Do you love video games? Have you been wondering how to start a game studio so you can build your own games? It’s not easy, but you can make a success of it if you follow a few simple best practices and steps. And we will also discuss the most painful question: how much does it cost to start a game studio?
How to Start a Game Studio
So, how to start a game development studio…with no experience and a very limited amount of funds? Before you can think of starting a game studio, you have to start off on the right foot. Passion for the industry is a great start, but it’s not enough to succeed. It takes a lot of time and dedication to build a successful studio.
Do your research
Decide who you want to target with your games before you do anything else. Will your games be geared toward casual or hardcore gamers? Will they be targeted toward a specific age group or demographic? Defining your target market will help you create games that resonate with your audience and ultimately lead to greater success.
Define the studio’s vision and mission. What type of games do you want to create? What is the purpose of your studio? Are you a commercial venture? Do you want to sell in-game items or games at a once-off cost? Once you know, you can start building your business.
Developing a Business Plan for Your Game Studio
Once you have identified your target market, defined your vision and mission, and assembled your team, it is time to develop a business plan. This plan should include a budget for the development process, as well as funding and marketing considerations.
Budgeting is an important aspect of the development process. Make sure to include expenses such as salaries, software licenses, and equipment. It is important to be realistic when creating your budget, as unexpected expenses and delays can quickly add up.
Decide how you are going to fund your game. There are several options available, including venture capital, crowdfunding, and government grants, but none of the options are easy to access, and you’ll need a well-formulated business plan to access funds. Research the different funding options available to you and determine which one is the best fit for your studio.
You should also include marketing in your considerations when presenting to investors. Developing a marketing plan early on can help generate buzz and attract potential customers. This could include creating a website, social media presence, and marketing materials such as trailers and demos that precede the launch of your games. If investors see that you’ve successfully drummed up interest, they will be more likely to provide you with funding.
Choose your team
You may not know how to make your own game studio at this stage, and you don’t need to! You DO need the ability to put together the best possible team for the job. Look for individuals who are passionate about gaming and have the necessary skills to contribute to the development process. You will need game designers, programmers, artists, musicians, audio professionals, and testers.
Managing the Development Process
Effective project management is key to ensuring that your game is completed on time and within budget. Consider creating a development roadmap that outlines each stage of the development process and sets deadlines for each milestone.
Establishing a production pipeline is also important for managing the development process. Break down the development process into smaller, more manageable tasks and assign them to team members. This can help ensure that everyone is working efficiently and that progress is being made on a regular basis.
Quality assurance is another important aspect of game development. Test the game at various stages of development to identify and address any issues that arise. Consider implementing automated testing tools to help streamline this process and ensure that your game is of the highest quality.
The Cost of Setting Up a Game Studio
So, before you dig into your gaming studio setup, you have to ask the most crucial question: how much does it cost to start a game studio?
One year of running a dev studio will likely set you back around $620,000, which includes insurance, state tax, internet and utilities, and other costs. You’ll need at least eight employees on your team, including a front-end developer, a back-end developer, a software engineer, a 3D artist, and a game designer, along with a project manager or team lead, a QA engineer, a systems engineer. Each person will require at least $70,000 in terms of their salary.
Next up, workstations and equipment. You will need basic furniture, PCs, monitors and other gear. Plan to spend at least $10,000 on the equipment. Depending on where you are located, you should expect to spend at least $24,000 on office space rent for 12 months, plus utility costs.
Bear in mind that you will still need to invest money in your team after the first game has launched. You will need a lot of money to promote your game and create a functional support team to fix any post-release bugs that are going to crop up.
You’ll also probably need to upgrade your product with new features and designs over time. New mobile phones and upgrades are released all the time; your game needs to adapt and remain functional across devices and operating systems. You may also need to drum up repeated publicity over time. And if you sell your game on the app stores, you’ll need to pay a fee and meet their requirements to succeed as well.
It all adds up, but don’t be tempted to take on too much. Having enough staff (and the right staff) behind you is the only way to succeed and make a profit in your first year.
So, now you know how to start a game studio. It requires skill, patience, passion, and a big financial investment, but it is doable. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can create a successful game studio, even without experience.