We were going to have a guest post today, but it looks like it’s going to run next week instead—so in lieu of writing something substantive myself, I’m going to suggest you read Lewis Gordon’s Indie Game Makers Open Up About the Money They Actually Make.
The lucky ones are able to make a living from their work but often carry deep funding worries. Others supplement game making with side hustles or entirely avoid the pressure of financial success by making games in their spare time while building other, potentially more stable careers.
You already know that I loved playing Arvi Teikari’s Baba Is You, so I hoped he would be one of the indie game makers quoted—and he is.
I was working on Baba Is You an unhealthy amount. For me, the dynamic was very often my day job, and then when I got home, I relaxed by working on Baba Is You.
Which… on the one hand, that’s kind of how the creative process goes, especially for the significant percentage of people who don’t earn a full-time living from their creative work (no matter how popular or highly regarded). You might remember me writing about how work-life balance for creative types is more like work-work-life.
On the other hand, it would be nice if it didn’t have to be that way. Or if the third-party services through which we purchase these creative endeavors didn’t keep changing the game (PUN INTENDED) on all of us. Apparently indies on Steam are making less money than they used to, thanks to THE ALGORITHM; meanwhile, new subscription models mean individual creators get less money, and so on and so on and so on.
Anyway… go read it, and feel free to share your thoughts and/or your favorite indie games in the comments! Currently I am playing Cosmic Express, a sokoban-esque game about space stations, cute alien critters, and the inefficiencies of public transportation. ❤️