. a lot during my spare time. Up to now I either didn''t release my stuff or gave it away for free. As I recognized, that I spend a lot of (spare-)time with computers and can get things working well and fast, I asked myself "why not earn money with that". The first question then is of course: Is this possible at all?!? Thanks in advance! Cheerio, Selim

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I used to do it full time, then I took a job with a big games company, but you can make money in your spare time from your own games, not very easy (at all) to make enough to live off.
Making a few hundred dollars a month is possible, if you have a very good game and you market it well.

http://www.positech.co.uk

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Or you can sign a deal with a publishing company and make a couple thousand $$$ a month

[edited by - Mman on June 2, 2002 5:58:26 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Mman
Or you can sign a deal with a publishing company and make a couple thousand $$$ a month

[edited by - Mman on June 2, 2002 5:58:26 PM]


yepp, I was following that thread about dexterity too and had hard times to keep my slobber from flowing,..

But for my feeling the stated 1000-10000$ per month was a singularity and that was the reason for this "poll". I was hoping, that everybody on the forum here would reply to me "oh, yes, I earn many 1000$''s each month with my games and thus I''ve quit my 9-5 job". But it seems not to be the case (as expected).

I wonder, if I ever will get the money of VC++ back *grin*

Cheers,
Selim

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I make $-200 or so a month

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quote:
Original post by selim
But for my feeling the stated 1000-10000$ per month was a singularity and that was the reason for this "poll". I was hoping, that everybody on the forum here would reply to me "oh, yes, I earn many 1000$''s each month with my games and thus I''ve quit my 9-5 job". But it seems not to be the case (as expected).



Actually this level of income is pretty common in the ASP members-only newsgroups. I notice that very few of the highly successful indie developers ever post on this site. I think the reason is that this site is about game development, yet successful indies know that what gets you making $1000+ per month isn''t development skills -- it''s marketing and sales skills. Successful indies often identify themselves more as direct marketers than as game developers. My guess is that most of the people who post on this board are employees. It might be helpful to poll to see how many people here are full-time business owners.

If you do adequate marketing and still only see a trickle of sales (i.e. just a few hundred dollars a month), in my experience the likely cause is that you created a game that no one wants to own. Most of the time in such situations, I find that the developer never took the time to conduct even the most basic market research before developing the game to see if there was actually any strong demand from customers wanting to buy this type of game. In such a case, it''s usually best to cut your losses, abandon the product, and create something new that customers will want to own.

Since I''ve personally evaluated hundreds of indie game submissions this year from developers, it''s very clear to me that there are lots of developers making games that no one wants to own.

You don''t need to spend a dime to do some basic market research. The way I do this is to scour the major download sites and see what kinds of games are getting the most downloads. I talk to a lot of developers, so I also have a good view of what''s selling and what isn''t. Then I look for gaps -- those genres where customers are downloading lots of games, but the quality of the competition''s products is weak, so I know I can make a game that will get into the top 10%. You have to make your game better than the competition in some way, or your game will never stand out from the crowd.

Because most indie developers don''t do even this much research, they end up making games that are no better (usually worse) than what''s already on the market, often in a genre that''s extremely overcrowded. So it''s no wonder they can''t get their games to stand out.

I like to use the expression "no entitlement" -- this means that if you make a game that no one wants to own, you''re not entitled to reach a decent level of sales. I know that''s a bit harsh, but in my experience, targeting the right market is about 80% of the success of a product.

So basically, if you want to make a game that earns $1000+ per month, it''s important to find the hungry customers who aren''t being satisfied by the competition, and make a game for them.

Steve Pavlina
Dexterity Software
www.dexterity.com

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Hey steve, me and a friend recently started a new project. We're fairly certain it would sell well, but it's pretty much a niche market, would you suggest making a game that is in a known market or go out on a limb and try a new genre? Like to here your opinions.

[edited by - caffeineaddict on June 14, 2002 1:51:16 PM]

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quote:
Original post by caffeineaddict
Hey steve, me and a friend recently started a new project. We''re fairly certain it would sell well, but it''s pretty much a niche market, would you suggest making a game that is in a known market or go out on a limb and try a new genre? Like to here your opinions.



I''m afraid I don''t have an answer to such a general question. The answer would depend on how good the implementation is.


Steve Pavlina
Dexterity Software
www.dexterity.com

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Just another question. If it''s pretty much a new genre, how do you judge how the implementation is if there''s nothing to benchmark off of. Do you just look at how good it is to play, how easy it is to play, graphics etc. ? Thanks for you''re feedback, and I do appreciate your involvement here as a publisher giving advice to indie developers.

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quote:
Original post by caffeineaddict
Just another question. If it''s pretty much a new genre, how do you judge how the implementation is if there''s nothing to benchmark off of. Do you just look at how good it is to play, how easy it is to play, graphics etc. ? Thanks for you''re feedback, and I do appreciate your involvement here as a publisher giving advice to indie developers.



Three things mainly:
1) The game must be fun.
2) The game must be marketable.
3) The game must provide solid gameplay value for the player.

If a game isn''t fun, we won''t publish it no matter how nice it looks. If there''s no market for a game, even if the game is fun, we''re not going to be able to generate decent sales for it, so we''ll publish a more marketable game instead. Lots of clones have this problem -- they just don''t stand out from the competition. Lastly, some games provide too little gameplay value (i.e. they''re fun at first, but after 30 minutes of play, you feel you''re done and want to try something else).


Steve Pavlina
Dexterity Software
www.dexterity.com

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Hi Steve,

I just wanted to express my thanks for all the detailed and valuable information! It helps a *lot* to get these information, which give us an insight into the business world of games!

You have mentioned ASP. Is it worth to become an ASP-member? Where do I get more information about ASP (What, where to apply, benefits, costs, etc.)?

Thanks again!
Cheers,
Selim

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Yes, I definitely think joining the ASP is worthwhile. I''ve been a member since 1996, but I didn''t really become active in it until I started focusing on shareware marketing in 1999. Then I served as VP for a year and President for a year. I''m still a member today because there''s no way I can ever say I''ve "mastered" all there is to know about shareware marketing. New distinctions are always being made. It''s well worth the $100/year if you take advantage of it.

The ASP''s private newsgroups are probably the biggest benefit; second would be the newsletter. The $100 dues acts as something of a filter. If people are only mildly interested in shareware marketing, they won''t bother to join. So you end up with a group of people that are very committed. Pretty much every question asked gets many useful answers, as there''s a good expert-to-newbie ratio. Plus the semi-privacy of the group allows people to post more freely about how their business is doing. Everyone posts using their real name, for instance, not handles. This morning one member posted about how his sales changed as the result of experiementing with different prices -- interesting stuff you don''t often see anywhere else.

I''d say there are probably around 50-100 game developer members in the ASP. The most notable is probably Scott Miller. He posts in the ASP newsgroups on occasion.


Steve Pavlina
Dexterity Software
www.dexterity.com

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Granat and Steve,

thanks again for the help!

Cheers,
Selim

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In todays advance 3D game world, is there any chances of people buying good 2D games. I''m mean by games like puzzles etc.

please reply.

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quote:
Original post by harishjs
In todays advance 3D game world, is there any chances of people buying good 2D games. I''m mean by games like puzzles etc.


Im guessing you are new around here, as we talk about this extensively. Yes, 2D games sell quite well. But they have to be good, and you have to make a good effort to market it. In the thread "Article: So You Want to Start a Game Dev Co?" Steve mentioned that "Perhaps 4-5 months after its release, Dweep was bringing in a sustainable $2500/month". Granted this was a few years ago, but this segment of the market hasnt changed much in the last few years. I think the full price retail market has changed considerably, but the shareware market has been a lot slower in following current trends.

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I''m making a 3d racing game which will I think follow the ideals of something like mariokart: fast, fun, emphasis on multiplayer to keep playablility lasting.

Does anyone know what the level of quality is in amateur racing games, and what the demand is for them? And also from this sample feature list, does it sound cool to you guys:

multiple people on same PC (up to 4 players I assume)
multiple monitors supported (up to 4 players per monitor with sufficient hardware - so 8 players on 1 PC not unreasonable!)
network and other multiplayer modes including cross-networking i.e an IPX network linked to a user with a modem.
large number of maximum players (as many as network lag allows - hopefully at least 32)
exciting fun cars, probably powerups and maybe weapons.
large level selection ie 20-50 levels, including series. + level creator
focus on multiplayer ie internet with clans/leaderboards of top times
reasonable 3d graphics e.g bump-mapping, transparency, specular lighting, shadows + maybe nighttime with headlights as dynamic lights, but able to run on pretty much anything over about 250MHz.

Can''t provide screen shots, detailed inventory as in very early development stages, just wondered if this sounds like it stands a chance of getting of the ground commercially. I''d be happy to make £1000 in total from it (approx $1500 I think) in about a year. Is that likely (I have 3 months to make it so that''s how much I''d make as a mar-man!)

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Don't want to be negative (or more negative than normal) but why are you asking us what the quality of the competition for your game is? Why haven't you gone out an downloaded all the shareware racing games and reviewed them for yourself?

Just because someone on here thinks a game is great you may not agree. The game they talk about might be a different style of game to yours. You need to look at the competition and make your own decisions.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

[edited by - obscure on June 24, 2002 6:50:43 AM]

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Har!

Selim just for you:
"oh, yes, I earn many 1000$'s each month with my games and thus I've quit my 9-5 job".
(Yes, but I never had a different job...)

And I am proud to be not an ASP member (anymore).
Actually I am thinking of joining it again, mainly because Steve seems to believe so much in them.



[edited by - Jester101 on June 25, 2002 1:08:27 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Jester101
And I am proud to be not an ASP member (anymore).


Curious what you meant by that. Did you have some problem with the group?

P.S. How do you get signatures to work in here. I entered one but it never shows up (or does that not work, and everybody just copies and pastes their signature every time they post)

[edited by - LordKronos on June 25, 2002 2:10:28 PM]

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The ASP is really great, i''m a member and the resources they have are well worth the money. One caviat, the ASP is not like gamedev.net the majority of the participants on the newsgroup are not game developers. If your working on your first game you''ll probably get better support here at gamedev.net. However if you''ve compleated or nearly completed a game that you expect to sell the ASP will pay off big time.

There are a number of successful independant game developers who are very friendly and will give you all kinds of tips on what marketing methods work and what don''t. There are also a number of oppertunitys for promotion of your game though services offered to ASP members at a discount.

We here at gamedev.net have great support for folks developing games, but we are pretty poor at supporting people who are marketing and selling them. The ASP fills this void so that budding game development studios can learn from those that have gone before thme and stand on the sholders of those who are allready successfully creating and selling games online.


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Hi Jester!f

thanks for the information! So, there is light at the horizont,.. you just have to have enough patience and pay attention to quality. Its good to know, that one _could_ have success (depending on various matters like quality, marketing, uniqueness, etc,..)


quote:
Original post by Jester101
Har!

Selim just for you:
"oh, yes, I earn many 1000$''s each month with my games and thus I''ve quit my 9-5 job".
(Yes, but I never had a different job...)

And I am proud to be not an ASP member (anymore).
Actually I am thinking of joining it again, mainly because Steve seems to believe so much in them.



[edited by - Jester101 on June 25, 2002 1:08:27 PM]


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