Top Tips For Getting Game Development Funding
Getting funding for your game development project can be challenging. Here, we break down some of the challenges in securing game development funding and how to manage it.
Challenges in Securing Game Development Funding
Struggling to Secure Funding
Securing funding is difficult. There is a lot of work you have to put into preparing demos and market research to back up your pitch to potential investors.
Not Sure How to Find Backers
Finding backers is difficult if you don’t know where to look. Building up your presence and connections in the game development community is critical to finding backers for your project.
You might manage to secure funding, just to have the project cancelled. And then you need to start all over again to get the funding you need to build your game.
With challenges come opportunities. As people are staying at home due to COVID-19, there’s more demand for games than ever. And that brings lots of opportunities, especially for indie studios and startups.
Funding Is Just One Game Development Challenge
In our State of Game Development Report, we share the biggest challenges in the industry today — and how successful teams are dealing with them. Get the full insights from over 500 of your peers.
Game Development Funding Options
There are different avenues you can pursue to get game development funding. Here are some of the most common ones.
Many indie studios start with funding from the founder — you. Instead of quitting your current job to work on your game full-time, you’ll keep it. But, this means you’ll have to work twice as hard. You’ll work at your current employer during the day. And you’ll spend nights and weekends working on your project.
This can be a good way to get started, until your project is far enough along to secure funding.
Publishers are a great option to fund your project. After all, publishers have tons of experience launching and promoting games.
But, it can be tricky to get in front of publishers. If you’ve worked on hit games, it’s easier to go to a publisher and pitch it. If you haven’t, then Unity has some great recommendations on this, including attending industry events such as GDC. And always be ready with a pitch. You never know when you’ll meet a publisher.
Investors are another traditional option to pursue for funding. Investors might be venture capitalists (VCs) or angel investors. Angel investors could include friends, family, or other acquaintances.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to approach friends and family for funding. Make sure they understand the risk and your passion for the project. You don’t want to risk burning bridges if you aren’t serious about following through.
Here’s a directory of angel investors that you could pursue for your project. Just make sure you have a solid pitch and plan before you approach an investor.
Crowdfunding for game development is growing in popularity. And it provides some unique opportunities for indie studios and start-ups. Anyone can set up a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter.
Where crowdfunding gets tricky is in promotion. You need to have a really good strategy for promoting your crowdfunded game.
Grants are another source of game development funding that you can pursue. Many organizations — including Unreal and CryEngine — offer grants for indie studios.
These grants can be competitive. Your project will need to have progressed far enough to have a chance of winning a grant.
Before You Pursue a Funder…
There are challenges with all of these funding options. And to succeed with any of these funding options, there is a lot of work you’ll need to do first.
How to Get Game Development Funding
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to successfully secure game development funding.
1. Create a Great Idea
First, you need a great idea for your game. It should be unique. And it should have a great hook. But an idea isn’t everything.
You won’t get funding just for having a great idea. You’ll need to put the work in to bring the idea to life before pursuing funding.
2. Start With Self-Funding
While you’re working on your idea, it’s wise to keep your day job. Use your paycheck to self-fund your game until it’s far enough along to get funding from other sources.
3. Build Your Team
There’s only so much you can do on your own before you need to enlist the help of others.
Every great game needs the following people behind it:
- The person with the idea.
- The person with the development skills.
- The person who has the money — or knows how to get it.
Struggling to find one of your team members? One way to do it is to participate in the open source community. Contributing to someone else’s project is a great way to meet someone you can collaborate with on your own project.
Once you’ve found your team, it’s important to start collaborating. This might include working asynchronously. And it should include getting together for meetings. With technology like Zoom, it’s easier than ever to get your team together to collaborate — even if you can’t be in the same room.
4. Develop As Much of the Game As Possible
Once you have the team, you need to develop as much of the game as possible before pursuing funding.
You’ll need to:
- Test the idea.
- Build some code.
- Create a prototype.
To do this well, you’ll need the right tools:
5. Pursue Other Funding Options
You want to get as far as possible in development before you get funding. Once you’ve hit that point, it’s time to put together your prototype and pitch — and start pursuing funding from:
Ease Your Funding Burden With the Right Game Development Tools
You can’t wait to get funding to build your game. But you can get started with the best tools for free while you’re small — and scale up as your team gets bigger.
Version control and project management are both important tools for building hit games. And Perforce offers both for free for up to 5 users.
Free Version Control: Helix Core
Perforce version control — Helix Core — is the tool of choice in game development. Helix Core is used by 19 of the top 20 AAA game development studios, as well as countless indie studios.
Game development teams rely on Helix Core to version their digital assets and code — and keep everyone on the same page. Plus, Helix Core scales unlike any other version control tool. So, as your project, team, and files grow, Helix Core scales with you.
Free Project Management: Hansoft
Hansoft is the only Agile project management tool built by game developers for game developers.
Game development teams around the globe rely on Hansoft to conquer deadlines and manage their backlog. Plus, Hansoft allows teams to mix methods, practicing Agile, Waterfall, and hybrid methods of development.
Get Helix Core and Hansoft For Free
Helix Core and Hansoft are available for free for up to 5 users in Perforce’s Indie Studio Pack. You can get started with these best-in-class tools today. Use them to build the impressive prototype you need to secure funding in game development.