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From Idea to Income. How to be successful at independent games. Who is this guy?. Daniel Menard Co-founder and CEO. Big Action Mega Fight!. First Cohort. Founded. Creative Expression. No Limitations. Innovation. The Indie Dream. Creative expression No limitations Innovation

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from idea to income

From Idea to Income

How to be successful at independent games

who is this guy
Who is this guy?

Daniel MenardCo-founder and CEO

the indie dream
The Indie Dream
  • Creative expression
  • No limitations
  • Innovation
  • Push the industry forward
the indie reality
The Indie Reality
  • Entrepreneurship first
  • Probably won’t make you rich
  • ~90% of new companies fail
the indie reality1
The Indie Reality
  • Failure is part of the game
  • Passion alone isn’t enough
  • Releasing is only half the battle
your battlefields
Your Battlefields

Financing

Scope/ Time

Right project

Right market

Hiring

Management

party of sin
Party of Sin
  • Puzzle-platformer
party of sin1
Party of Sin
  • Puzzle-platformer
  • Local coop
party of sin2
Party of Sin
  • Puzzle-platformer
  • Local coop
  • Steam release
party of sin3
Party of Sin
  • Puzzle-platformer
  • Local coop
  • Steam release
  • Originally meant for consoles
party of sin4
Party of Sin
  • Team of ~8
  • Working remotely
  • Revenue share deal
  • Kickstarter
party of sin5
Party of Sin
  • 3.5 years
  • Part time
  • I quit my job in April 2012
  • Released in December 2012
what we thought would happen
What we thought would happen
  • Decent reviews
  • Massive Steam sales
  • Profitable over time (~1 year)
what actually happened
What actually happened
  • Mixed reviews
  • Marketing and store placement not great
  • Mediocre sales
  • 98% piracy
most important lesson
Most important lesson

It’s okay to failIt is a necessary step toward success

five whys
Five Whys
  • From Toyota
  • Ask “Why?” at least 5 times
  • Get to the root cause
the great postmortem
The great postmortem
  • Honest picture of our game and process
  • Mistakes we would never make again
  • Crankshaft Games Code of Conduct
professionalism
Professionalism
  • Is this going to be your hobby or your career?
    • Party of Sin started as a hobby
  • Must be accountable to your players
  • Constantly learning
business model
Business Model
  • Be clear on how you will make money
  • Pricing is complicated
  • Keep in mind the expectations of anyone giving you money
build a solid team
Build a solid team
  • Hire talented people you will trust
build a solid team1
Build a solid team
  • Hire talented people you will trust

Hire people when you know they’re the one

build a solid team2
Build a solid team
  • Hire talented people you will trust
  • Good teams don’t need managers
build a solid team3
Build a solid team
  • Hire talented people you will trust
  • Good teams don’t need managers
  • Give everyone a stake
build a solid team4
Build a solid team
  • Hire talented people you will trust
  • Good teams don’t need managers
  • Give everyone a stake
  • Generalists

Breadth

Depth

leave your ego at the door
Leave your ego at the door
  • Keep an open mind
  • Share creative freedom, it will be good for you
    • Party of Sin was too centralized
  • Take feedback as an opportunity to learn
  • Acknowledge your weaknesses
work life balance
Work-Life Balance
  • Sustainable Development
work life balance1
Work-Life Balance
  • Sustainable Development
  • Eliminate crunch and burnout
work life balance2
Work-Life Balance
  • Sustainable Development
  • Eliminate crunch and burnout
  • Give people control over how they contribute
work life balance3
Work-Life Balance
  • Sustainable Development
  • Eliminate crunch
  • Give people control over how they contribute
  • Work-Life Balance
mind your time scope
Mind your time / scope
  • Common pitfall: put everything you think is cool in your first game
  • Don’t fall in love with your project
  • What if you were paying someone?
  • Don’t build an engine unless you sell engines
studio thinking
Studio Thinking
  • Think beyond just one project
  • Have a unifying vision
    • Most studios will not display it publicly
    • It’s important to stick out
hit driven business
Hit Driven Business
  • You will be defined by the games you make
  • How you make those games is more important
  • Your first few will be bad
  • Focus on the process
  • Build your company culture
execution labs
Execution Labs
  • Incubator program for mobile indie games in Montreal
  • Funding for 9 months
  • Mentorship from industry experts
mentorship
Mentorship
  • Amazing Network
  • Feedback all through the process
how incubators can help
How Incubators Can Help
  • Shared experience
  • Leadership / vision coaching
  • Someone on your side
make the best of incubator
Make the best of incubator
  • Nurture your team
  • Be ready to learn
  • Speak out, give feedback
  • Think as a company, not a product
  • Evolve your process
  • Mind the schedule
references
References
  • The Lean Startupby Eric Ries
  • Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
  • Valve Handbook for New Employees
  • Ideas per Second by Nathan Marts (GDC 2013)
  • http://mashable.com/2013/02/28/indie-game-statistics/
  • http://indiegames.com/2013/04/the_8_keys_to_indie_success.html
  • http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/ThomasSteinke/20130415/190484/Reponse_to_quot8_keys_to_indie_successquot.php
thank you
Thank You!

www.doublestalliongames.com@dblstallion