I'm going to create a game. Well, a set of games, but they will accrue little by little. So, at the beginning there will be one game.

The game will be written in C# with WPF and WCF techs, including server-side game processing, statistics and so on.

And yeah, I just have quit my current job in one company, so I need to live on.

So, how to start making money on this wonderful development? It will make much pleasure for me, as soon as I like developing and actually playing those games (gomoku, sea battle, etc)?

I only see two ways — one of them is to find an investor and the other one is to complete at least one game with 100% server uptime and start distributing it.

But I need recommendations. I need help, actually — the explanation how exactly to do all of this things and to to not starve:) .

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    \$\begingroup\$ I admire your courage; quitting your job before asking this question. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2012 at 8:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any previous experience in game development? I found your job quitting impulsive, taking in account that you have not yet decided how "to do all of this things and to not to starve". Anyways since you prefer C# you can try XNA or Unity(if you want to develop for Android and iOS) to develop games. \$\endgroup\$
    – saurabhs
    Jan 19, 2012 at 10:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that easier - to sell games in AMarket or AStore than for PC? \$\endgroup\$
    – AgentFire
    Jan 19, 2012 at 10:30
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. If you use Unity (you have to buy the Pro version to publish for Android and iOS though), you can build for both the OSes using the same code and as for earning, can use iAds (on iOS) for ingame ads. As for PC, its pain in the back to develop a 3D game alone (but not impossible) and can use XNA (among many other engines) to publish the same code for PC, XBox and WP7. \$\endgroup\$
    – saurabhs
    Jan 19, 2012 at 10:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ 12 up votes, and an accepted answer with 14 - yet it's on hold? This strikes me as moderation being out of sync with popular opinion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:23

4 Answers 4


Most of the indie games that have made it big in the past few years have published extensive development blogs, engaged with the gaming community, and eventually released their games on Steam. Buzz for games like World of Goo, Braid, Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV, and others often took a year or more to build up. Many of them were made by 2-person teams consisting of a programmer and an artist. Polish and beauty are very important when you're trying to get noticed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So is there is a right way to do? Release my games on Stream? \$\endgroup\$
    – AgentFire
    Jan 19, 2012 at 12:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AgentFire: the whole answer matters! If you're going to TLDR for just 5 lines, I doubt you will be able to achieve anything at all, anywhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Jan 25, 2012 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Releasing on Steam tends to be a metric for success for indies, ie "release on broadway" rather than an actual method of success. \$\endgroup\$
    – Katana314
    Aug 9, 2013 at 22:46

I am not sure the size of these games you are planning, but I have seen a lot of success with indie developers on the Steam store (Terraria is a great example of a game that earned $1 000 000 within one year of when development started). But if you are planning on a series of small games, maybe it would be best to make a website and use silverlight and let people play for free, and try to make money on advertising (similar to Addicting Games).

Though definitely a key to success with indie development is promoting it through social media. The game can be fantastic, but if no one ever hears about it then no one will play it. So while you are developing, start a blog or forum or something to build a community and when you have a demo/trial mode ready try to find indie game reviewers that will play it and blog about it on their websites.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Desura being one, which can also land you some Alphafunding for before you even release the game. \$\endgroup\$
    – saurabhs
    Jan 19, 2012 at 10:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is indie-game/indie-developer? Meaning "alone"? \$\endgroup\$
    – AgentFire
    Jan 19, 2012 at 10:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Indie developer stands for independent developer, indie game is the game made by a indie developer. This is, youre independent. You doesnt have a publisher or a developer company to make your game. It's... Almost alone, some times indies goes as small teams. And also, you ever has the community to help you, so dont be scared. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2012 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 Why should he build his own portal, when there already are many (with many users)? \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Jan 25, 2012 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't use SilverLight, it's being killed off. It also apparently won't run on their Windows 8 tablets (although neither will flash). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2012 at 14:22

Just to add to what many people have already said, "Buzz" is a key factor. The "hype-train" of a game can indeed make it very successful. Steam is an option, particularly if you want to reach the biggest user-base of gamers (as we all know Steam has the most users). However, and i can't stress this enough: It is extremely difficult to get any indie game onto Steam unless it has a huge amount of "Buzz".

However there are quite a few specifically tailored alternatives: Desura, Indievania and IndieCity. So there's defiantly plenty of options, I believe Desura is probably your best bet to getting the biggest commercial audience without too much worry. I say "too much worry" because it's important to note that each service will have quality control. Steam is known to have very high standards albeit a bit obvious, whereas the alternatives suggested are defiantly a lot more varied and open to all sorts of games. Which is why i say it's your best bet.

There is also the legal side of things, and of course this depends on where you live but there is the matter of taxes, and it's also important not to forget that each of the services will take a specific cut of the sales (their cut varies from service to service). Do your research and find the best one for you.

Note: This answer is very much tailored to using indie-game hosting services that are already on the internet, and there are other alternatives such as Andrew Jackman stated in his answer, but for the majority of indie developers, depending on their background, using an established service is the most straight forward way.

(For example, I personally have no experience with Silverlight or using any form of web language, so personally for me, using a pre-defined service were all I have to worry about is making my games meet the terms of the services, is a lot easier.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Or just sell your game on all the services that accept it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Derek
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:28

Recently it became a trend among indie studios to sell early development versions of games for much less than the expected final price, bundled with the guarantee that the early-buyers will get the final version as well as any new development versions for free. Examples are Moyang (Minecraft), Introversion (Prison Architect) or Squad (Kerbal Space Program).

This has several advantages.

  1. it drastically shortens the time until the first revenue comes in
  2. it provides early feedback from players and critics, telling them if further investment into the project makes sense
  3. it generates hype

It reduces the total income per copy because many players will buy for the discounted price during development, but the added hype usually makes more than up for it in volume.

The downside is that they now have an existing playerbase during development which expects playable updates with visible progress at regular intervals. This makes the development schedule a lot less flexible and adds additional stress.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Another downside is the reduced income on release since part of the playerbase has paid a lower price already. \$\endgroup\$
    – petervaz
    Aug 10, 2013 at 5:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @petervaz I think I pointed that out in the second to last paragraph \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Aug 10, 2013 at 8:33

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