Making a living as an indie dev seems like an elusive dream. Many try to hold down a job at the same time, while others burn a hole in their savings to create a game and follow their passion.
To help prevent the creative fire from fizzling out, we have handpicked some easy yet powerful ways of making money as an indie game developer.
The days of coding absolutely every piece of tech in your games are gone. There are many available tools that are meant to help developers move fast, make progress, and be successful. If you are making a game right now, chances are you’ve selected a game engine to work with.
Many game engines have their own asset store where developers can buy and sell a plethora of tools and assets to move faster, or create those things to help other game devs. There are two ways to make money in the asset stores and provide some extra cash flow:
A game engine like Unity comes with a lot of built-in features that are crucial for game development. However, it doesn’t mean everything is ready out of the box. If you’ve created some games, chances are you’ve developed some of your own unique methods and tools to improve your efficiency.
Why not take some of these custom tools and turn them into Unity plugins? That way your efficiency can become the efficiency of others, and create a steady flow of income while you work on your games.
Maybe your skills aren’t so much in the areas of software engineering. Perhaps your real strength is in the creation of character models, level design, animations, sprites, etc. If you are an experienced game designer or have one on your team, providing game assets to the community might be the right way to earn some extra cash.
One fascinating thing about assets is, there is an almost unlimited need for new art, meaning you can always be creating.
Freelancing is just putting your game skills out for hire for a short time. You get paid per hour or project, depending on the way your contract is formulated. Freelancing is flexible, so it could be the right choice for you depending on your availability and skills. There are two obvious benefits to using freelancing to drive some additional income while hard at work on your game.
First, you get to practice and sharpen your skill as a game developer and get paid.
Second, it helps you build a bigger network which you can leverage to later promote your game post-development.
The only downside with freelancing is that it could be time-consuming and take time away from your primary game development goals. However, with some solid time and resource management, you should be able to enjoy the freelancing side quests without sacrificing progress on the main story! 🙂
It turns out that there is a huge demand for instruction on game design and development. Sharing your knowledge is a great way to generate some extra income. Like freelancing, teaching will also help you brush up on your knowledge, and broaden your network.
There are two ways to teach game development:
One is the conventional form where you set up or join a class that uses live sessions (either in person or online). You will need to define or adopt a syllabus (schedule of topics to teach) and rely on lots of in-class discussion between you and your students and a series of assignments or projects. You might get paid per class, or you could get paid for a set of multi-week sessions.
You could also look at developing an online course or even an eBook. There are many platforms that can facilitate either of these efforts. The best part is, once you create the class or eBook, anyone can pay to take it or download it and you can sit back and collect the fees.
We work with many developers who’ve made some substantial side income while they were hustling on their game. We hope some of these ideas will inspire you to explore some opportunities that leverage your knowledge as a game developer to acquire the resources you need to be successful.
Another way to be successful is to reach out to us at Beamable. We’ve built a game platform that makes it easier, faster, and cheaper to bring your game to life with a vibrant set of LiveOps tools in Unity to boost your average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) at launch. We’re here to help you at all the stages of your game dev journey! Contact us!