3 reasons not to make indie game development your job (Topic)

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3 reasons not to make indie game development your job


In 2015, Alex Nichiporchik, founder and CEO of tinyBuild, wrote an article on why indie game development should not be a permanent job based on his memories. We decided to choose from the material the main thing about the reasons not to turn game development into work, since we believe that it is relevant today.

12 hour working day, low pay, calls at night due to different time zones. Bombing in the middle of the night to check email in time for an ad campaign. Constant crunching and working on weekends is what the author thinks independent game development in 2015 is like.

At the same time, Alex claims that he is not ready to exchange indie development for a standardized working day with five weeks of vacation a year. But he strongly advises against turning the development of your own indie game into work. Instead, it's better to try yourself in different fields, with different people and develop in parallel with how you make the game. To become an indie developer, you have to fail, says the author.

Alex recalls growing up in a time of quick fixes, day-to-day opportunities, breaking boundaries, and the constant evolution of the game development industry. But even if he went to work full-time right after school, he would have failed or, in the worst case, "burned out", and would never return to development.


This is largely due to the biography of Alex, who grew up in Latvia. In the post-Soviet space, you are not familiar with the concept of financial stability. His family lived practically without money. Every day was a struggle for existence in an aggressive society, which is ready to persecute you if you are somehow different from them. If you are offended, no one will protect you. If you lose your job, don't expect any benefits.

At the age of 14, Alex began writing about games, although at school such a talent was considered worthless. He wrote in both USA and English and was read. By the age of 18, gaming journalism led him to work in marketing. After writing, he opened an online store for professional gamers. Alex spent the next 10 years convincing people that they could get rich online, trading stocks and currencies online. All this long experience prepared him to open tinyBuild.


“Let's just find the most challenging color and introduce ourselves. Let's also give out 1000 brightly colored hats! This was our marketing strategy for PAX. Everything seemed to be working well, "recalls Alex.

Due to his knowledge of marketing, he made good deals for the publisher many times. Someone else would have needed preparation for this, but Alex just came, spoke with partners in a simple, understandable language for them, made an offer and without hesitation, signed cooperation papers.

“We often say we don't know what we're doing. And it is true. Why rehearse at E3 the premiere screening of the game for an audience of 250 thousand people? We quickly realized that no one likes polished performances. You yourself should be extremely excited at the presentation. You just need to show everything as it is and believe that the game works. ”


This approach was developed after his team went a long way of trial and error, which was not always associated with the gaming industry. Therefore, it is worth finding a job and sweating on games in your free time.

Video games are a different environment

All this long eyeliner leads the author to the idea that video games are not at all the kind of entertainment that you might have encountered [meaning their creation]. With the game, people can interact directly, and even in ways you cannot imagine. This is why planning a project thoroughly is almost impossible.


Every game you've ever played has gone through hundreds of changes, looks, and it certainly didn't look like what the developers imagined. This is especially felt in AAA projects that are released with errors, bugs and problems [remember Fallout 76 and understand why we consider this material relevant - approx. translator].

All of this is due to tight deadlines and the requirement to release the game at a specific time. Also the development itself has become too expensive. Plus, the audience is evolving. Last year she was on You Tube and this year she was on Twitch. However, soon there will be no space on it either.


Does it look like chaos? It is, and here are three reasons not to develop indie games, and not to climb into this chaos with your head. Or at least not turn development into your own work.

1. Huge stress

If you cannot live with uncertainty about the future, you better not meddle in game development. This also applies to work in the studio, where large projects are created. The development team is constantly growing, and after the game is released, most of the people are fired. This is the norm, it sucks, but this is how it works.

  • Will you eat tomorrow? I heard a supermarket nearby selling instant noodles.
  • You have been working for three years, will anyone notice your efforts? Hardly.

2. Work-life balance is impossible

Work in the office from 9 to 7, return home. Dinner, a couple of hours watching TV or playing, if you're lucky.

  • Time for children? Hah, forget, you don't have them anymore.
  • Hobby? Your job is your hobby!
  • Vacation? Lol.
  • When you are working on your own indie game all the time, even other games turn into work. You need to know how others make the interface, plot, graphics and what gameplay solutions they use. And if you don't monitor, you will be left behind.

More often than not, you'll be so tired that your only resting place is a night at the bar.

3. You will most likely fail the first time

Yes, your first game is likely to fail, says Alex. Therefore, it is not worth spending three years of your life to make the next indie hit. If you accept this fact and are ready to move on after the failure, success may come to you in the future. To do this, you need:

  • A contingency plan called work
  • A lot of patience
  • Be prepared for the previous two points


Prepare for failure and you can succeed

More and more people are leaving for game development. Inspired by the successes of other well-known developers, they hope to repeat their success. And when everyone does the same thing, there is a big bubble that will burst someday. We see more and more projects that have failed because they could not become successful. Only those who are ready for failure can go further, only the most non-standard can achieve success.

The Topic of Article: 3 reasons not to make indie game development your job.
Author: Jake Pinkman