No Venture Capitalists or Publishers
Venture Capitalists want growth above all else. Since I am focused on per share value via cash flow, this is not a good fit.
There is a misconception that video game companies are tech companies, this is usually not the case. Most of us do not sell engines or middleware. We are entertainment companies that use technology to create our products, similarly to a film studio. Therefore, it is difficult for us to scale up similarly to how tech companies do.
Publishers claim that they will let indie companies retain the rights to their intellectual property but they will fill the contract with enough clauses and first rights of refusal that they will essentially own it anyway.
No personal brand
I have no interest in creating a YouTube channel where I monetize talking about making games and I make more revenue from that than the sales of our games. I’m not criticizing game developers that do this, it is just not a business model that interests me. I have no desire for notoriety but I will accept it as a by product of producing a successful game.
Going for broke
There is a common idea within the indie game dev community that you shouldn’t risk too much in making your games. Use an off the shelf engine, don’t spend any more time than 6-12 months on development. I reject this philosophy. In order to stand out from the crowd you have to be willing to do what most are not willing to do.
Being an entrepreneur is about taking risks. I would rather have one game that has relatively high production values and polish than 10 little projects that don’t stand out from most other games. As long as you are young enough to recover I believe in going for broke.
No discounts or bundles
The logic behind discounting is that although you will get less revenue per unit sold, you will sell to more consumers and thus will have more revenue overall or at the very least the increase in sales will make up for the decrease in revenue per unit sold. I think this hypothesis is flawed. People don’t appreciate things they get for free or too cheaply. I would rather make less money in the short term and have a more engaged existing market than be another game sitting on someone’s SSD that they don’t even remember buying because it came in a discount bundle.
In other words, 1 game sold at full retail price is more valuable to me than 2 sold at half price.
Once again, I am not criticizing companies that do this, most game companies aren’t making substantial profits so any extra revenue is greatly appreciated.
No merchandise until the popularity of the IP justifies it
I think that some game companies try to treat their games as popular franchises before it is justified. This just leads to a waste of resources, as much as I fantasize about a boxed limited edition of our first game I just can’t justify the cost.
I believe in paying for high quality work. Using cheaper laborers can result in low quality work. However, there are ways to save money in areas where it won’t reduce the quality of a game.
Remote working removes the need for a physical studio and all the overhead costs that come with it. I speak from experience when I say it doesn’t improve communications either. Good communications are dependent on the tendencies of the participants not locational proximity.
I don’t believe in paying a marketing company to market my game. I think we can do this ourselves for cheaper. If a game needs an expensive marketing budget and it isn’t triple A than perhaps it’s not impressive enough because if it was, your fans will spread the word for you.
Keeping in game text to a minimum will limit the cost of localization.
I am planning to release our first game in 4 parts. This segmentation allows us to divide the cost and risk of each part without sacrificing quality.