Do you want to start a game studio and need to write a plan? If YES, here is a sample indie game studio house business plan template & feasibility report. If you are interested in the video games industry and you don’t have the capacity to attract and work with mainstream video games publishers, the good news is that you can still start a business in the industry. One of such businesses is to start an indie game studio.
Indie games are developed by individuals, small teams, or small independent companies that are often specifically formed for the development of one specific game. Typically, indie games are smaller than mainstream titles.
Although you might not make a lot of money like mainstream video games publishing companies, but trust me, with the advent of social networking sites, there are loads of opportunities for you to make good money from this line of business. Below is a sample indie game studio business plan template that will help you write yours within record time.
A Sample Indie Game Studio Business Plan Template
Table of Content
- 2. Executive Summary
- 5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
- 6. SWOT Analysis
- 7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- 13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
1. Industry Overview
In the video game industry, an independent (indie) game refers to games created by individuals or smaller development teams (small teams of video game developers) without the significant financial support of a video game publisher or other outside source.
Indie games studio is grouped under the social network game development industry a sub industry under the video games industry. Companies in this industry develop video games played on a social network platforms, including websites such as Facebook and smartphone applications.
The games developed within this industry are free to play and do not require the user to own any software or console to participate. Companies earn revenue through the sale of virtual goods within a game as well as through advertisements.
Since its inception, the Social Network Game Development industry has grown rapidly. Revenue is anticipated to grow at an annualized rate of 16.7 percent to $3.9 billion over the five years to 2018. The surging adoption of the internet and the popularity of social networks, including social networking websites and mobile apps, have driven revenue growth during the period. Industry revenue is anticipated to rise 14.3 percent in 2018 alone.
The industry’s growth has been stimulated by the emergence of new markets that have embraced social gaming. Social networks and their accompanying technology have placed gaming within reach of the average computer or mobile phone user.
As a result, consumers who have not previously played video games are beginning to participate According to a report published by IBISWorld, the Video Games industry has experienced strong returns to spending on industry products during the latter half of the five-year period to 2018.
While the emergence of low-cost games for mobile devices has slowed demand for other games and may continue to temper growth opportunities in the foreseeable future, industry revenue has picked up amid stronger sales in games, downloadable content (DLC), consoles and their corresponding products.
Over the five years to 2018, industry revenue increased at an annualized rate of 7.2 percent. In 2018, revenue is expected to total $43.7 billion. This growth was assisted by growing consumer incomes and the releases of the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as the Nintendo Switch, throughout the five-year period.
The Social Network Game Development Industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in all parts of the world especially in developed countries.
Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 5,554 licensed and registered social network game development companies (indie games studios inclusive) responsible for employing about 12,593 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $4 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 16.7 percent between 2013 and 2018.
It is important to state that the companies holding the largest market share in the Social Network Game Development industry include Zynga Inc. and King Digital Entertainment PLC. The need to be creative with funding this business is key to the success of the business because indie games are smaller than mainstream video games.
Indie game developers are generally not financially backed by video game publishers, who are risk-averse and prefer “big-budget games”. Instead, indie game developers usually have smaller budgets, usually sourcing from personal funds or via crowdfunding.
2. Executive Summary
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is a licensed indie game development studio that will be located in New Orleans – Louisiana. We have been able to secure a standard facility in a central and easy to locate area in New Orleans.
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is going to be involved in the development of a wide genre of video games played on a social network platform, including websites such as Facebook and smartphone applications. The games developed are free to play and do not require the user to own any software or console to participate.
We conducted a thorough market research and feasibility studies and we were able to come to the conclusion that New Orleans – Louisiana is the right place to start our indie game development studio. Our client’s best interest would always come first, and everything we do is guided by our values and professional ethics. We will ensure that we hire professionals who are well experienced in the industry.
Our workers are going to be selected from a pool of talented and highly creative game developers in and around New Orleans – Louisiana and also from any part of the world as the business grows. We will make sure that we take all the members of our workforce through the required trainings that will position them to meet the expectation of the company and to compete with leading studios in the United States.
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. will at all times demonstrate her commitment to sustainability, both individually and as a business, by actively participating in our communities and integrating sustainable business practices wherever possible.
We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our client’s needs precisely and completely. David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is a private business that is owned and managed by David Lance and other team members. David in has a Degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois.
This Arlington, Virginia native originally attended college to become a video game developer and he has Advanced Professional Certificate in Animation, Graphic Design or Illustration, Certified Professional Animators, Toon Boom Certification and 3D Modeling, Art & Animation Certification.
3. Our Products and Services
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the social network game development Industry. We want to compete favorably with the leading indie game studios in the United States of America which is why we have put in place a competent quality assurance team that will ensure that all our games surpass our customers’ expectations and match-up with international best practices.
We will work hard to ensure that David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is not just accepted in New Orleans – Louisiana but also throughout the United States of America and the all over the world via the internet. These are the services and products that will be made available to our clients;
- Developing a wide genre of video games and social network games such as puzzle games, role-playing and gambling games et al
- Maintaining social network games
- Expanding existing social network games
- Contracting third-party advertisers to reach target demographics
4. Our Mission and Vision Statement
- Our Vision of starting David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is to build a world – class indie game studio that will operate with no creative restrictions.
- We will be known for innovation, creativity, and artistic experimentation.
- Our mission for establishing David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is to build a world class indie game studio that will be known to produce top-notch video games and to become the number one choice for social networking sites.
- We want to build an indie game studio that can favorably compete with other leading brands in the industry.
Our Business Structure
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. intends starting small in New Orleans – Louisiana, but hopes to grow big in order to compete favorably with leading indie game studios in the industry both in the United States and on a global stage. We are aware of the importance of building a solid business structure that can support the kind of world class business we want to own.
At David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. we will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, hardworking, creative, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all the stake holders.
As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our senior management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more as agreed by the board of trustees of the company. In view of the above, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;
- Chief Executive Officer
- Creative Director
- Human Resources and Admin Manager
- Sales and Marketing Executive
- Video Games Designers and Developers
- Client Service Executive
5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
Chief Executive Officer – CEO:
- Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results
- Responsible for providing direction for the business
- Creates, communicates, and implements the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
- Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
- Evaluates the success of the organization
- Serves as project manager of the organization; works directly with employees
- Responsible for designing and approving concepts for video games production for client
- Develops strategic plan by studying technological and financial opportunities; presenting assumptions; recommending objectives.
- Maintains quality service by establishing and enforcing organization standards.
- Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications/journals; establishing personal networks; benchmarking state-of-the-art practices; participating in professional societies.
- Makes certain that production and development department perform efficiently, coordinate employee efforts, and facilitate communications between management and staff
- Ensures that the organization works in line with international best practices.
Admin and HR Manager
- Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
- Maintains office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
- Ensures operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; calling for repairs.
- Defines job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
- Carries out staff induction for new team members
- Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
- Responsible for arranging travel, meetings and appointments
- Oversees the smooth running of the daily office activities.
Sales and Marketing Manager
- Manage external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
- Models demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer
- Identifies development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts
- Responsible for handling business research, market surveys and feasibility studies for clients
- Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
- Creates new markets cum businesses for the organization
- Empowers and motivates the sales team to meet and surpass agreed targets
- Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
- Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports
- Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
- Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting for one or more properties.
- Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
- Responsible for administering payrolls
- Ensures compliance with taxation legislation
- Handles all financial transactions for David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc.
- Serves as internal auditor for David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc.
Video Games Designers and Developers
- Designing the layout of the game
- Making edits based on feedback
- Writing code to turn the designer’s concepts into a playable game
- Programming the game’s terrain
- Programming artificial intelligence for non-player characters within the game
- Creating code, editing code, incorporating artwork into the game, enabling online access and creating game menus
- Balance and adjust gameplay experiences to ensure the critical and commercial success of the product.
- Solicit, obtain, and integrate feedback from design and technical staff into original game design.
Client Service Executive
- Welcomes clients and visitors by greeting them in person or on the telephone; answering or directing inquiries.
- Ensures that all contacts with clients (e-mail, walk-In center, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
- Through interaction with clients on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
- Consistently stays abreast of any new information on the organizations’ products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to potential clients when they make enquiries
- Receives parcels / documents for the company
- Distributes mails in the organization
- Handles any other duties as assigned by the human resources and admin manager.
6. SWOT Analysis
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. employed the services of a core professional in the area of business consulting and structuring to assist our organization in building a well – structured indie games studio that can favorably compete in the Video Games Development industry in the United States.
Part of what the team of business consultant did was to work with the management of our organization in conducting a SWOT analysis for David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. Here is a summary from the result of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc.;
Our core strength lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient animation artists, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in various niche areas in video games design and development.
Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected workforce, we have some of the latest and efficient software apps and equipment and of course our work output and services will be guided by international best practices in the industry.
As a new indie game studio in New Orleans – Louisiana, it might take some time for our organization to break into the market and gain acceptance especially from high paying video games players in the already saturated Video games development industry; that is perhaps our major weakness. Another weakness is that we may not have the required cash to promote our business the way we would want to.
Video games players must have internet access to join social networks and play games. Increased broadband coverage translates to more potential industry customers and higher revenue. The number of broadband connections is also a good proxy for the number of households that join social networking websites.
A higher number of people connected to the internet drives increases in social network adoption. The number of broadband connections is expected to increase in 2018, representing a potential opportunity for the industry.
Leading into 2015, there was a concern that the rise of easy-to-use tools to create and distribute video games could lead to an oversupply of video games, this was termed the “indiepocalypse” which will likely pose a threat to us. With increase in the numbers of consumers that access social networks through their smartphones, game developers that optimize games for mobile devices can boost revenue by encouraging game use on the go.
An increased number of mobile internet connections facilitates this kind of use. The number of mobile internet connections is expected to rise over 2018, but it is quickly approaching saturation, which indicates a potential threat to the strong revenue growth of the past five years.
7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- Market Trends
If you conversant with happenings in this line of business, you will agree that the nature of indie game development had existed since the rise of the personal computer in the 1980s through shareware. Indie gaming saw a rise in mainstream popularity in the latter half of the 2000s, due to new online distribution methods and widely available game development tools.
The rise was also spurred on by several influential games released during the 2010s, such as Super Meat Boy, Fez, Braid, Minecraft, Undertale, and Cuphead. Indie development saw a resurgence in the early 2000s, principally driven by the availability of online distribution, allowing game developers to sell directly to players and bypassing limitations of retail distribution.
Software technologies used to drive the growth of the World Wide Web, like Adobe Flash, were available at low cost to developers, and provided another means for indie games to grow. The new interest in indie games led to middleware and game engine developers to offer their products at low or no cost, in addition to open source libraries and engines.
Dedicated software like GameMaker Studio and tools for unified game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine removed much of the programming barriers needed for a prospective indie developer to create these games.
Lastly, while direct online distribution helped indie games to reach players, the arrival of online digital game storefronts such as Steam and GOG.com further boosted awareness of indie games, as these storefronts allowed developers to publish, update, and advertise their games directly, and players to download the games anywhere.
8. Our Target Market
When it comes to indie games studio business, there are no exemption to who you can market your services to especially finished video games. Your video games can be marketed to a wide range of video game players especially via the internet.
In view of that, we have created strategies that will enable us reach out to a wide demography of video game players who we know will need our services. We have conducted our market research and survey and we will ensure that our indie game studio attracts of popular game players all across the globe via the internet.
Our Competitive Advantage
The competition in the video games development industry is getting stiffer by the day, you have to be highly creative and come up with creative games, concepts and good interface in order to survive in the industry. The video games development industry is indeed a profitable and at the same time a highly competitive industry.
We are quite aware that to be highly competitive in the video games development industry means that you are not only expected to be able to deliver consistent and highly creative video games, but you must be able to meet set targets.
Our Competitive Advantage lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient video games designers and developers, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in various niche areas in the video games development industry.
Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected workforce, we have some of the latest and efficient software and equipment and of course our work output and services will be guided by international best practices in the industry.
Lastly, all our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category in the industry. It will enable them to be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our business aims and objectives.
9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
- Sources of Income
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the video games development industry and we are going to do all it takes to meet and surpass the expectations of our clients. David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. will generate income by offering the following services and products;
- To fund the game, we will rely on or start a crowd-funding campaign, finding a publisher, and building community support while in development
- Developing a wide genre of video games and social network games such as puzzle games, role-playing games and gambling games et al
- Maintaining social network games
- Expanding existing social network games
- Contracting third-party advertisers to reach target demographics
10. Sales Forecast
One thing is certain, there would always be social networking sites who would want an indie game development studio to develop games and host on their platforms, and of course there would always be game lovers looking for creative video games to play.
We are well positioned to take on the available market in the video games development industry, and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income/profits from the first six months of operation and grow our indie game studio to enviable heights.
We have been able to examine the indie games development market, we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. Below are the sales projections for David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc., it is based on the location of our business and of course the wide range of our services and target market;
- First Fiscal Year (FY1): $250,000
- Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $400,000
- Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $750,000
N.B: This projection was done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.
- Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy
Video game distribution is shifting towards online marketing. For developers, online marketing is much more profitable and more readily available than retail marketing, although distribution portals have been criticized for collecting a large portion of game revenue.
Our sales and marketing team will be recruited based on their vast experience in the Video games development industry and they will be trained on a regular basis so as to be well equipped to meet their set targets.
Our goal is to grow David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. to become one of the leading indie game studios in the United States of America which is why we have mapped out strategies that will help us take advantage of the available market and grow to become a major force to reckon with not only in New Orleans – Louisiana but also in other cities in the United States of America.
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is set to make use of the following marketing and sales strategies to attract clients and win animation videos contracts;
- Leverage on the internet to promote our video games
- Engage direct online marketing and internet digital distribution options of our games
- Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied people who have played our video games
- Market video games at various indie game trade shows, such as Independent Games Festival and IndieCade.
- Pitch our business at Indie Game Jam (IGJ) (Indie Game Jam (IGJ) is an annual event that allows indie game developers to experiment and present ideas without publisher restrictions).
11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy
We have been able to work with brand and publicity consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market. We are set to become the number one choice in the whole of the New Orleans and beyond which is why we have made provisions for effective publicity and advertisement of our indie game studio.
Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc.;
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote our products and services
- Install our Billboards on strategic locations all around New Orleans – Louisiana
- Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
- List our indie game studio in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise our indie game studio in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all our staff members wear our branded shirts and all our vehicles and trucks are well branded with our company logo et al.
12. Our Pricing Strategy
At David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. we will adopt the pricing system that is obtainable in the industry but we will ensure that we keep the prices of our video games a little below the average market rate by keeping our overhead low and by collecting payment in advance. In addition, we will also offer special discounted rates to all our customers at regular intervals.
- Payment Options
The payment policy adopted by David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America.
Here are the payment options that David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. will make available to her clients;
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment with cash
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money
- Payment via Point of Sales Machines (POS Machines)
- Payment via check
In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our client make payment for video games and sponsorship without any stress on their part.
13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
The cost of setting up an indie game development studio can be relatively expensive for new entrepreneur especially if you are all out to start a standard indie game studio. Aside from the money required to purchase the latest software, gadgets and production equipment, you would also need a huge cash base to be able to attract and pay professional video games designers and developers
Essentially, this are the area we are looking towards spending our start – up capital on;
- The Total Fee for incorporating the Business in the United States of America – $750.
- The budget for liability insurance, permits and license – $2,500
- The amount needed to acquire a suitable Office facility with enough space for standard indie game studio in a business district 6 months (Re – Construction of the studio facility inclusive) – $100,000.
- The cost for equipping the office (computers, laptops, projectors, printers, fax machines, furniture, telephones, filing cabins, safety gadgets and electronics et al) – $2,000
- The cost of launching our official website – $600
- Budget for paying at least 5 employees for 2 months and utility bills – $50,000
- Additional expenditure (Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions et al) – $2,500
- Miscellaneous – $10,000
Going by the report from the market research and feasibility studies conducted, we will need about three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) U.S. dollars to successfully set up a medium scale but standard indie game studio in the United States of America.
Generating Funds/Startup Capital for David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc.
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is a private business that will be owned by David Lance and some partners. They decided to restrict the sourcing of the startup capital for the business to just three major sources.
- Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings and sale of his stocks
- Generate part of the startup capital from friends and other extended family members
- Generate a larger chunk of the startup capital from the bank (loan facility).
N.B: We have been able to generate about $100,000 (Personal savings $85,000 and soft loan from family members $15,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $250,000 from our bank. All the papers and documents has been duly signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited.
14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy
The future of a business lies in the number of loyal customers that they have, the capacity and competence of their employees, their investment strategy and business structure. If all of these factors are missing from a business, then it won’t be too long before the business closes shop.
One of our major goals of starting David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. is to build a business that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running.
We know that one of the ways of gaining approval and winning customers over is to develop highly creative and interesting video games and to offer sponsorship or our video games a little bit cheaper than what is obtainable in the market and we are prepared to survive on lower profit margin for a while.
David Lance® Indie Game Studio, Inc. will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and retraining of our workforce is at the top burner of our business strategy.
We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.
- Business Name Availability Check: Completed
- Business Incorporation: Completed
- Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
- Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
- Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
- Securing a standard office facility plus renovation of the facility and construction of a standard indie game development studio: Completed
- Application for business license and permit: Completed
- Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
- Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
- Generating part of the startup capital from the founders: Completed
- Writing of Business Plan: Completed
- Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
- Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
- Design of Logo for the business: Completed
- Secure trademark for our products: In Progress
- Printing of Promotional Materials: Completed
- Recruitment of employees: In Progress
- Purchase of the needed computers, laptops and other video games development gadgets: Completed
- Purchase of the needed furniture, office equipment, software applications, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
- Creating Official Website for the business: In Progress
- Creating Awareness for the business: In Progress
- Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
- Establishing business relationship with vendors and key players in the industries: In Progress