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I've failed at postponing "do what you love"

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneur Discussion' started by srodrigo, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. srodrigo
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    srodrigo New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I've read both books by MJ, and I fully agree with get rich first, do what you love later. I've spent one long year trying, but I have failed.

    As a software developer, my original plan was to build SaaS or mobile apps that would solve people's problems. But deep inside, what I wanted to do is to make video games, which actually are one of the possible fastlane products listed on the books, but at the moment the entry barrier is much lower than say 10 years ago (there are professional tools for free or peanuts) and the market is quite flooded in most platforms (getting worse every year), which is starting to seriously violate the commandment of entry. It is possible to make a hit and then f*ck money, but it's very very rare. Most indie devs make very little money with good or very good games that take many months, sometimes years, to be made. This is scary from the economical point of view. But even given all these problems, I still want to go for it.

    Also, games need decent art and music. I can make music, and I'm learning how to make art (which, for the style of games I want to make, it's not as difficult as creating realistic art, so I don't need to be Leonardo's second coming), but an MVP for a game takes months to make, usually. Even trying the landing page approach would be very tricky, as you still need decent art to catch people's attention, and even that doesn't describe how much value (entertainment) the game would offer (you need something playable), compared to a landing page for a web/mobile app (which can basically be a few screenshots and a list of problems that will solve). So the "validate the idea, then make an MVP in 1-2 weeks, release, and iterate" doesn't really apply here, as the first iteration is much slower (you need at least something playable with close-to-final art, even if it's just a vertical slice - e.g. one level of the game, which takes a non-trivial amount of time).

    But there are also ways to make money around making video games (not only actually making them), such as courses, books, tools, etc. And freelancing is an option (although I would make far less money to start with than building other kind of software where I have more experience, but it would be good practice) in the meantime while keeping trying to make a game that sales well.

    As a road to freedom, I feel sort of guilty for choosing a kind of business that it's only in the edge of being fastlane, instead of a more common/predictable one, as games are actually considered closer to art than to normal software products. This doesn't mean that I can't prototype and validate other ideas while making a game that will take months though.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Envision
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    Envision Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    What do you need advice on? Sounds like a bunch of whining and back and forth with yourself.

    1.Find a need.
    2.Build a product for said need.
    3.Market product.
    4a.Failure? Try Again
    4b.Success? Repeat step 3.
     
  3. garyfritz
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    garyfritz Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I think you're being overly harsh. He stated a problem and asked for advice.

    Your simplistic 4-step process isn't a very good answer for the situation he described. The "build a product" step, as he said, is very long and expensive, and the market is pretty saturated. Your process only helps if the "find a need" step includes research to determine if the need represents a viable market.

    And, on that point: @srodrigo, I'd say your description of the game market suggests pretty strongly that it's not a viable market for a beginner. As you said, success is "very very rare." You can do it for fun if you want ("do what you love") but don't expect to make any money at it. You might love buying lottery tickets, but your chances of winning are minuscule, so you can't consider it a business. Decide if you want to spend your time doing something for fun, or if you want to do something that actually has a chance of making a profit.
     
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  4. srodrigo
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    srodrigo New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks for your reply.

    Some numbers about why the market looks quite saturated: close to 8000 games released last year on the most popular PC store, and over 6.000 this year so far. At least it doesn't look like it's going to double again (4.500 in 2016 and 3.000 in 2015), so it's sort of stabilising, but it's still an average of 20-22 games a day, which is a lot, taking into account that people have limited time and money to spend on entertainment.

    I just made some more research, and found that the sales numbers vary depending on what people consider games with a minimum amount of quality, but the average sales per game are around $2.000 (it goes up to $30.000 filtering out the amateur ones). So it doesn't look great at all.

    There is one other platform (a video games console) that it's less saturated, and actually a good opportunity at the moment (this was my initial plan), but I discovered recently that they don't allow everyone to publish there; you need to be either a well stablished studio, or release a successful game somewhere else so they get interested in a port, which is not my case yet.

    I agree that I should take it as something for fun and not expect to make any money. I will probably take the "risk" at least to make a vertical slice that could be made available to players and see what's the real interest. It shouldn't take longer than 2-3 months, and I can survive in the meantime and think of something else.
     
  5. Fotis
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    Fotis Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    You probably don't know them, but Agora is a billion dollar company selling information products. There's nothing with a smaller barrier to entry than information products (unless someone monetizes breathing) Yet, they rake in tons of benjamins every year.

    How?

    Well, they're great marketers. They find out what people want/need and give it to them. That's fastlane 101

    Yes, you can become rich even if your business endeavor violates some of the commandments. So don't worry about it for now, and get started. The skills you'll gain along the way are worth their metaphorical weight in gold.

    Finally, from what I see, there's not quality marketing being used in video games. I think that has to do with most guys in the niche being programmers, who consider marketing/selling the equivalent of a virus. Who knows, perhaps you can have a big slice of the pie if you focus on marketing along with the creation of your games.
     
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  6. srodrigo
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    srodrigo New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    You are right, I didn't know about Agora, I've had a look just now. It looks like one of many possible companies doing the same thing, so it's a good example of what you mention.

    I totally agree with what you say about marketing. It's true that is not very well used in video games, and, even being a highly tech oriented guy, I'm fully aware and convinced that marketing is the key piece (apart from making a good game, of course) in a quite saturated market. I've been learning about marketing (both general and more specific to games), and made sure I understand what I would need to market a game. I don't have the practice, but that will come as I do it and I will learn from my mistakes.

    I've actually got started already with one of the ideas, I've got some basic prototype with the core mechanic and some squares and circles (this is probably the closest to "quick validation" you can do in this industry..) for one of the games I think could be in demand. I'll test it with as many people I can to see if they consider it fun to play, otherwise I'll look for something else. I've been researching more about how to guess what's a good game to make, from existing games data (sales, genres, trends, etc.), to brainstorm other ideas as well in case this one doesn't probe worth moving forward.

    I remember MJ mentioned in one of his books that when the commandment of entry is violated, you need to be prepared to be among the best. That's fine, and I'll work hard to get there over time. I don't expect making a lot of money (or any money at all) with my first game, but the skills boost will be invaluable.
     
  7. luniac
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    luniac Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    do it, in a few years u either make it big with a game hit or u wise up and start looking for app needs.
     
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