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I'm from the UK and I've just about completed making an indie game and had some interest from several online retailers that sell games. This requires me filling in a basic contract.

I'm just one guy who works from home as a hobby, I go by a studio name for my game solely because that's the norm.

Do I need to register my 'company' name before I can go any further?

EDIT: I'm already registered as self employed from prior work in a different field

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

To have a legal agreement with anyone using business name you need legal ground to use that name. Short answer is yes you need to register your business.

There are of course the thing that if you will get paid you need a business to pay taxes for that profit but you can become self-employed which will be easier at the start than starting a LLC (Limited Liability Company).

On the other hand starting a LLC will give you more financial independence in cases when things don't go as planned as you can only lose money invested in that business while all your personal items (house, car, money and other belongings) are safe.

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Thanks, I am already registered as self employed because I've been doing manual work for years. Obviously not under this game company name though.. –  user961882 Aug 21 '13 at 8:52
    
You can use you real name in contracts but if you have plans on making this a real business in the future then I would suggest forming a LLC to secure the studio name for yourself in the future as well as all the other benefits of having a LCC. –  Martin Tale Aug 21 '13 at 9:17
    
I am registered for tax as a sole trader. So for now I can just put my full real name eg "John Doe Smith registered in UK who's registered office is.." ? And in future the company name can be registered –  user961882 Aug 21 '13 at 10:17

Forming a limited company is recommended when you want to do business, because it separates your private financial destiny from that of your company. Should your company go bankrupt and have lots of unpaid bills and loans, you won't have to pay them with your private money. Only the money you invested in the company will be touched.

Unless, of course, you perform illegal misconduct. Depending on what exactly you did (or did not), you can be made liable. So inform yourself about your local laws in this regard, especially (but not only) tax laws. Corporate tax fraud, even unintentional, is something the authorities in most countries have absolutely zero tolerance for.

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In the UK you can do this as a sole trader. Get some further advice about using a Trading name e.g. "Your Name trading as Studio Name" or "Studio Name is the trading name of Your Name". The relevant law is the Business Names Act 1985. This is the simplest one to use but you should still get some advice about what you need to do comply.

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