Starting a new game business

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Information about Starting a new game business
Business & Mgmt

Published on February 15, 2009

Author: abyssi



How to start a new game business using our startup Everyplay ( as an example case.
Delivered at the Casual Connect Europe conference, in Hamburg, Germany on 12th February 2009.

Confessions: Jussi Laakkonen Everyplay February 10-12 2009 Casual Connect Europe 2009 Starting your own game business February 10-12 2009 Casual Connect Europe 2009 Full presentation with notes & audio track:

Hi, I’m Jussi!

since Aug 2008 CEO, founder

Main organizer Entrepreneur for 15 years Demo & LAN party with >6000 visitors a year

Business development director Multimillion € deals Produced games Filled the dishwasher Console racing games >3M units sold previously




Why start a (game) business?

Passion – I got to do it!

Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing

Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it!

Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it! Change the world

Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it! Change the world The last great adventure

Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it! Change the world The last great adventure Get rich quick  epic fail

must have killer idea, right?

your first idea will suck .

get over it. get going.







so, my first idea? confessions

” Hype or real deal?” panel virtual worlds, microtransactions heureka! the future of games! confessions

Guild Wars + ” Diablo 2 Casual MMO” & confessions

a ”me too” idea P.S. check out Guild of Heroes on Facebook ;-) killed it early confessions

Just a speed bump. I knew the future! confessions

Look for the opportunity

big risks high growth new audiences mass distribution change in behavior disruptive technology unclear business models something that currently sucks


Customer base Viral distribution Rule changing

Persistent online Virtual goods Flash

Distribution Paying customers Finally mobile doesn’t suck

Persistent online Virtual goods Unity, Flash XBLA / PSN?

Games in non-game apps New domain & customers Unproven

social gaming co-creation with users persistent world virtual goods open web APIs Flash client Does it make a tasty soup? We’ll see... confessions

an idea & promising market =

ideas are a dime a dozen

execution is king


PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!!! So good that they can walk on air!

2-4 founders tech, biz, art, design

because you have to get more done with less

Smart people who get things done Marissa Mayer, Google


Get somebody who hates selling less than starving don’t hire a suit

No assholes A single person can destroy your new company.

confessions Bizdev Sales, marketing Partners Studio mgmt Server lead Game server CEO Product owner Production PR, finance CTO Game client Design Detailed design Game mechanics All art AD


Agile & Lean for EVERYTHING Not just code, but also business and management

All your plans are just guesses

Release early & often Measure Learn Implement

9/10 startups die because they couldn’t find customers

Develop your customers


Don’t worry, be crappy. Guy Kawasaki

We game developers in general SUCK at real user driven iterative development. Radically new stuff for me. confessions

Scrum for production Customer development for biz. confessions Still learning it.

It always takes longer than what you expect. 5 months of iterating, learning. Reduced scope for earlier launch. confessions

So, where do I get the money so that I can start?

nobody said it was easy.

your own savings 1.

Friends & Family 2.

Work for hire games and other industries 3.

R&D tax credits Available in most EU countries Tax credits, grants or loans 15-70% of R&D costs Paid months after costs were incurred 4.

Preproduction grants National, regional & EU wide programs 10 – 100 k€, max 50% 5.

Angel investors Not many ”game millionaires” vs. a lot of ”IT millionaires” Hard – not impossible 6.

publisher advances a.k.a. paying customers Only after you’ve already spent lots of money on the prototype 7.

Seed funds Semi-governmental e.g. VeraVenture in Finland 50-500 k€ SeedCamp, Y-Combinator... 10-50 k€ 8.

Venture Capital Fuel to grow faster. Not for new companies or hit-driven game studios Only for scaleable businesses like MMOs Great if you will be sold for >50M€ in less than 5 years. 9.

2007-2008: VCs invested $1,7 billion in online games Still available for best game businesses.

Own savings Multiplied by public grants and R&D support Started with confessions

Own savings

Multiplied by public grants and R&D support

Our success recipe for public grants & loans: confessions

Strong team Bold vision Game + platform Own money invested Experience with the paperwork Win one, and a snowball effect starts confessions

So, what does it feel like?

Loving every minute! confessions

start smart


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