We here at the Hats would like to embrace a close relationship with the community and I believe that means being as transparent as possible. So I wanted to share our possibly-fake-but-really-scary-if-we-aren’t-joking business plan that I just came up with and have not discussed with the other Hats.
Here is the high level plan:
- Have fun (optional)
- Make good game
- Receive fame and power
There are a lot of other things we should be thinking about to make a proper product but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. In fact, we like to burn bridges as we come to them. See figure 1.
(I always get those two sayings mixed up (That was just an excuse to get one of our new artists to draw me a pretty picture))
Now you might have noticed that this approach isn’t all that specific. As well, there are some omissions such as no mention of costs/money, distribution models, deadlines or other things that I am not currently aware of that are normally found on a business plan. In fact, let me go google what a business plan looks like.
Sorry, I fell asleep. Looks like they are just normal production schedules with money attached. We work for free. So yup, no need for that. Blog done…
What’s that? You are still here?! You demand to know the dry facts that spurn our operations?
Okay fine, I will give you a better look at some of the facets of what one might hesitantly call “business,” but I would prefer to call “sustainable presence.”
First off, we do pay hundreds a year out of pocket for operational costs like domain names and space, business cards, team swag like shirts and hoodies and various travel to conventions and shows.
To try and offset those costs we have donations, shirts for sale and some simple ads on the site. So far I think we have generated about 70 bucks for about a year and a half of work.
Right now we offer all our games for free, mostly because we aren’t proud enough of the work we have done to try and charge you anything for them. But don’t get me wrong, making a living off of our games is my white whale.
The current hurdle that stands between us and selling a game is about 3000-5000 dollars. We are using Unity and if we sell something we most likely want to get the pro edition for at least 2 of us.
Our next game will require server costs that I cannot even foresee. Mike tells me $300-500 a year sounds plausible. Unless we become a smash hit and it goes up to like $9000 a year. (All these numbers are guesses based off of palm readings.)
We also probably need to become a real company which is like 30 bucks or something. But the hard part of this would be that some of us might have to quit our jobs due to non-competes or something legal like that.
Oh but I guess we need to have a game ready first. Which brings me to my next point.
Games as a service
We plan to make our next game as slowly and painfully as possible. But we want the community to be involved in this process. So we plan to release a core version of the game and slowly work our way up to the grand idea we have for where this game is going.
One of the goals of this process is to try and judge what our game is worth. If it’s not working out, we can seal it off and put it out there for free. But if the community likes it and supports us, we will try and grow the product to meet their desires and our goals.
Now, I would have no idea what to charge but luckily this is a standard price point for indie games that is slowly starting to arise. They all seem to range from 5-20 dollars based on quality and popularity. I personally would like to try the Minecraft approach. Here is what the current (sure to change) release and pricing plan is.
- Invite-only Alpha- Free (because these people will basically be our playtesters)
- Open Alpha – $5-10
- Open Beta – $10-15
- Release – $10-20
You may notice we are not bold enough to attempt announcing any dates yet.
EDIT: I almost forgot about platform. I want to initially launch a browser and executable version of the game. Once we get to the beta or release stage, we will evaluate iOS and android devices. Ben has a huge hard-on for getting our game on iOS.
Back to the original point (because I am losing track of what I was talking about so that means you must be bored as well.) The main bussiness plan… despite possibly losing our jobs and spending all of our savings, is to try and make something we are proud of; something you want to play. We feel that if we can deliver that, we can figure out the money stuff later.
If that doesn’t work out, we will just make a bunch of iPhone games every few months and Ben will probably quit and/or murder me.