How to make video games for a living ?

Ideas and discussion about publishing and distributing your games

Post » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:10 pm

Hello everyone !

I seriously consider making video games for a living, but to be honest I don't really know where to start... :-/
I mean, I have a lot of ideas for simple mobile games and more ambitious projects, and I'm not really worried about "making" the games, but I don't know what I should do to make money out of it.

I think I should start with simple mobile games to practice and gain self-confidence, but I don't know how to live on this...
I tried to learn more about AdMob and such, but it's hard to know what you can expect from this, and apparently unless you have millions of players (or a lot actually clicking the ads) the incomes are pretty low... :-/

Have any of you managed to live on his/her creations and would agree to advise me ?
Furthermore what should I do to protect my games from plagiarism and such ?

Thanks a lot for reading, have a nice day ;-)
Hello !



I'm Steven, a 24 years old French graphic designer and programmer, and it's been 4 years since I started using Construct 2.
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Post » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:29 am

Message: Sonable can only post plain text URLS until they have 500 rep. 1 URLS modified. Why?
Hey, I thought I would throw in my two cents on this, though I don't make games for my job, indie dev is just a hobby for me.

Making a living from indie games with no experience in the games industry is like climbing Everest backwards in just your underwear - damn near impossible. I don't say this to put you off, just to be realistic.

If you're going to make simple mobile games and publish them yourself - the only way you'll make a living is if it goes viral and has an original/creative/addictive enough mechanic to keep people playing. Even studio games fail at this sometimes because the market is so oversaturated.

My advice would be to look at the http://www.truevalhalla.com blog. Matthew makes HTML5 games and licenses them to different mobile publishers and game portals, these kind of licensing deals give him a regular income, though as you will see, they are declining and he has had to concentrate on other things to maintain his income. It's still very inspirational to see it CAN be done.

For more complex titles like strategy/rpg/adventure, most indie developers will save money from another job, e.g. software development, to have enough to support themselves for a year. They then design a game, code it, start marketing it, build a community and audience, test it, polish it and then release it via Steam, GOG, iOS, Android, whatever the chosen platform is.

If it's a good game and you have marketed correctly, you will make some initial sales - hopefully enough to move onto your next project straight away. These sales will drop off quickly and you'll get some occasional spikes through Steam sales or DLC over the next 12 months.
(It's key to note they will do this in a team of at least two people, doing it solo will double the time - 2 years at least. It's a lot of work, not just the coding, art, sound and music but also the business admin, marketing, networking, distribution, playtesting etc).

This topic comes up a lot on the r/gamedev subreddit. 95% of the community there program their games in small chunks on evenings and weekends and hold down a full time job. This is a super slow way to do it but you don't have to worry about money and if the game is viable, you could make a Kickstarter to raise enough to go full time on it.

So there's my three bits of advice - licensing deals, saving up or kickstarter!
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Post » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:42 pm

Hello @Sonable and thanks a lot for your reply, your advises, and the link you shared, I'll take a look at it :-)

Honestly, it's exactly what I was worried about :-/ As you said, the market is so over saturated it seems really hard to get into the video games business, even when you have a lot of ideas, and especially all by yourself rather than in team :-/

That's one of the reasons I wanted some advice on this, because I don't want to "waste" years of my life working on projects which wouldn't succeed because of external factors... ^^'
Of course it's safer to get a full-time job, but you don't get much time to work on your games, so it's a tough choice :-/ I mean you're not worried about the money but you can't really work on your projects and if you don't really like your daily job it can be really depressing too :-(

Does everyone has the same opinion and would still recommend to find a full-time job, or does anyone have some other tips to share ?
Hello !



I'm Steven, a 24 years old French graphic designer and programmer, and it's been 4 years since I started using Construct 2.
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Post » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:28 pm

No worries ^^ and do check out True Valhalla... By being smart about his clients, working hard and being analytical he's made over $300,000 from HTML5 games and Construct is a HTML5 engine so it could be a good strategy for you to emulate :) Good luck!
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Post » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:10 pm

Thanks again @Sonable :-) I indeed think True Valhalla will be very interesting and help me a lot :-D
Hello !



I'm Steven, a 24 years old French graphic designer and programmer, and it's been 4 years since I started using Construct 2.
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Post » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:26 am

Sonable wrote:My advice would be to look at the http://www.truevalhalla.com blog. Matthew makes HTML5 games and licenses them to different mobile publishers and game portals, these kind of licensing deals give him a regular income, though as you will see, they are declining and he has had to concentrate on other things to maintain his income. It's still very inspirational to see it CAN be done.


Thanks for the mention!

I just want to rectify one part of your comment: my HTML5 income has not been declining, in fact, 2016 was my most profitable year ever. On average, I earned slightly over $10,000 USD per month, which was mostly from HTML5 games.
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Post » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:32 am

@true-valhalla that's really impressive and I'm glad for you that you have such a success with your games :-)

Since you are here, can I ask you a few questions please ? I guess some of the answers are in your book and I intend to buy it, but I'd like to know your opinion about a few things before getting started ^^

- How did you start in the video games industry ?
- On your website, you say you use GameMaker Studio, is that out of habit or did you have compatibility issues with Construct 2 ?
- Before approaching publishers, how many games should I present on my website ? Should I build a community first or can I introduce myself to them right away ?

If you're busy you don't have to give me detailed answers, I'll still be glad to learn a little about all this ^^

Thanks for your time and have a nice day ;-)
Hello !



I'm Steven, a 24 years old French graphic designer and programmer, and it's been 4 years since I started using Construct 2.
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Post » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:28 pm

@Ratmaster I started 4 years ago with C2 and simple mobile games. From 8 games published to Android, only 2 got serious downloads. From all, the 2 games had 99% from all downloads. To be honest , I don't know why other games didn't get any success, but as the time get by, the downloads started to slow down. When I started I made $3-4/day from ads, but now it only brings me $0.3-0.5/day. Google Play is bad at promoting new games and the big money makers will always make money because they can invest in promotion. The Android market is over-saturated with crap games. I am also a solo developer and I don't ave the energy to also promote and develop my games.
When every new kid on the block can publish a game after spending 1 hour developing is normal that the market will be over saturated with crap loads of bullshit. The gold rush for mobile game industry is over in my opinion.
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Post » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:02 pm

@Cipriux I'm really sorry to read that :-/
That confirms what I feared... If Google Play had a control system like Steam (to publish games you must pay for a license and have a good enough game to get selected for greenlight) there wouldn't be that much crappy games :-/ and as you said big money makers invest in promotion and get more attention, but unfortunately the market conditions are that way and our all society is centered on ads... Even if you sell a good product (video game, website, cheese, handmade bags...) if it's not well known it's really difficult to sell it :-/
Hello !



I'm Steven, a 24 years old French graphic designer and programmer, and it's been 4 years since I started using Construct 2.
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Post » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:50 pm

Ratmaster wrote:@true-valhalla Since you are here, can I ask you a few questions please ?


Sure, I'm happy to help. I listed your questions in bold below.

- How did you start in the video games industry ?

I'm entirely self-taught with over a decade of experience. I became interested in HTML5 when GameMaker added support for it, and from there I discovered that it was a profitable niche so I invested all of my time/energy into dominating the market to the best of my abilities.

I have been making HTML5 games commercially for almost five years now and the market still has so much room for innovation and growth. It's a really interesting format, with an incredible amount of long-term potential.

2017 is going to be a huge year for HTML5.

- On your website, you say you use GameMaker Studio, is that out of habit or did you have compatibility issues with Construct 2 ?


I have been using GameMaker since day one, so I have more experience with it. I don't want to say anything negative about Construct, because it's clearly great software, but I personally need the flexibility that GM offers.

- Before approaching publishers, how many games should I present on my website ? Should I build a community first or can I introduce myself to them right away ?


I recommend that you don't even bother approaching publishers with less than 3 games, and 5-10 is ideal. Publishers would rather buy 50 games from 1 developer than 1 game from 50 developers. The logistics and paperwork involved with game purchases, from the publisher's point of view, are often underestimated.

Publishers are less inclined to establish a relationship with a developer that approaches them with a meager content offering.

I hope this helps!
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