Guide for game developers "going to business"
Going to business part II
« on: January 23, 2006, 12:54:39 am »
I wrote an article like this some 8months ago (read it here ) when I recently started
with this indie-mobile-development-thingie. Now almost a year into it
I decided it was time for a little update and follow up.
First of all, these things I mention in here are from my experience
with making and selling mobile games.. they might be different for you
if you make other choices, have other business skills, etc, so don't
see them as rule but more a guide.
The important question for most will be "the money". I'll be open and
honest to you: make sure you either have a) superb financing, or b) get
other work/projects to pay the bills. The first months upto a year will
see you making money from mobile games but it will not make you rich.
The best way to get money from this is developing projects for other
companies who pay you a fixed price, think between 3000-5000 for a months
work this is the amount where you still have to pay taxes on! so at the
end you probably end up with roughly 40-50% of that amount
for a months work) depending ofcourse on your location... 3000-5000 is
a fairly good amount for western-europe.
And ofcourse you need to profile yourself in order to get those projects
and in most cases your name will not be mentioned in the final game.
However your own games will be making money if you put time into the
business side of things. This means : contacts, contacts and more contacts.
Simply call or email every distributor/publisher/developer/
whatever-in-mobile-gaming company you can find and let them know you got
games to sell. The more distributors you get the better (you can never
have too many!)
For rough numbers, and these are VERY rough cause I fucked up my
spreadsheet losing all the numbers and no time yet to redo it.
Anyway, expect in average about 0.30-0.50 eurocents per sold game to end
up in your pocket.. thats right.. but it's a rough average!
To complete the picture, expect a fairly decent game (not outstanding) to
sell possibly close to 10.000 copies in 10months time orso. This is
possibly an even more roughly average cause it all depends on how the game
looks, feels, plays, appeals, etc..
The build factor
When you start developing java games you will get the following emotions:
1) my game owns
2) this will run on anything
3) ..hmm..my phone is the best
4) stupid <insert other phone brand>
something like that atleast.. however stick to one codebase and keep
improving it, right now I have a codebase that with 95% certainty runs on
the major phones.
The rule on building for as many target platforms is partly true, obviously
limiting your self to midp2 at this time is unwise if you want to make real
money.. the amount of nokia40's and other midp1 devices is still to big
to ignore for small indie's like us. Also the sites you can get your game on
are still mostly visited by people who own older phones.
In general you can say the following devices are a big market:
Newer sony's (ignore the t610 stuff please!)
And a Siemens here and there but they don't really seem to be gamer-friendly
These phones are fairly easy to support with minimum extra's if you
ignore the sound-issues. Sound in mobile games is OVERRATED, and people
will just as well buy and like your game without sound, cause they most
likely will hate your game with sound unless you get some really
quality music or sound effects.. but it's costly and most cases not worth
Future of gaming
In my honest and simple opinion: Multiplayer gaming is the future.
No matter if you go 3D or 2D, multiplayer gaming will be it.
With Nintendo showing some good idea's of how mobile-multiplayer can be
using their Nintendo DS and WIFI hotspots, and Microsoft having plans
in the same direction with it's XBox-live coupled with WindowsMobile you
would be crazy to not keep an eye on this.
Right now it's too costly for most countries to do online gaming with a
mobile phone, but with the new 3G networks coming up the future looks
Ofcourse the big guys are looking at 3D gaming.. that's the marketing
guys at work. They are aiming at turning this mobile-gaming into a full
blown gaming-platform.. personally I think this is a silly mistake but
I might be wrong.
If you are jumping into mobile gaming now you are most likely 2years
to late for the big-money However it's very possible to find good
money in this area of game development. I also believe with the market
settling down eventually and consumers being more aware of where to
get the good stuff so that the good developers can make money and get
inbetween the big guys.
Right now the market is dominated by operators and a handfull of
publishers. With people looking for new ways to buy/sell mobile games
this might all make a fast turn soon!
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