Game Design Music and Art

Biz Startup Thread – Nfektious


Posts: 408
Registered: 10-25-2002
[Disclaimer: The information and comments in this thread are not intended to be used as legal advice or conform to any government standards or guidelines for business organization.
The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of CCN.]

What I'm going to post is primarily of use to those in the USA; I'm not at all familiar with international business - my apologies to our friends across the pond and our Northern friends also.

I'm starting this thread off for all those who have the knowledge to post, or - like me - have the desire to start a small business. That is, a small business in the Gaming industry.
First off i'd like to state the obvious - the Gaming biz isn't an easy arena to enter. For that matter, a small business isn't an easy thing to manage either.
Several years ago I attempted to lay some groundwork for a business venture that some college buddies and I wanted to start. It wasn't videogame related, but my efforts were still real and my knowledge can apply at some degree.

The first thing to determine - other than the type of business you want to startup - is where you want to startup. I was looking at another locality other than where I lived, but you might choose to start something right where you are. In either case, the the first place to look is the local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber can provide you info on the population, the average household income, the tax amounts, etc. as well as other useful information.
The next step I would recommend is looking for a Small Business Development Center or some Small Business Administration office near you. They have loads of information that you can read over and learn about the fees associated with licenses, etc. You can also learn about the different type of business structures (Sole propriety, Partnership, Limited Liability, Corporation, etc.)
The Chamber of Commerce and the SBDC/SBA office won't be able to give you everything you need, but they will get you on the right track. You will have to contact any local/state offices for applications as needed and such.

Probably the hardest thing you will have to do is develop a business plan. There might be software you can purchase to assist with this, but it is still a wise idea to have an understanding of Economics (especially in the area of Business Finance) if at all possible. There are books you can purchase or even check-out from a local library on this matter. Better still, if you know someone who is a CPA (certified public accountant) and can assist you for little or no fee you will be better off than doing it yourself. Trust me, it isn't an easy thing to do yourself and any stress you can minimize is worth it.
The business plan is required for you to file with the state and local government; but be aware too that different locations have different regulations - even from county to county within the same state.
It pays to do your homework.

I hope that does help some people interested in this area to know where/how to get started. I also hope that some others will post valuable info here for all of us to learn from.



Posts: 408
Registered: 10-25-2002
It's nice to see this thread just soared with the number of replies...

I know there has to be a few people here with the knowledge or resources to be involved in providing information for those of us who are seriously trying to get an Independent Game Development Company off the ground.
So, if you have some pointers on how to go about becoming a legal and legitimate business entity can you please speak up?

I'm honestly in need of help with some crucial and some time-sensitive issues and I know I'm not the only one here in that situation.


[This message has been edited by Nfektious (edited November 26, 2002).]



Posts: 638
From: Vermont, USA
Registered: 03-12-2003
don't get mad Matt, it's only been a couple of hours.

but yeah, advice would be useful.

"If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world!"
-C. S. Lewis


Posts: 64
Registered: 01-20-2001
I think lack of business sense is something that most developers suffer from. "If you write *it* they will come" does not apply.

I've been working for myself as a freelance developer for around 2 years this stint and for about 1.5 years a few years back... it's not the easiest thing in the world, but I'm learning a lot about myself and how a business is run, and what the difference is between "a business" and being self employed.

One of the apps I've been using quite a bit for development is Macromedia Director... there are a lot of people out there using that (and Flash, and a dozen other things, I guess) that are creating some really amazing stuff, but they choose not to market it or don't know how (most don't seem to try) and then wonder why they can't make a living from it.

(First rule of sales: If you don't ask for the close of the sale, you won't get it)

One great instance is a fellow named Ben who has a site full of amazing games at -- His games are original, creative and very fun to play. If you look at his stats just under the game, and do a little math (or have Excel do it for you) you'll find that over the last 10 months (from Nov. last year to now) he's had (according to his stats) 6,314,875 hits, used 999 GB of bandwidth and had 31 donations in that time, which average out to 3 donations a month in that time.

That's really sad that people don't support him. But at the same time, he ponders as to why he can't make a living doing what he's doing. I suggest that he's not trying. If he created a membership system that for even $1 a month, people could have access to all his games, particularly with an established user base... and suddenly, tomorrow, everyone had to pay $1 per month to get to them, or to save their stats/place in the game, or to play more than just 1 or 2, or to play them for more than 15 minutes.... there are a ton of different ways to market it... sure, he would get a lot of unhappy emails -- because people want something for nothing -- but studies have been done that show nagware to crippleware results, and the crippleware gets much better results. I have *no* doubt whatsoever, that he wouldn't begin to get a huge chunk of change every month for his efforts. I don't even think he has banner ads... but with an average of 630k hits per month... he'd get some responses.

I think too many people just don't know what it takes, or think charging people is evil or something.. I don't know.

I've studied a lot of this stuff over the last few years and am about to try it all out as I market my first game... I'll be happy to respond to any questions as best I can.

For now, gotta eat -- dinner is ready.




Posts: 1061
From: Port Angeles, WA, USA
Registered: 10-25-2001
well matt, you can make some money in collaboration with him... tell him that if he is willing, you'll work out a bussiness plan, do some risk analysis, work out the details, form a strategy and work with him at implementing it for a % of the profit...

Husband of my amazing wife Aleshia