Welcome back to the Blightmare Dev Blog!
This week, we’re going to be talking about what a lot of people dream about, but aren’t sure where to start… making your own game studio.
When we started our journey creating Blightmare, we were a small group of developers with a set of ideals about making games. Most of us had spent some time in the industry, and had seen some things that we either we disagreed with, or believed that there was a better way to go about doing.
So after a discussion amongst ourselves, we decided that we should start the work of creating our own studio.
We’ve learned a lot along the way.... We’ve certainly learned the hard way that starting a company is no easy task. There’s a lot to overcome, a lot to think about, and a lot of complexities to creating a company that you really don’t know about until… well, until you make one.
This will be an ongoing series on starting a game studio, so we’ll touch on a few different topics each time we revisit it.
Let’s dive in
Before we go any further, lets’ throw an asterisk on this right away, and say that this shouldn’t be considered business advice. We’ll talk about our experience and things we could have done better, but you should always talk to a qualified professional (lawyers, while expensive, are going to be really important in starting your company), rather than just reading a blog and saying “hey, I can start a company”. TRUST US on this.
If we’re going to start, we might as well start with something kinda complex and scary.
Incorporation can be complex, and there are a lot of nuances that you may not understand if you choose to incorporate.
Now, you may not need to incorporate. For example, you probably don’t need to incorporate if:
- You’re just one person, doing indie development on your own
- You’ve just started developing your game, and you don’t think you’re going to ship it for a while
- You don’t think your game is going to make very much money (you’re self publishing to a small audience, for instance).
But when might you want to incorporate?
- You’re developing a game with partners and co owners (corporate bylaws help a lot with establishing ground rules for working together)
- You’re going to be applying for funding (Grants and other funding bodies will generally not grant money to unincorporated companies)
- You’re going to be releasing your game soon and you think it’s going to do really well
- You’re looking for investment from outside parties
- You’re planning to publish your game on a major platform that requires you to be incorporated or registered as a tax entity
Filing articles of incorporation isn’t all that complicated. There are plenty of services that are available online that will do it for you (for a fee). You can also fill out the paperwork yourself and file it for a small fee (this is how Plateau did it).
Because we’re a Canadian company, most of what we talk about will be related to starting a company in Canada, so depending on your location, this information may be more or less relevant to you.
If you choose to file, here’s some things you’ll want to prepare for (additional work you’ll be taking on):
- You’ll need to do a bunch of other applications for services if you’re planning to pay staff, apply for government funding, or register for publishing platforms
- Corporations have filing and registration requirements. These are going to be different depending on where you are, but you may be adding a bunch of work to your team that you want to prepare yourself for
- Seriously, there’s going to be a bunch of paperwork you probably don’t want to do.
In the next “starting a game company” blog, we’ll toss aside the boring “how to fill out paperwork” and move on to the much more exciting (and challenging) world of finding and raising money.
Until next time!
The Plateau Games Team