How to Make Money as an Indie Game Developer

Read: How to survive the Indiepocalyse when your first few games inevitably flop! 😬

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

So, you’ve chosen the path of the independent game developer. No one can blame you; we all grew up playing video games, and dreaming of working for big companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. These are still viable options, it’s not too late to turn back!

However, to make it as a full time game developer / designer is quite the challenge, and success on your first release is not guaranteed. How can you fund your fledgling game studio while you work on your next masterpiece?

Want to know my mantra for monetizing yourself? Be aware that information is a key commodity you can make some cash off of your years of development and design experience. That being said, here are some appealing, tried-and-true avenues of cash inflow.

Make Video Classes

Potentially the Number One method of gaining passive income as an indie game developer is creating, maintaining, and monetizing on a streaming platform. Be it Youtube, Twitch, Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, or any of the other budding platforms, your best bet for some side cash is through putting yourself out there and sharing your knowledge. This has the dual purpose of also growing your fanbase, you can use your growing Youtube channel to also promote your upcoming and on-sale games.

Write Down Your Words of Wisdom

Blogging is an ancient art by Internet standards, but still a great way to pull in some cash. Ad revenue, subscription models, sponsorships and more are viable options to turn your devlog or technical tips blog into a side income. Start a WordPress blog, apply to Medium’s Partner Program, or create a custom Square Space site — there are more than enough blogging options out there these days.

Take on Contract Jobs

Some studios are very against taking on contract jobs. Out of all of the suggestions here, this is the most time consuming option. However it is also the most lucrative one as well. Creating someone else’s game from start to finish on their dime expands your resume, adds reputability to your studio, and tests out the mettle of your team — consider it a trial for whether you can make it on your own. Upwork, Indeed, Dice.com, and others can provide you with plenty of contractor work to pull some extra dough.

Accept Freelance and Small Gigs

As an immediate follow up — there are plenty of short term gigs out there as well! The odd-jobs vary — everything from writing a prototype for a client, to helping a fellow developer debug their scripts. Fiverr has turned this previously forum-driven system into the mainstream. Check out Freelancer, r/gameDevClassifieds, r/INAT, CraigsList (if that’s your thing), and other sites that provide organic means to find a paid game dev opportunity.

Make and Sell Assets

We’ve all at least seen the Unity Asset Store. Why not put up some awesome library, editor tool, or bare-bones game system up for some extra cash? Plenty of prototypes hit the cutting room floor without seeing the light of day. If you give them some TLC, they are perfect additions to the growing Asset Store market out there!

If you have any additional ways for a scrappy games maker to make it, feel free to leave them in the comments! Try out one or all of these methods!

Freelance game designer / developer. Full stack developer. Board game geek and cat tamer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store