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  Why don't many of you sell your games?  (Read 6845 times)
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Offline Opiop
« Posted 2013-02-24 21:02:38 »

So I haven't been on this forum for a while, but I've noticed something that has really made me think. I recently started a project that I hope will actually sell and will hopefully get my name out there as a programmer. Then I discovered this forum and I thought that many of you would be indie devs that have their own games out on the market too, but it doesn't seem like that's the case... Lots of you on here seem to be absolute gods when it comes to programming, so I was curious as to why not many of you have your own games? I realize game programming is hard, I've been making games for a little while now, so hopefully I don't sound naive! I guess I'm wondering is having a game out on the market hard? Are my chances of actually making money off of games really slim?

Offline Icecore

Senior Devvie

Medals: 12

« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-02-24 21:39:21 »

That all is way of luck - you can create 1 project and earn millions (minecraft),
Or you can create hundreds project making money for living
and maybe money for next project  (Cortex Command, etc…),

Or even you can create projects which will be not interesting to public
and you not receive money at all (billions flash games…)

Happy – happy day to you ^^
Offline 65K
« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-02-24 22:07:16 »

Because it takes a whole lot more than bit juggling.
Time and even more time, budget for professional artwork, marketing, working professional and effective (avoidance of not-built-here), basically working on games and not game engines or tech nerd stuff, addictive game ideas, being able to actually finish things, readyness to always learn, read and improve, self criticism, good luck, etc., etc.

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Offline Mike

« JGO Spiffy Duke »

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Java guru wannabe

« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-02-24 22:07:48 »

Dedication/skill/luck/timing all influences if you'll make any money on your games. Most people here create games for fun and don't have the will/connections to make money off their projects. Smiley

Personally I'd love to make a bit of money on making games but I lack both the time and the skill to make something polished enough that people will actually want to pay money for. Unless you have the timing and skill to make something like Minecraft (I saw Markus personally had made more than a billion Swedish crowns on it now) you can hope for having the dedication to spend a few years on something like Revenge of the Titan which will, maybe, pay the bills.

All in all, with most of the games here playing in the same field as flash games, why would anyone pay for a game like that when they expect Armorgames quality for free?


My current game, Minecraft meets Farmville and goes online Smiley
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Offline Alan_W

JGO Knight

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Java tames rock!

« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-02-24 22:17:40 »

A combination of the fact that I make good money in my day job and that writing indie games would be a business decision in a very competitive market.

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »

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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?

« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-02-24 22:34:13 »

The thing that separates the successful games developers from the amateur hobbyists is just persistence. We've been at it 10 years now and only just making enough money to survive comfortably. As an interesting comparison to many of the other developers who frequent this forum, I'm a fairly mediocre programmer. I just don't give up.

Cas Smiley

Offline Damocles
« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-02-24 22:35:53 »

I have worked on several commercial games with companies, but it was a drag in the end (restricted licences, restricted creativity, restricted schedules)
And released a game on Android to.
Its not really paying off the effort economically.
So I rather just make games for fun and impressing myself with what can be done Wink
Anyhow, If you want to get into game development
-either be ready to enter the "cold" business of professional production, where you are a small part of the bigger operation
-or just make something that makes yourself have fun - but also get a "normal" paying job.

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »

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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?

« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-02-24 23:23:35 »

- or that happy little golden intersection between "things you are capable of making", "things you enjoy making", and "things other people will pay for".

Cas Smiley

Offline gouessej
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-02-24 23:28:29 »

I don't sell my games because they are ugly, unpolished, unfinished... and because I don't want to earn money from them, I already have a job. I'm in favour of collectivist cooperative global patronage and I think selling games with DRM is silly. I'm not interested in making games for someone else, it would be like my pay-the-bills job...

Offline Cero
« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-02-24 23:57:54 »

I think the core fact in this forum is that most people work alone; and generally you need more than one person to make an appealing game that is distinct and sells. Because people who are actually very skilled in more than one area (art, coding, managing, marketing, sound, writing, etc) are quite rare; and even if they exist they still need time...

my personal advice is:
- Get a team (artists are as important as coders and more rare)
- and then either create a game in a genre that is really popular and make one similar but distinct (-> the economical approach) OR make a game you are really exited about, you really like and just pour a lot of passion and features and stuff into it, hoping the shear quality will make it succeed (-> the passional approach)
- have time/money to develop
- and lastly I would personally recommend to "aim higher". By that I mean: Higher than casual games. There are A LOT of casual games out there, a lot of polished ones too. However there is really a gap, a niche if you will, between the scope of casual indie games and AAA current gen games. Its either: really small or really big.
You can see some bigger indie games on Steam Greenlight and stuff, overall the problem is that these games need more time and effort and an indie game developer cannot use the consoles for the most part and selling on PC isn't that easy.
- Be prepared to do a LOT of marketing afterwards.

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Offline ReBirth
« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-02-25 02:06:02 »

I don't sell, because even on free no one like it D:

Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #11 - Posted 2013-02-25 04:31:08 »

It's too much to worry about.

If I ever finish a game that I'm satisfied with, then I will probably see if I can make some money on the side.

But other than that, I'm happy just making games for fun. I'm also learning more which means when I need to start making money from games, my chances will be better.

Offline ctomni231

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Not a glitch. Just have a lil' pixelexia...

« Reply #12 - Posted 2013-02-25 07:41:22 »

I have never thought about it too deeply, but maybe a major reason for games not being made is "the fear of rejection?" I see a lot of potential for great games to be made from members of this forum. However, I think just the looming mantra has a lot to do with whether we sell games. I always find myself having to defend Java. I feel as though even if a game has superior quality in Java, I have to hide the fact it was made with Java to get any respect.

However, I do agree that persistence has to be the key.

I realize that in most of my hobby projects in real life, there are always onlookers that are interested in the same things you are. Even though I didn't have the technical skill and know-how to create some of the things my project required, those onlookers become very important in filling the gaps. All of a sudden, you have a team working toward one goal, and you have no idea where they all came from. There are always people who are going to hit a gold mine, and win it big. For the rest of us, persistence is probably the best way to make money. Just never give up on the goal.

As for me, I like the challenge of programming. It gives me the same joy I had as a child, when I was tinkering with my LEGO and Erector Set type toys. I like finding out new things in programming, and I feel that there is a lot of hidden gems in computing we still have to find out. There is something about it that makes me feel like one of those great explorers trying to crash land on something epic...

Offline ReBirth
« Reply #13 - Posted 2013-02-25 07:45:21 »

Also if you concentrate too much no money it will block your wild idea.

...with my LEGO and Erector Set type...

Offline pjt33

« JGO Spiffy Duke »

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2013-02-25 08:14:30 »

I've seen both sides of it: I worked in the industry for five years, but I started making games when I was a small child and I carried on making them as an amateur. (I had too many other things on this year to enter the Java4k, but I enjoy it when I can enter).

If you want to make pocket money then that's quite plausible if you target Android. However, be prepared for customer support eating up some of your spare time. If you want to make a living, then you need to get lucky (already mentioned), persevere (already mentioned), and be prepared for customer support to eat up lots of time. If you make it really big then customer support dominates. To take an example I'm familiar with, RuneScape had one person writing the engine until 2007, when a second was added; one person writing tools, two people doing sound, a dozen or so doing graphics, a similar number writing quests, a handful doing QA, and over a hundred doing customer support.

If you want to make a living as an indie dev, go for it. But don't be surprised if it seems that the majority of people prefer to tinker with games in their spare time and not turn a hobby into a job.
Offline ctomni231

JGO Wizard

Medals: 99
Projects: 1
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Not a glitch. Just have a lil' pixelexia...

« Reply #15 - Posted 2013-02-25 08:27:26 »

...with my LEGO and Erector Set type...

Think Minecraft... but in real life Smiley

Offline Damocles
« Reply #16 - Posted 2013-02-25 08:58:55 »

Well in real life shoveling a cubic meter of sand is quite a task.
Did that before, and left me with quite some blisters.

Offline Varkas
« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-02-25 12:31:24 »

Polishing  a game to commercial quality requires quite some additional work compared to where many hobby games are considered finished.

And these days you face the competition of thousand of game developers (and teams), many quite skilled. It's not so easy to come up with something that realy will sell.

These days I'm actually happy if I get some response to my projects, and they aren't ignored altogether. I doubt I could sell anything that attracts so little interest even if free.

if (error) throw new Brick(); // Blog (german):
Offline Damocles
« Reply #18 - Posted 2013-02-25 12:35:33 »

And advantage of "things with a price" is, that they have
more "value" to someone, than something free.

I think selling a game , even when its a very low price, will make the
player come back to play it more often than a free game.

Offline gouessej
« Reply #19 - Posted 2013-02-26 20:59:07 »

And advantage of "things with a price" is, that they have
more "value" to someonea capitalist, than something free.
Sorry, I fixed your post  Grin

Offline jonjava
« Reply #20 - Posted 2013-02-27 00:32:17 »

No time. They're incomplete. Not enough free time. They're mostly not games. Also, no time <.<.

Offline arnaud_couturier
« Reply #21 - Posted 2013-02-27 01:00:07 »

I found that time management is the single most important skill when working on a side project, a lot more than technical expertise, since the latter can be learned rather easily through reading and practice, but for that you need time.
Offline dime26

Senior Devvie

Medals: 2
Projects: 4
Exp: 5 years

Should traffic wardens be armed?

« Reply #22 - Posted 2013-04-12 01:34:12 »

As an interesting comparison to many of the other developers who frequent this forum, I'm a fairly mediocre programmer. I just don't give up.

Love this quote but don't believe you are mediocre for a moment.

I work full time as a systems developer, this is my income, as for writing games I started just a few weeks ago on my first game so I would be a fool to think I could make money out of it but I am really enjoying the new challenges.

If I could make money from it one day then it would no longer be a hobbie and I am sure no way near as fun, I can code when I want how I want with no pressures, I have watched some of the indie movies, documentaries and those guys are under a lot of pressure to achieve .

If people were really on here to make money they would not share their ideas maybe?

Offline ReBirth
« Reply #23 - Posted 2013-04-12 02:05:17 »

If I could make money from it one day then it would no longer be a hobbie and I am sure no way near as fun
I haven't made money yet but still lose a bit of fun since work together with a pixel slave. There's someone who start to fix my stupid idea and it feels odd.

Offline delt0r

JGO Knight

Medals: 33
Exp: 18 years

Computers can do that?

« Reply #24 - Posted 2013-04-12 14:11:54 »

princec was being overly modest and nice. Fact is princec finished the games or at least some of the games they start. That is the trick. And that makes princec a better programmer.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.--Albert Einstein
Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight

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Coding in Style

« Reply #25 - Posted 2013-04-12 15:08:03 »

Lots of you on here seem to be absolute gods when it comes to programming

Not that I would say I'm a programming god (just a sex god), but in my situation, my skill and knowledge about programming comes from the fact that I have a regular job as a software engineer, and game development is a hobby.

I'm guessing that's the case for a lot of people, we'd love to live off of game development, but reality being as it is, have to make ends meet otherwise, and do not have the time to produce marketable games.

Also, don't confuse programming skill with the ability to make good games. You can churn out the most beautifully crafted code, capable of bringing tears to the eyes of a hardened war veteran with no eyes, and still be incapable of creating engaging games.

Game development is a very multidisciplinar endeavor, just being good at one of the parts, no matter how important, isn't enough to come up with a good product.

Yes, I stole a quote up there. Stare

Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #26 - Posted 2013-04-12 21:12:22 »

The problem with indie developers/hobbyists is that there are so many options, and you want to explore them all, but you can't, and then you never finish anything.

Offline 20thCenturyBoy

Senior Devvie

Medals: 3

So much to learn, so little time.

« Reply #27 - Posted 2013-04-13 02:40:18 »

Making a  game that sells  is hard. And the odds of getting a reasonable return are very slim. For every Minecraft there are hundreds (thousands?) of miserable failures.

Most indie devs are interested in the tech side (engines, rendering etc). Few can create art, even fewer understand business and marketing.

But, it can be done. Cas is an interesting case. His games are 100% focused on a very specific niche, but there are enough gamers in that niche to support him full time. His games are also *extremely* polished. Like, orders of magnitude above virtually every other game I've seen on JGO. That makes a huge difference and can't be under estimated. And finally, even though his games are "low tech" 2D, he still requires a dedicated artist and another programmer to help.

Now, let me get back to my OpenGL engine :-)

"I have never done unit testing and I don’t find it a very useful concept" - Jonathan Blow
Offline Nate

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Esoteric Software

« Reply #28 - Posted 2013-04-13 06:17:18 »

No time for games, busy making tools. Sad

Offline badlogicgames

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2013-04-13 12:50:51 »

Poor little thing. Quick, dry your tears with all your KS moneyz. - musings on Android and Java game development
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