Awesome! You want to make a game! Now you need money to do so! Or are you going to do this for free? Well, somewhere someone is going to pay. Even if it's only for food to stay alive or your parents paying the internet and energy bills. There are many ways to fund your game and some of them will sound very familiar. Still I thought it is cool to list some of these options in this article. It could be you are not aware of some of them, or how some of them work.
Bring In The Coins Yourself
So you have worked your ass off at the local supermarket and saved up a small budget to fund your game project for at least 5 months! Well good for you! It's seriously a job well done. I think this way is needed whatsoever to kickstart your projects. All the other options depend on time to gather the money. If you saved enough or have a wealthy or very kind private investor, you can be able to fund a complete game project. Don't expect to create the next Gears of War, but you could create a well performing indie-game. The upside of an investment like this would be you are free to spend it on whatever is needed for the game seen from your perspective. There are no obligations unless otherwise stated by the private investor. This would mean this investor is not an investor gifting this investment, but someone out on returnal investment.
Ask The Investor To Bring The Money Bags
So your rich uncle told you to ****off and you need to talk to investors that want to see their investment well spend. This could be done in many forms. For example: If you have cut a deal to be exclusive on a certain platform, the investment would be an amount of money and you would only release on their platform without releasing somewhere else. Exclusivity would be a return for this investor. It could also mean an investor wants to see their investment returned in the coming 5 years plus profit. This means you have 'loaned' this money for a certain while, without going to the bank. There is one thing to keep in mind. If you want to change something crucial in the game concept or business plan, the investor definitely wants to know. This could include changes the investor didn't signed for. In this case you are bound to a promise and have the risk to return the investment while having debt.
Ask The Audience To Mine The Loot
Ok, the big players do not have enough interest in your project. Shame on them, let's ask your consumers to buy your non-existing game. Crowdfunding is a new way to gather money from the 'end-user'. Ofcourse this isn't without promise. In this case you have to be aware what you promise to deliver. When you are fully funded there is still risk people's payment didn't go through. Therefore estimate the amount well-enough to have enough space to take care of these risks. Kickstarter proves to be one of the biggest on crowd-funding. Especially games are doing well on there. Indie-gogo is another crowdfunding website. A cool thing they offer is the possibility to use the invested amount without reaching the funding goal. When this occurs, have your estimation ready and have clear what you will promise for that amount.
Ask Funding Agencies To Share The Dough
Well, your target audience is not convinced they trust their money with you. Maybe you can convince a funding agency to give you a piece of their money pie. I highly recommend looking for possibilities like this. Usually you can get contribution for a project your are working on. For example "serious games" can get state contribution because it helps the game industry but also other industries with new innovative solutions. If you have a great game idea, you can pitch this with a businessplan and estimation. If you proof you will invest a share yourself and your idea is creative and innovative enough, you may have a large share of your estimation funded by a funding agency! Keep in mind, these agencies want to fund more than only your project, so make sure your estimation is not an unrealistic amount. It's a contribution not a full investment. Allthough you have more freedom in spending this money, still you are bound to a certain delivery the agency agreed on investing in. So if you think critical concept changes are needed, you have to discuss this with the funding agency.
Estimate The Survival Check
Wow, nobody likes your idea and you have to shelve this until money and time will be available. You can also take on projects or so called "work for hire" jobs. There are a lot of companies wanting to invest in serious/applied games in their business. It could pave a way to fund your own game projects. However this requires a lot of time and creative thinking. Achieving this could mean you need to hire more people to run these projects separately. Besides money coming in you are obliged to finish a quality product for the client. Priority stands you finish the serious game first, before calculating chances to make your own game.
It also allows you to figure out what it costs to deliver a game. It's a great way to teach yourself to finish a product. It can help your insight in scope for game development.
Bank Loan Yourself Out Of This Mess
After all of this failed, there is always the good old banker giving you a sum of money, to start whatever project you like. They do not exactly care what you take in development, only that you return the loan plus interest. You will start having debt, and it's key you can live up to this debt by creating a game that will earn enough to lose this. In my opinion this would be your worst case scenario. It also brings a certain pressure and could drive you to create something special. This option is also at play when some projects failed to deliver and you have obligations to people working for you. It could save your company from going bankrupt.
Your choice depends on what you want to deliver in the end. Some companies do not want to create games funded by themselves but only want to do work for hire projects. Some companies got large contributions and were able to release their game and became financially indepenent. You are behind the steering wheel and it's up to you which course your company is going to sail.
Do you have any other suggestions to fund a game project?
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