Making games is just part of the equation at successful independent game studios. Being an indie creator means wearing many different hats: entrepreneur, community manager, accountant, salesperson, and more.
During August’s focus on indie innovation, we hosted a roundtable on The business of being an indie featuring three successful indie creators: Xalavier Nelson Jr. (Strange Scaffold), Yves Hohler (Broken Arms Games), and Réjon Taylor-Foster (Soft Not Weak). They joined Unity’s Antonia Forster to talk about everything from securing project funding, to pitching games to journalists and publishers, to building a solid community prior to launch.
Today on the Unity Blog, Réjon Taylor-Foster and Yves Hohler are back to share more tips on how they built their businesses, from preproduction to launch.
Let’s start with one of the biggest obstacles for an indie: funding. Once you knew that you wanted to open a studio, how did you approach it financially? Did you find an investor/publisher or was it all self-funded?
Réjon Taylor-Foster: Soft Not Weak initially started off partially self-funded and partially funded by grants we received in the early days of Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To‘s development. Crowdfunding was always the plan, so it was our top priority in regards to funding development.
Yves Hohler: In the beginning, Broken Arms Games started as an unofficial team and not a company. All three of us had nine-to-five jobs, and we worked on our games and some B2B advert games in Adobe Flash in the evenings and on weekends. We were trying to create and launch mobile games as quickly as possible so we could start generating cash flow to reinvest into our unofficial company. We wanted to try to go further however we could, whether it was localization, hiring a graphic artist, and so on.
When our income began to grow, we started to work on games by day, while working in bars and restaurants in the evenings. Besides taking bare-minimum salaries, we reinvested all of the money. It took a lot of discipline, which is a really important quality and skill for starting a video game development company.
Source: Unity Technologies Blog