Indie Developer Business Plan
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    By Steven Ghost Rivera

  • October 20, 2017


When creating a business as an indie developer is one of the most important things that you would ever have to do. This business plan has the power to elevate you to reach the level of success that you have dreamed about. This business plan will become your lifeline and needs to hold with great respect and focus.

How to develop your business plan

When coming up with your business plan there are certain things to keep in mind. These key facts are to ensure that your business plan doesn’t hold you back or worse overwhelm you. Once the overwhelming sets in then you may lead to failures and shortcomings.

Begin Small

So many of the beginning indie developers start off with big dreams and concepts. These concepts could be a GTA (Grand Theft Auto) clone, RPG (Role-Playing Game), or MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online Game). These game are good genres but realistically would take studios with thousands of developers years to craft. Being your first game these genres would be a little out of your scope and time.

Ideas for keeping the concept small is by creating the game that you would see on a console like Atari 2600, Commodore 64 or the Intellivision. These game were usually created by one developer and are considered score based games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. These games have little to no story and are designed for users to compete with each other for high score dominates.

The reason you should start off small is this would allow you to see what it takes to make a game for the first time. Also, this will show you if you have what it take to continue this type of lifestyle. Plus it will help you generate revenue as you create your next title or even the sequel.

Platform Selection

Once you have chosen the type of game that you would like to start working on. The next thing is to choose what platform that you should start making the game for. This will be important for the next step which will be monetizing your game. So you must choose wisely.

Since this, you are trying to create a stable and viable strategy for your studio. I would suggest starting on working mobile titles until you have enough revenue coming in to move to PCs and consoles. This way you have an easier platform to work on with the potential to reach more than a million users with your game and well place marketing plan.

Monetization Plan

A very thought out monetization will take your game to the next level. Especially in the era of shady business tactics such as loot boxes, microtransactions, and pay to win elements inside of paid products. Which has made people feel like they are getting ripped off. These practices cast a bad light on a game that is almost impossible to shake off no matter how good the game is. If you would like to hear more about this problem, you might want to read “Loot Boxes – Microtransactions 2.0”.

When creating a monetization plan you have a couple of choices depending on the platform you chose and the type of game you have made. For mobile games, you can charge an initial price, you can place ads, or have microtransactions. Just keep in mind that you can use any of these practices but keep in mind that choose one will ensure that your user base doesn’t get upset and overwhelmed at the choices. Next, for PC and consoles, it is generally an initial price but there are some games that have tried some microtransactions and DLC (downloadable content). Also, keep in mind that just like mobile if you do charge microtransactions would not be the best choice. As for DLC, they are okay but in moderation.

Marketing Goals

Marketing is the key to any business’s success. These goals are going to be ingrained in your DNA. The point of working on each goal is to get your install and user base to the level that your game deserves. The key to good marketing is to always keep these goals in mind as you talk about your product, service or business.

To create these goal lists you first need to brainstorm a list of goals that you would like to reach in the not so distance future. These goals can be as simple as getting 100 installs or to get 5 on your mailing list. Once you get a bunch of goals written down, you will now need to shorten the list to about 5 goals that all closely relate to each other. After this list is crafted I ask that you make this into a spreadsheet format and label them as such.

# Goals Start Date Completed Date
1 Get 5 new users 10/12/13 10/15/14
2 Get 10 new emails 01/03/17 01/15/19


The reason I would like you to structure your process like this is that this will showcase the goals that you have completed. This, in my opinion, would keep you motivated and focused on the end resort. Plus this will show the milestones that you have to reach and how quick or long did it take you. I believe this will be the greatest focus reinforcement that you will ever have.


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