Should I try to go full-time game dev?

andymc

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
Longtime User
I'm stuck. I'm making a nice side income from mobile games I've written with B4A, mostly from one game, my Space Invaders clone. It's about 1/6 of what I'd need to go full time and quit my day job.

My day job is working in a large company as a Cloud Devops engineer, using Azure. I'm learning cloud technologies and working toward becoming a cloud architect, which can earn up to £100k or more, which would be great as I'm married with two kids.

but I have this nagging idea in my head to take making games full time, I think I could write a series of retro arcade games based on the classics, then write "deluxe" versions with more features than the original, this has worked well with Space invaders for me, the classic version pulls in 80% of the income, with the upgraded versions bringing in the rest. There's probably a dozen or so games I could do this with, so I'd have over 24 games in total by the end to work with (before anything new).

But what if I put all that effort in and the games don't do well? What if I fail? How can I get round these thoughts? I'm already busy enough with my family and day job, so trying to develop all these extra games will be a big toll on me, but it could work out in the end?

What would you all do?

Another thought in my head, does anyone want to come in on this with me and help out? I have 60k installed users to work with, and 14k downloads a month, so it should be possible to grow this base and introduce new games to existing players. I'm using B4A and libgdx, I've not touched iOS yet at all.


NOTE: Due to some responses, I need to add this, I'm really looking for advice from people that have had some success (over 500,000+ downloads) and making some real money from apps.
 
Last edited:

Star-Dust

Expert
Licensed User
I'm stuck. I'm making a nice side income from mobile games I've written with B4A, mostly from one game, my Space Invaders clone. It's about 1/6 of what I'd need to go full time and quit my day job.

My day job is working in a large company as a Cloud Devops engineer, using Azure. I'm learning cloud technologies and working toward becoming a cloud architect, which can earn up to £100k or more, which would be great as I'm married with two kids.

but I have this nagging idea in my head to take making games full time, I think I could write a series of retro arcade games based on the classics, then write "deluxe" versions with more features than the original, this has worked well with Space invaders for me, the classic version pulls in 80% of the income, with the upgraded versions bringing in the rest. There's probably a dozen or so games I could do this with, so I'd have over 24 games in total by the end to work with (before anything new).

But what if I put all that effort in and the games don't do well? What if I fail? How can I get round these thoughts? I'm already busy enough with my family and day job, so trying to develop all these extra games will be a big toll on me, but it could work out in the end?

What would you all do?

Another thought in my head, does anyone want to come in on this with me and help out? I have 60k installed users to work with, and 14k downloads a month, so it should be possible to grow this base and introduce new games to existing players. I'm using B4A and libgdx, I've not touched iOS yet at all.
If you become a game developer you will not be able to go on only with arcades of yesteryear.
It is a constantly evolving sector, there are always new games with extraordinary graphics and the user after a while gets bored and looks for new things.

So in order to hold up you always have to innovate, update graphics and create new games. This also means having others to help you.
A graphic designer, a game designer and a tester. In addition to the fact that you will have to think about marketing and advertise your products.
Otherwise over time the users will decrease and then disappear.

The job you have is safe and can only improve. The work you would like to do, you must have a structure that allows continuous evolution, and in any case does not guarantee you a positive outcome.

I personally prefer a turbulent flight with a safe landing rather than a smooth flight and an uncertain landing
But ...
great successes started with a huge gamble ... so you have to decide, knowing that you will decide the future of your family
 
Last edited:

andymc

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
Longtime User
If you become a game developer you will not be able to go on only with arcades of yesteryear.
I know that. I'm also interested in writing some educational games for children. The quality I see on most educational games is terrible and could easily be improved.

It is a constantly evolving sector, there are always new games with extraordinary graphics and the user after a while gets bored and looks for new things.
That's sort of true. But new players are always discovering older games and trying out retro games. Users will disappear, but new users will replace them. My theory is if you stick close to popular games, player swill find them. but if you do different things, players don't find you and you end up in the pile of indie devs with no players.

I could keep doing my main job, but reduce it to part time as my games income increases. I know it's a risk and might not work, but every says to follow your dreams, so I have to try.
 

epiCode

Active Member
Licensed User
Life is about constantly adapting
I lost my job because of Corona.
Then sold masks to survive.
Now learning to code.
What everyone thinks is secure can fizzle out in seconds.
What nobody wants to do can suddenly become highly valuable thing to do.
Change is only constant.
Key is to be always moving in some direction.
As for your decision, nobody will be, and should, tell you what to do.
Decision should be yours.
Just think of what would you want to do, which in future, when you look back, will make you happy, irrespective of how it pans out.
Wish you luck !!!
 

ilan

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
I'm stuck. I'm making a nice side income from mobile games I've written with B4A, mostly from one game, my Space Invaders clone. It's about 1/6 of what I'd need to go full time and quit my day job.

My day job is working in a large company as a Cloud Devops engineer, using Azure. I'm learning cloud technologies and working toward becoming a cloud architect, which can earn up to £100k or more, which would be great as I'm married with two kids.

but I have this nagging idea in my head to take making games full time, I think I could write a series of retro arcade games based on the classics, then write "deluxe" versions with more features than the original, this has worked well with Space invaders for me, the classic version pulls in 80% of the income, with the upgraded versions bringing in the rest. There's probably a dozen or so games I could do this with, so I'd have over 24 games in total by the end to work with (before anything new).

But what if I put all that effort in and the games don't do well? What if I fail? How can I get round these thoughts? I'm already busy enough with my family and day job, so trying to develop all these extra games will be a big toll on me, but it could work out in the end?

What would you all do?

Another thought in my head, does anyone want to come in on this with me and help out? I have 60k installed users to work with, and 14k downloads a month, so it should be possible to grow this base and introduce new games to existing players. I'm using B4A and libgdx, I've not touched iOS yet at all.

every day i ask myself the same question. i really want to give it a chance for about 6 months and if it does not work i can get back to my job (in the same factory or elsewhere).

it is very hard to do both. i do work on projects but i stay every day until 1-2 am and the progress is still too slow.
but if you would ask me if you should quit your job i would say not at this period. especially because of this:

I'm learning cloud technologies and working toward becoming a cloud architect, which can earn up to £100k or more, which would be great as I'm married with two kids.

i would recommend you to become first a cloud architect and after you have archived that you could take a break for few months and if it doesnot work for you you can go back to your current job.

Another thought in my head, does anyone want to come in on this with me and help out? I have 60k installed users to work with, and 14k downloads a month, so it should be possible to grow this base and introduce new games to existing players. I'm using B4A and libgdx, I've not touched iOS yet at all.
can you give more info?
 
Last edited:

KMatle

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
My two cents:
My day job is working in a large company as a Cloud Devops engineer, using Azure. I'm learning cloud technologies and working toward becoming a cloud architect, which can earn up to £100k or more, which would be great as I'm married with two kids.

So NO. Keep it as a nice side job or hobby. If one of your apps get's you more money than expected -> good. If not -> no risk.
 

Sandman

Expert
Licensed User
This is a big discussion, and I don't really have time for it at the moment so you'll just get my thoughts without any nuances. Sorry about that.

Stay at your job. The most drastic change that I would consider acceptable would be to scale it back to ~60% and work there three days per week and put two into your games. (Assuming it's something that one can do in your country/company,)

The only acceptable reason for leaving your job completely is if you are so insanely attractive on the job market that you can easily get a new job of equal value if you decide to give up on games and go back to a traditional employment again.
 
Let me add my 2 cents. There is insane competition in games development. Big companies are spending millions in game development for various consoles and mobile platforms. It is very rare for independent developer to succeed. Most are just 1 game hit and then they fade away. Moreover, game trends are rapidly changing from simple games to AR and VR and whatnot. Unless you already have enough fund to retire, it is better to stick to your current job.
 

cklester

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
Stay at your job.

Agree with this! Stay at your job and work on the games on the side. Once you are making more from your game dev side hustle, you can consider quitting your full-time job.

I only say this because you have a family to support. If you were single, I'd say quit and go for it (if you have back-up money)! 😁

If you have a ton of money set aside to provide for the family for the next 12 months, then sure... give it a try!
 

rabbitBUSH

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
You're in the same space that authors / artists / ... find themselves when trying to decide whether to go full-time. It also faced anyone in someone else's employ who decided to resign (hopefully with another prospect lined up) / gets retrenched.

I tend to agree with previous posters above having been there. My own solution was changed : my attitude to time-management - kept the job.

But, if you still want to put the ANGST to rest one-way-or-the-other think of it this way . . .
I'd have over 24 games in total by the end to work with
1. How many games would you need to have in order to have a sustainable income covering your overheads? 24/50/100 - bearing in mind the unpredictability of the quantum of installs. ((Have you done a business plan based on what-if spreadsheet (overheads, proposed continuous development of equipment, inflation on costs, crashes [the B4XCode problem] and disaster recovery costs etc. etc.))

2. How many new / cloned games can you come up with per month (yup per month) and post to the store? In the attempt to create a body of sustainable (new) paying installs.

3. What is the experience of yourself or other developers you know regarding - annual relicensing - in order to combat the one-purchase-many-installs issue?

4. Is your spouse prepared to be the main breadwinner?

In the vein of @Sandman -> better quantify your marketability in the ongoing / future.

If you can answer those to your spouses satisfaction - then its your choice - - - - best wishes.
 

LucaMs

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
I think I could write a series of retro arcade games based on the classics,
"Rare" cases are as successful as your "Space invaders". You can't rely on that.

Your...

GemDrop - Block Puzzle​

100+ Downloads.
 

tufanv

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
I was working with my dad in 2014. While I was there, I had coded a speedometer app in android which was making 3 to 4 dollars / day. I was 26 and I was not married, so I had nothing to lose so I started to develop full time in my home. For 3 years, I tried to make games, apps and nothing worked. I was really worried that I had to go back to a work which I don't like much. Suddenly, one of my finance app started to earn well with ads and that kept me motivated. That app has now around 750K downloads and 14k ratings with average 4.6 points. I have around daily 50k users which makes some good revenue. I am trying to keep that app as good as possible but I tried really hard, I didnt sleep many nights, I am a dad now with 1 month old daughter and the day she was born, all my servers went down due to a technical problem in one of my b4j code. If I didn't fix it asap I would lose half of my users in 1 day probably so I stayed awake after 48 hours of no sleep in hospital.

Long words short, making a new app these days and make it popular is too hard. Keeping a good app in the top of charts is also to hard. I don't want to discourage you because you can code a perfect game and be a millionaire, also you can build a perfect perfect perfect game but be nothing. You should have a backup plan in case of anything.
 

ilan

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
reading all posts again we can see that all of us have the same opinion of being more careful.
so keep trying, but don't rely on google ads. they can at anytime close your account with any excuse they will find and you are stuck.
it happens already to too many developers. I try lately to work on projects that will not earn from ads because I cannot build a business on them.
it is too risky!

It's fun to make games i really like it but i never earned anything from them and i really did a lot!
but again sometimes you make an app that gets really well but the problem is that it is only temporary.
 

udg

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
Another option: sell your games.
I mean, you design and publish a game. Then use it as a "demo" to a big company and sell it.
What you will earn will pay for the time you invested in the project, give you good-enough extra money, shift any risk on them.
Yes, eventually they'll be able to earn millions while you earned a lot less, but there are good chances they will hire you (full o part-time) to design new games.

I understand that for most programmes (if not all) a program is like a child, but consider that any father wants the best for his child. Let it grow and reach success. You will still be the father (oops, the author).
 

Sandman

Expert
Licensed User
you can code a perfect game and be a millionaire, also you can build a perfect perfect perfect game but be nothing
This is so good that it's worth repeating. Do not underestimate luck as the main factor to your success.
 

andymc

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
Longtime User
This is so good that it's worth repeating. Do not underestimate luck as the main factor to your success.
Yeah, I'm well aware of that. I've published a number of games already and see massive differences in download numbers.

I'm really interested in hearing from people who have actually made a good income from games on mobile. I know they exist. But this thread does at least backup the main point raised by any book or video that talks about taking risks... most people will try to convince you not to, and to play it safe, stay in your lane and not try anything risky. Obviously I'm not going to quit my job unless I'd made a good amount of savings from writing games, I would want at least six months income and a steadily increasing stream coming in before making that move.
Maybe this forum needs a section for those of us making a good income from our apps and just want advice on how to increase that. There's a lot of users here who make the odd app, but don't really take it anywhere and don't get many downloads, but then try to give lots of advice to others when they've not succeeded themselves. It feels like my workmates giving me advice on running when I'm running marathons and they can't even run a mile.
 

LucaMs

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
There's a lot of users here who make the odd app, but don't really take it anywhere and don't get many downloads, but then try to give lots of advice to others when they've not succeeded themselves. It feels like my workmates giving me advice on running when I'm running marathons and they can't even run a mile.
😳👎
 

ilan

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
There's a lot of users here who make the odd app, but don't really take it anywhere and don't get many downloads, but then try to give lots of advice to others when they've not succeeded themselves. It feels like my workmates giving me advice on running when I'm running marathons and they can't even run a mile.

if you ask a question and want only a specific group of people to answer your question then you should write it down. it's not nice to ask the opinion of others and then write what you have wrote above.

EDIT: i also don't agree with your statement. take for example NBA coaches. there are very few coaches that were basketball stars but still raised big stars in the NBA. or for example in the Olympics. not all coaches have won a gold medal but still give advice to athletes how to win the gold medal. so your statement is
B4X:
Not(true)
 
Last edited:

andymc

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
Longtime User
if you ask a question and want only a specific group of people to answer your question then you should write it down. it's not nice to ask the opinion of others and then write what you have wrote above.
I know, sorry, sometimes it just feels like there's members here who talk a lot but haven't actually produced much. I get it at work too and it bothers me. I know you can know about things but not have done it, but sometimes people can be so assured of themselves with no real evidence. And I know there's a lot of good apps that don't get anywhere, and sometimes their good apps, but then with others, you can take a look and quickly see why they didn't succeed, or that the developer didn't do anything to market them, just released it hoped for the best. Steam is a good example, you see devs complaining the chances are low of making money selling games on steam, but then it's full of shovelware rubbish, that just puts players off buying anything they don't recognise. Or the game is so obscure that no one ever sees it, at least with aiming at classic arcade remakes, I'll get some downloads from players looking for those types of games, other wise, no one will find you game from just browsing the app store. It's frustrating, but that's how the world of "making money with games" works. Look at Halo Infinite, on the surface, it's just another FPS among hundreds, but it's got the hype and marketing, so it succeeds, there's plenty of much better games that no one ever plays, and that's sad, but it's the real world and that's how things work. the best games are never the most popular, same with movies and music, the music charts are always full of very similar songs all copying each other, same with movies, all sequels, and lately all based off comics that are decades all, nothing original. Okay, rant over. ilan, you have some good games, so I take your advice.
 

ilan

Expert
Licensed User
Longtime User
the problem is that what a "good game" is, is up to the player and not the developer.
i agree with you that marketing is the key for success but the big question is how do you know that your game is really good that it is worth investing in advertisement?!

i have a friend that bought an app for about 3,5k $ but invested in marketing about 5k $ and guess what he never get his investment back. i warned him but he did not listen.
you really need to invest a lot of money in marketing to see results and i know it because Google Admob Israel called me and wanted to make a campaign on one of my apps they told me it has a lot of potential the problem is that they told me i need to invest about 25000 shekel (about 7.5k $) / month to see results. i don't have that amount so i decline. the real problem is how to know that i have a great game and it is worth investing in it? :confused:
 
Top