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When I was younger, I had this one dream. It sounds cliché, but hang on. As that nerdy teenager who preferred game characters over real people, video games became my favorite realm. They were more than hobbies; they were my closest companions. I felt that my sole purpose was to play games.
But then reality knocked! Suddenly, playing wasn’t enough. College first, job second (a boring one). I felt I was different from the rest (sorry, don’t blame me; I was a dumb kid). So, I dropped out of college to follow that burning dream: to set up my own game company.
It’s a known fact: the gaming world is bursting with dreamers. And, well, I was no exception. When reality hits, you see things from perspectives you never considered.
Starting my studio? It was challenging—super challenging. I was a young guy with almost zero experience in the gaming industry. As time passed, I learned, adapted, and grew. Even though I closed my studio to help others achieve their dreams on a larger scale.
And now, I’ve written this post for those looking to chase their dreams and build something of their own.
So, get yourself a coffee and let me guide you on how to Start Your Own Game Studio to Pursue Your Dream ⚡️
What is a Gaming Studio?
To start, you need to learn what a gaming studio is. Now, imagine a place where creativity, technology, and passion combine!
Nah, I’m kidding; this is the ChatGPT definition. I’ll write my own.
A game studio is a place to work your ass off. It is a place where you spend the entire day fixing a small bug. It is a place where the party happens at 3 a.m. because a character model finally looks right or a game mechanic runs seamlessly.
But don’t let things scare you; even with all the hard work and mess, games feel special. It’s really exciting to turn ideas into stories and games that people can play.
There are many other game studios in different fields, from small to large. Some face tough times, while others have big wins. But I think we have one thing in common: creating games that players will remember and love.
Types of Game Studios
Video games come in many kinds. Different game studios make each kind of game. Some studios create games for mobile phones, some for computers, and others for game consoles.
Each studio focuses on what they do best. Keep scrolling for the great details.
AAA Gaming Studio
They are superstars in the gaming industry. Much like those AAA or ‘Triple-A’ games you heard about.
Imagine big movies like Barbie or Oppenheimer that everyone talks about, with huge ads everywhere and famous actors. AAA games are like that in the gaming world. They have loads of money, tons of people on their teams, and all the cool gadgets and tools to create games.
Thanks to their large resources, they can invest money, time, and significant effort to craft big, well-known games that shine on platforms like PlayStation, Xbox, and computers.
Take Electronic Arts (often called EA) as an example. Worth $33.36 billion, they rank among the biggest game companies.
They have more than 606 games, and one of their famous games is “FIFA”, which is loved by soccer fans all around the world.
Indie Game Studio
Do you have a unique story to share, or do you find yourself burning to create a story that connects players? Maybe you don’t want to sell your soul to big companies for money
If so, you’ve landed in the right place.
Indie game studios are like small but brave gaming teams. They don’t have the big money or many people like the huge AAA game studios. Instead, indie studios work with what they have, often with a small budget and few team members.
Even so, they are driven by passion and love, and they creƒate great games for everyone to enjoy.
What is an indie game studio? It’s a small place where people can make games however they want. Developers often do many jobs at once, not because they don’t have a big team but because they care about their game.
A great example is ‘ConcernedApe, the one-person team behind Stardew Valley, a game loved by many for its charm and creativity.
If you are into numbers, let me explain that Eric Barone, aka ConcernedApe, makes more than $25 million just on PC, and he has worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week, for four years.
Mobile Game Studio
When we are talking about the game industry, we should never ignore the power of mobile games. As we continue to explore, we land on my favorite: when I talk to people, they always say bad things about things on the mobile side, but they forget to recall one little thing.
Look at this graphic: The mobile game market expanded beyond its limit and reached $92.6 billion in 2023. Isn’t this fascinating?
I’m not going to write about the market size or anything; I’m only here to talk about how you can start your game studio.
A mobile game studio specializes in developing, publishing, or distributing games specifically designed for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Those games, as you know, are mostly available for download and purchase on the App Store, Google Play, or other platform-specific marketplaces.
Some mobile game companies focus exclusively on mobile gaming, while others might branch out from traditional PC or console gaming to capture a share of the ever-growing mobile gaming market.
Mobile games can be divided into several categories; some studios specialize in hypercasual games, while others specialize in hybrid casual or simply casual games.
Before finishing this part, let’s look at the differences between genres:
- Casino: Virtual gambling experiences like slots and cards.
- RPG: Story-driven games centered on character development
- Kids (Other): Games for young players’ enjoyment and learning
- Match: Games about aligning or grouping similar items or colors
- Strategy: Decision-driven games focused on planning and tactics.
- Simulation (hypercasual): Casual recreations of real-world activities
- Puzzle (hyper-casual): Casual games testing logic and problem-solving
- Action (Hyper casual): Quick, reaction-based games with simple mechanics.
- Driving (Simulation): A virtual experience of operating different vehicles
- MMORPG: These are online worlds where many players interact and quest together.
What is a Game Publisher?
If you’re in the industry, you’ve for sure heard of publishers, right? Especially the well-heeled ones. Yep, they’re loaded.
Their role? Pretty massive.They’re the ones putting money on the table to publish games. They find developers in their niche and help them with publishing.
Depending on the publisher, they can lend a hand in areas like management, development, marketing, and even localizing the game.
But here’s the kicker: some of these publishers have rules, from tiny details in the UI to the big stuff like game cores. And sometimes? Well, that might snuff out that original spark you had while creating.
In exchange for all this? They don’t ask for a thank you card. With an upfront payment for development and a bunch of other things, they pocket more than 40% of revenue. But lean in for gossip: word on the street is that some publishers snag a whopping 70% or even more.
You’re probably like, “Whaaaat?” Yeah, it’s wild. But hey, this is the industry playground you’re stepping into.
Difference Between Publishers and Developers
Let’s clear this up one more time! The game developer handles the creation of the game, shaping everything from the narrative to the design and core mechanics. Meanwhile, publishers bring financial support, experience, marketing, and distribution to the table.
Starting Your Game Studio
If you’ve ever dreamed of creating your own games and managing a team to bring your visions to life, starting your own game studio might be the next big step for you.
Here’s a basic guide to help you:
1. Begin With an Idea.
First, you need to start with an idea. As Victor Hugo once said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” (My favorite quote ever.)
Everything starts with a small idea, and if you truly believe in yours, don’t let it go. The idea could be a fully developed AAA game set in space teeming with cosmic monsters or as simple and charming as a match-3 game with food items.
But make sure the idea aligns with your skills. Do not push too hard at the start.
2. Create Your Team
As I mentioned above, there are notable exceptions like ConcernedApe, who single-handedly developed “Stardew Valley.”
But I think having a team is generally a good idea. A diverse group with different skills can offer perspectives you don’t see by yourself.
When you are selecting a team, look for people who have the same vision as you. Look at their expertise and what they can bring to the table other than their skills.
If you are great at storytelling but not very good at development, find someone who is an expert in coding.
3. Secure Funding
Starting a game studio needs money. But I began with just my computer at my parents’ home. As I earned more, I built my studio. You can do this too.
You don’t need a lot of capital to start something. If you still insist on learning how you can secure funding, let me tell you how:
1. Save Up: Use your own money from savings or past work.
2. Family & Friends: Ask your close ones to support your idea. Be clear about any risks.
3. Investors: Angels or VCs might give you money for a part of your business. Show them a good plan.
4. Crowdfunding: Use sites like Kickstarter to show off your game idea. If people like it, they might give you money.
Remember, there are many ways to get started. Choose what’s best for you.
4. Choose the Right Tools
After all of this, you need to choose the right tools to start the game.
In the gaming industry, there are lots of great tools to choose from. We wrote a blog about it, you can check that out for more information.
Your choice should primarily be based on the type of game you aim to develop. For mobile games, Unity is a top pick. But if you’re looking to create PC games with high-end graphics, then Unreal Engine is the way to go.
5. Develop a Prototype
Before diving into full scale, start with creating a prototype. When you create a prototype, you can test gameplay and mechanics and get feedback from your family and friends.
Prototypes are also a great way to attract investors or publishers.
How to Create a Prototype from Scratch:
- Choose a main idea for your game.
- Sketch or draw your game’s layout.
- Pick a simple tool, like Unity or GameMaker.
- Make the basic parts of the game.
- Test and get feedback.
- Improve it based on feedback.
6. Start to Developing
Once you have a prototype, it is time to move into full-scale development. Prioritize refining game mechanics based on feedback. Then, transition to perfecting graphics and sound.
Tackle any bugs swiftly and ensure your game performs well across different platforms. Remember, adaptability is key at this stage.
7. Marketing & Distribution
Congress! If you’ve reached this point, you’ve successfully developed your game. However, the journey doesn’t end here. Remember, development is only half the battle.
Ultimately, a game without players is like a story never told. Remember that you’re creating games for players.
You need to be ready to spend money! First, start by creating a marketing strategy using the power of social media, especially platforms like TikTok.
Leverage social media advertisements, collaborate with influencers and streamers, and create a community where players feel they belong.
Finally, explore distribution channels such as Steam, the Epic Games Store, and console-specific outlets to get your game into the hands of eager players.
8. Stay Committed
Lastly, remember that game development is a marathon, not a sprint.
You’ll face challenges and moments of doubt like I did and everybody else. But with passion, strength, and a trustworthy team by your side, you can achieve your dream of starting your own game studio.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Hard Is It To Start a Game Studio?
Starting a game studio is tough. You need money, a good team, and a strong game idea. Plus, there’s a lot of competition out there. But with hard work, it’s possible.
How Profitable Are Game Studios?
Game studios can make a lot of money if they have a hit game. But many studios don’t make much or can lose money. It’s a mix of luck and good work.
What Is The Hierarchy Of a Game Studio?
The hierarchy most depends on the size of the studios. In a larger studio, at the top, some executives make big decisions. Below them, there are department leaders for each, like design, development, and testing. Then people do tasks, like drawing, coding, or checking the game.
8 Tips For First-time Game Studio Founders
Start small: Create simple games first to learn and practice.
Research: Learn about popular games and what players like.
Listen to players: What players say can help improve your game.
Stay excited: Love what you do. It helps your team and attracts players.
Keep learning: The gaming world changes fast. Always learn new things.
Make friends: Attend game events and join online groups to meet people.
Be ready for change: Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Ready to make changes.
Well, my friend, we have come to an end. Remember, starting your own game studio seems like a big adventure, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. As Ben’s uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
There will be times when you want to quit. But there will also be fun moments that you’ll never forget, and I’m sure you will have great achievements.
With the help of your team and the right tools, you can navigate through the challenges, even when the path seems tough.
If you dream of making incredible games, always remember that all games begin with a simple idea.
Love what you do and hope that your game studio becomes successful. Stay excited, keep learning, and always believe in your ideas.
With hard work and a bit of luck, you might create the next big hit!
See you at the next blog, Take care ✌🏻
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