What Are the Financial Expectations for Your Game? - Game Developing

A recurring theme throughout this book is managing expectations of all project stakeholders through high quality communication that is clear and honest. That is why I am presenting this sobering information so early in this book. You must be clear about why you are creating your game. Do you expect to make a profit? Are you depending on the royalties (or direct sales in the case of software sold as shareware or by other direct sales methods) to support yourself and your development staff? Is this project only a hobby and any money it produces a happy bonus? Is a publisher funding the project or do you have an investor backing your project?

Knowing your financial expectations not your hopes and dreams for your game project is critical to achieving success. Establishing these expectations will determine the scope of the project. With the scope of the project in mind, an estimation of the number of developers required to create the game and how long it will take is established. This estimate should then be compared to the financial goals one more time to establish a baseline for cost, time, and scope.

The Scope of the Game Must Match Financial Parameters
Most game projects fail to meet their financial expectations because the developers fail to articulate clearly and honestly what the implications of their expectations are. This is such an obvious statement, but virtually every game project I know of suffers from a disparity between what the expectations are for the project and the resources and time allocated to the project. Some of the very well endowed developers such as Blizzard, BioWare, and id are famous for the “When it’s done” mantra. There is little doubt that a project from Blizzard, BioWare, or id will be of the highest quality and mostInterplay has been delisted from NASDAQ. undoubtedly be very profitable. However, Blizzard, BioWare, and id also have a large amount of working capital on hand and have dedicated that working capital to making killer games.

If you do not have an unlimited supply of working capital on hand, then I strongly suggest you take on a different mantra than “When it’s done.”Most likely you have a budget of both time and money to work with, so what you need to do is figure out what is the “best” game you can make within budget. Remember, id founders once created games for $6 an hour for a long-forgotten publisher, SoftDisk, and Blizzard once worked as a developer for Interplay. There are steppingstones on the way to greatness; too many developers try to take the gaming world by storm in one ambitious step.

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