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I completed my postgraduate education, and I am interested in starting my own game development company.

I have a team of six members consisting of animators and artists.

I'd like you to suggest all the requirements for starting a new company and suggest whether it would be good for me to start it or not. I have a few game concepts, and I am really passionate about it.

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closed as too localized by jhocking, bummzack, thedaian, Trevor Powell, Josh Petrie Feb 8 '12 at 16:19

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Related: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/3332/… –  Noctrine Feb 7 '12 at 14:56
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Do you have any experience in the industry? Working as a game programmer can be extremely exhausting by itself, i can't imagine trying to start a company at the same time, especially right after graduating. –  dreta Feb 7 '12 at 15:04
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Welcome to the site! Please check our faq, particularly gamedev.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask. This question is really too broad to be appropriate for our Q&A format. Do please feel free to ask in our chat, or on a regular discussion forum, where you'll be much more likely to find advice targeted to your specific situation. Here, we're really trying to focus on tightly scoped questions which can be given objectively correct answers that will still be correct and applicable for visitors years and decades from now. :) –  Trevor Powell Feb 8 '12 at 10:06
    
I would meet up with your team on a regular basis just to jam and make games for fun. If this becomes profitable you could turn it into a company with salary and the like. –  Derek Feb 8 '12 at 15:16
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4 Answers 4

Today's markets are literally flooded with both products and startup companies struggling to get their share, especially in game development. As I see it, the days when it was enough to be passionate about doing something to be successful are over, not only in game development.

Not that I want to discourage someone, but being passionate and having great ideas is just not enough. Success of startups now more than ever depends on how they can sell their products and themselves. Therefore the entrepreneurship/business/economy/financial/marketing/PR/... skills and knowledge are more important for success than the quality and greateness of the product itself and more important than the skill you want to sell in the first place.

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For me, this is a sad situation. As a passionate programmer, I always did want to have a small programming shop, make things small but great. And I still do. But this would now require me to keep most of my focus on the business side of things, which do not interest me at all, and leaving very little room for what actually matters the most to me - doing the programming, making great products. So I waver around the option of starting a company for some time now and I don't see this changing soon.

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Regarding your situation, having a great team ready up front will definitely spare you a lot of hassle. I know it is hard to get people to your cause, even if they are a long time friends and great in their profession.

As for what you should focus on next, I would say those business and enterpreneurship topics, especially if you haven't considered these things yet. Not only it is really important, but most of it can't be avoided somewhere along the way, so better start with it right now.

Whether you should start the company or not depends on how you will feel after you take the business things into account. I think this is not a bad indicator when you are up to something.

  • Will you still be confident about it after you know all what it takes?
  • Will you not mind keeping up with a lot of stuff, that may not have anything to do with games or development?
  • Or will you have this unease feeling in your guts just by picturing the situation? (my case)

Of course you don't have to be the person in charge of all this. In that case:

  • Do you have people in your team, who will take this over and who you trust will do it well?

Game development may be a unique industry in many ways, but it is still the same business as any other and the same business rules apply when you aim for success, so treat it appropriately.

I also recommend you to take a look at OnStartups exchange, in case you didn't yet.

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I hope I at least provided another perspective on the subject.

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I think you should have really good strategy how to get your games to people. There are tons of games in these days and it's really hard to push your games through.

Maybe you should think about some publisher.

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I'm not sure what 'pg' is, but can I assume it's educational related? If so, then are you and your other team members currently working full time in other jobs? If not, then you may have a great opportunity to start a game development company.

I work full time as a computer programmer, but not in the gaming industry. I make great money and I'm very grateful for my job. I just wish I could switch to a game programming role, but without any portfolio or industry experience, I would start at a very low wage (I assume a 50%-75% pay cut!). My current monthly expenses prevent that.

Me and my three nephews (we're ALL programmers and NO artists!) started our company a year or so back. I can only work after my day job and other commitments, and same as my nephews. We can't even work on the same project, as we're never together, so we have 3 projects on the go. If LUCKY, we'll have two games done by summer.

You on the other hand have two options.
Get an industry position, if you can find one. Or, start your own company, but expect to wait 6+ months (and that's not guaranteed either) before expecting any payments to start coming in. Can you last that long without an income? As a recent student, maybe you can. Can ALL of you?

If you need a regular job, you could try working after working hours, like we are. You may find life gets in the way, or your other partners aren't all at the same enthusiasm level.

How are you going to split / distribute the profits? What if 4 people do 99% of the work? Who's going to pay for the initial expenses? The start up costs could be minimal. You all probably have your own computers. You would need to purchase development software, so keep than in mind. Plus other misc fees and licenses.

Be warned, when you are finally 90% done your game, you'll realize that you still have the last 90% remaining! There are so many fine details to take care of.

Ideally your team should have somebody dedicated to programming, art, music/sound, marketing/promotion/PR, business/managing. Game assets can be purchased / licensed by other companies, but having a team member dedicated means your final product (and future products) will have a consistent look and feel, and ambiance.

If you still are considering it, I'd say go for it, the experience could be very rewarding. If you finish a product, then AT LEAST you have something for your portfolio. Something to set you apart from the other hiring candidates if you end of looking for an industry position.

Just don't EXPECT to make money. If you expect money, then maybe a regular job may be better. My priorities would be to actually finish a game, gain peer and public recognition, then perhaps make a profit. That may take you 2 or 3 games. It may never happen. There's a big risk you'll dedicate 6-12 months on a game, and never realize any profits. What's your motivation? What is your other team members' motivation?

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If you plan on working after hours, be very careful of the contract you sign with your employer. Many standard contracts essentially say that anything you produce is owned by the company even if you do it on your own time. –  Adam Feb 7 '12 at 21:58
    
Great point. Read your contract! I'm programming for a steel manufacturer, so this was less of an issue, but I double checked to be sure. Consider this when looking for a day job, if you have the luxury to say 'no' to an offer! –  Doug.McFarlane Feb 7 '12 at 22:14
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It is the same for any Industry... It is Hard out there.

It will never get easy so now is as good time to jump in and try as any. You are young and full of energy and will gain much experience from it.

The older you get, the harder it becomes to recuperate from a failed risk... So risk big while your young, learn from everything, don't look back and go succeed!

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