List of problems faced by indie developers and how to solve them

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by over_cloud9, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Cost of living the is the a) number one factor for most indies.

    The easy fix is to spend that $10,000 on good translations that Jake and I spend on corporation tax/cost of living/etc. If you have any shadow of viable business, then $10,000 should be weekly income, certainly monthly. I remember you hinting that you're "doing very well" on more than one occasion. So it seems like a good investment to sacrifice one months earnings to double all the others. If you're actually not making those kinda sums, then without mass market audience you probably don't need this anyway.
     
  2. Indinera

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    I sort of agree but you can always move after 3-4 years of successful indie business including making all the necessary contacts IF this bothers you (plus you will obviously still keep your native language). And cost of living is hardly cheaper in the main countries of Europe. If the question is, should an indie be rather american or, dunno, member of a country with a cheap cost of living, I guess there are pros and cons. Personally I would still pick America because I think you want to do this job to live it to the fullest and this is what America offers.

    Not an easy fix. In my country you pay for plenty of things too, don't assume it's less than others. Plus that means 10k per game and one of my skills is to release a lot of games... kinda complicates things a lot, hmmmmm...
    And remember I am a writer so it hurts to have to give the job to someone else (don't see things just from the money angle).

    This is too complicated to answer here, it would require a new topic (or the revival of an old one lol). I suppose I am doing well indeed if I look at the statistics available on the Net.
    At ANY level you do need press relations and perfect english for text-based games though. Trust me on that. Whatever income you are doing, you will always be happy to double it if you can.
     
    #82 Indinera, Mar 15, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  3. Nexic

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    I was under the impression that cost of living in France was about the same as the UK, and that the taxes are actually worse? And, I'm pretty sure any western European country is still more expensive to live in than America.
     
  4. Indinera

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    Yup. You gain nothing from it, really. USA = the country of indie life. The rest is just secondary.
     
  5. Jack Norton

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    I'd rather be in Australia or New Zealand than USA though ;) English speaking countries, but cheaper cost of living and better climate/environment.
    (no offense to US people, I just love those places. Even if I've never been there, so maybe it's just my idea and reality is different...)
     
  6. Roman Budzowski

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    OK, so what stops you from moving to the USA of Canada? If Jake could make it, why not you?

    All I am just saying, is that I don't agree that being native English speaker or living the the America is your biggest asset. It helps, but it's not a key factor, at least in our little world of indie games.
     
  7. Indinera

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    Wasn't Jack born there? I have given a thought to move in the US. But what kept me away from doing it is that the main problem would persist at least 2-3 years: still not a native, still not writing in good english unless I study it for a long time. Plus it's a big life change that needs to be well prepared.

    "Biggest asset" is probably too much a matter of perception. "Major asset" remains completely true. Moreso in "our little world of indie games", in fact, because we need the press coverage and the good reviews to exist and being american significantly helps on different levels to get them.
     
    #87 Indinera, Mar 15, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  8. Roman Budzowski

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    Jake, not Jack. He was born in UK and moved to Canada 3 years ago. Now you'll probably say: "but he's native speaker". Well, I've been in the USA 3 times. People don't care that much about your English in face-to-face chat. For sure they would say "Your English is great" just like they did in my case. That would let you get those chit-chats you care so much about with press, and once you're their "friend", they would care even less about your English.
     
  9. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

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    Jack NZ yes, Aus no way... our cost of living in pretty messy at the moment.

    15% increase of electricity prices year on year for the last 5 years. Only place I can drop my usage by 10% a year and still pay more than my previous bills!

    Carbon tax is incoming... they estimate it at 10% increase in cost of living for us. Makes me jealous of the European $10 per tonne tax vs our starting $23 tonne which has a floor of $15 tonne.

    Also I have private health insurance, Why? Because if I don't it can take a few years to see a dentist under the public system. =(

    I agree with all those who said "Pay to get somebody to do what you can't do". Play your strengths, pay away your weakness. It's business!
     
  10. Indinera

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    I believe this. But right now I'm more concerned about fixing my english for the games themselves (hence why a UK guy still has a huge advantage). THEN the rest may follow.

    Not if it's money lost Oo
     
  11. Applewood

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    I'm bowing out of this. I am also none of those things but I've never done so well.
     
  12. Indinera

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    You are english. If I could go back in time and be born english instead, I would do it. And enjoy the difference.
     
  13. terin

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    I'm ignoring this whole USA non/USA thing, but I will talk about conferences.

    I agree with Applewood that it isn't required for success to attend trade shows. I also agree with Jake it can be a huge game changer. They tend to be places where you can cement a deal or garner a few new contacts that end up being worth huge sums of money. I can think of 3 cases where a single conversation lead to gains of 5-10,000+ (per title involved). Now again, if you've got one title... ok, maybe not a huge deal. If you have 5 titles... well, that's a heck of a gain for a week of work (plus all the other benefits).

    I don't know if there are other people like me out there, but when I go to a show I go representing my clients - all of them - so in some regard you don't HAVE to go to the show as long as you have someone there repping you.

    But long story short about conferences are they tend to be what you make them. If you go to one with no plan other than walking around and seeing what happens you aren't likely to get much, though probably something. If you go with a few very specific objectives in mind and schedule as many side meetings to those objectives as possible then you end up typically walking away with something more tangible... though again, they're a gamble. On the upside the whole thing is a business writeoff. Coming from outside the US the difference is the cost of the plane ticket really... and some extra travel time. All in all that is a fairly small cost increase compared to the potential gains.

    A quick example was one client went to GDC entirely to secure XBLA and PSN. Did they succeed? I believe the answer is no and yes respectively. That said, even the failure with XBLA may result in future success, as now they have a more powerful image in the Microsoft team's mind and continued efforts may yield results, whereas dismissing an email from 'one of many' developers is far easier. And before we hit the subject of "if its a good quality game then they wouldn't have to..." - the game in question is amazing, flat out amazing.

    Anyway, to me that is the big benefit of a trade show and again, you don't have to go personally and you shouldn't go unless you have a specific objective. For me it is a no brainer because I represent so many great developers that I am certain to find press, distribution, and new client opportunities everywhere I look. I don't think I have ever had a net loss on a show.... well, maybe MWC, but that was more a vacation since I had a free ticket to attend and wanted to go to Barcelona (and MWC is basically not gaming at all. I did meet the Android Marketplace team though... that could have some serious side benefits).
     
  14. PoV

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    I was going to make a childish comment akin to "hooray, fighting!", but this thread just reminded me I should have talked to Google this year at GDC. I went in assuming I had nothing to say to them, but now I'm feeling dumb. Opportunity lost. Ah well, next year.
     
  15. Grey Alien

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    I was born in the UK and moved my whole family to Vancouver in 2008 because I thought it was a good opportunity to be closer to many game industry related people/events. Moving continent is not easy, and it's expensive here, but it's also cool. I agree with Roman in that there are many non-English speakers at conferences and in Vancouver (it's very multi-cultural here) and they seem to do fine with the press and also do talks at conferences etc. The game dev community is very accepting because they know that many of the best games are made by non-English speakers e.g. Minecraft.

    I didn't have any of my own games that I wanted to show off to press this year (Eets Munchies, a project I'm helping with, was being shown off by Jamie Cheng to tons of press) but I did bump into quite a lot of press and also went to a press mixer where indies where showing off their games, so it would have been easy to show one of my games off if I'd wanted to. My "first-time-GDC" friend made an effort to meet press and did very well at it, after all the press are there to write stories about games. He's launching on Steam in a couple of weeks so the coverage should help build awareness + he is getting great preview scores. The game is Waveform.
     
  16. Nutter2000

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    Lol Jake, you're turning into terin!
    You'll be the indie go-to guy for setting up meets at conferences :D
     
  17. terin

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    Why is this said like a bad thing!? I've been trying to clone myself onto you guys for almost a decade! :p
     
  18. Nutter2000

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    Lol! But there can only be one Joseph Lieberman ;-)
     
  19. Grey Alien

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    Actually for some reason I failed to bump into Joe this GDC, so he wasn't as ubiquitous as normal.
     
  20. Nutter2000

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    The slacker!
     

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