You need $100,000?!

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by sindisil, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. sindisil

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    Curious what folks here think of this post over on "What games are".

    His assertion is that you need a budget of at *least* $100k, or you just can't put out a game worthy of the name.

    Strikes me as missing the mark with respect to indie games, to say the least, but there are many here more qualified to offer an opinion.
     
  2. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Haha that blog is full of BS :D

    More quotes:
    is it a joke???

    I'm amazed how people still think there are top-mega-memoralble-AAA games and then the 00000 - unknown - forgotten - "total shit" games. Without any middle way between them... there is not only "success!" or "failure!", not just black and white.
     
  3. Julio Gorge

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    Well, even if you develop games in your spare time you have to value your own time. Imagine two guys in the US that make 100 grand a year each in their regular jobs, working part-time on a game for two years. What would you say the budget of the game was?

    Anyway, I think the point of the article is not that you need $100K to start, but that you have to commit a lot of time and resources to create a good game.

    I love this part:

    It's very true. Again, don't pay too much attention at the specific numbers in the article… different types of games, platforms and markets have different needs and budgets.
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Actually, that blog tracks with my studio so much I could've written it myself.

    Games only don't cost 100K if you value your time at bupkis or have found a way to milk lots of money out of doing very little. In the latter case fair play, but I can assure you it's not something everyone can replicate.

    Removing other costs such as artwork, marketing etc., that amounts to about six man months of a professional's wages. Now you can get a lot done with one guy in six months who's capable of earning wages like that, but then there's your 100K accounted for.

    You seem outraged by the number, so does that mean you expect profitable game dev to cost much less? 50K? 25K? How?!? Please! :)
     
  5. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    If you need to spend $100k to make a game, you're doing it wrong.

    I don't consider the time investment to be part of the $100k "spend" since I don't have to open my wallet for it.
     
  6. Applewood

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    The first response to his blog post made me piss myself.

    "I agree [it costs 100k] if you are talking about a big budget AAA title."

    ROFPMSL
     
  7. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    In the context of "games that are likely to get my money" he is mostly correct.

    Now if 4 talented people get together for a year and create something great on their own dime... did that game cost 400K (as it would have in a studio environment where they had been hired) or did it cost the amount to stuff a room with 4 mattresses and keep the rent paid, lights on and top ramen flowing?

    One disservice that indies do to the industry is we create games for amounts of money that folks can't actually live on... We cannibalize the business side of it. Now, I live in a free country and this is the life I want to lead... but increasingly game dev. as a business seems like a race to zero.
     
  8. Applewood

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    I just don't get this. It's soooo bogus I can't believe any intelligent person can say it out loud in public tbh.

    If you are able to live for free right now then I'm happy for you. But the only people who can use that business model long term are vagrants.
     
  9. Desktop Gaming

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    I don't do this fulltime - thats why it takes me so bloody long!
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    You're still being dishonest with yourself imo. If you hold down a paying job elsewhere, that makes your "free" time even more valuable, not less.

    Now ok, I at least understand what you're saying but it's just not relevant when talking about how studios make games. It's how you chose to, but it doesn't work for everyone, or even most. Look at it this way:

    One side of the argument says "You need 100K to do it in 6 months".

    The other side says "You have to sacrifice ALL of your waking time for 2 years"

    Those two costs seem fairly equal in my book. I'm for the former myself, you clearly the latter, but either way is bloody expensive. And sadly for us lot, neither way is sustainable indefinitely without something going seriously right along the line.
     
  11. richtaur

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    Depends on how you're measuring. We spent trivial actual cash on our game but if you factor in developer time ... 400 hours each at $100/hour and you're looking at a really expensive indie game.

    Also if you're talking about AAA titles it's a different world. My brother's studio's burn rate is over $1 million/month. It's insane.
     
  12. Indinera

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    can't say I agree that $100,000 is needed to make a profitable game lol

    same here
    to me the budget is the actual *cost* of the game
    in any case my previous job was a 1500 euros/month thing so it's not even that high
     
  13. Adrian Lopez

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    It's meaningless to speak of how much it costs to make a game without accounting for specific expenses. Thus,

    To a corporation, the cost of developing a game includes such things as:
    • Employees' salaries.
    • Computers and other equipment.
    • Software licenses.
    • Office space.
    • Water and electricity.
    • Taxes.
    For an indie developer working as his own corporation's sole employee, the above list becomes:
    • Indie developer's salary, which needs to be be high enough to cover all personal expenses (housing, utilities, food, beer, etc.) minus whatever amount is available to the indie from other sources.
    • Outsourcing costs.
    • Computers and equipment used directly by indie.
    • Software licenses used by indie or otherwise required for final product.
    • Office space (covered by salary if working from home).
    • Water and electricity (covered by salary if working from home).
    • Taxes.

    Those at least would be real costs rather than invented ones based on what you think you should be making as a game developer.
     
  14. Indinera

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    IMO

    =!

    this list:
    Taxes for instance should not count in the budget... equipment is not specific to one game therefore not in its budget, same for software licenses.
    Water and electricity is something you pay to live, not make a game
    etc.

    But it's true the beginning of this discussion lies in defining "budget" and "profitable".
     
  15. Adrian Lopez

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    Why not? If you're running a business that business pays taxes and those taxes must be treated as part of the cost of development.

    You don't assign the whole cost of software and equipment to a single game unless the single game is all you make using said software and equipment. Either way, it's part of your expenses in making a game.

    Only if you work from home. If you work in an office, that office needs at least electricity and possibly water as well.
     
  16. Indinera

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    Ah well taxes sure decrease the money you make but you do not NEED to pay taxes to MAKE a game, as in they are not part of the development cost...
    Anyway the article means little unless we agree on the definition of budget lol or at least find out what they meant with this word and amount of money.
    $100k for what? If you include also going to Seychelles for vacation and all your saturday night's disco parties as part of your game's "budget" then yeah it can climb up there I guess...
     
  17. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    OK. You have to re-read this tomorrow AM and agree that you are going a bit far afield...

    Adrian was talking about amortizing equipment costs. If you are in this business long term then you need to replace equipment so buying new gear is, really, an expense because you couldn't keep making games without spending that money.
     
  18. Indinera

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    I was joking but now to be extremely fair:
    a computer and an internet connection, I would have both (and had both) even if I wasn't making games.
    I see a budget as production cost ie what you pay FOR the making of the game that you would not otherwise. Taxes are for everybody, most people have a computer and the Internet whether or not they make games etc.
     
  19. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'll grant you both of those points with the caveat that we are talking about personal taxes which you would pay whether you were working at the local coffee shop or making games.

    I think the question for me and probably many of us who don't need to earn what we would in a corporate settings for our skills is this:

    What is the number that is needed to put into each game in terms of external assets to make a game that is competitive and on which I can recoup a living wage? If we are paying corporate rates for assets then the number is still approaching 100K if we are seriously creating products that are going to instill that "I've gotta have it" feeling even in buyers in niche markets. That's paying artists at least 25 USD an hour (which I don't, not even close) and audio folks a similar number.
     
  20. HairyTroll

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    Money might not flow out, but money definitely isn't flowing in either (e.g. extra consulting work, extra contracts, second job etc.)

    How do you determine if game development is worth your time?
     

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