Join John Romero for an in-depth discussion in this video Do you need a business plan?, part of Start Your Own Game Company with John Romero.
- So making games is a really serious business. It is difficult to make big games. It's really difficult to make any kind of game to completion. It's a lot of work, it's a lot of hard work. It's always nice to know what you're making and what the point is, like why are you making this game, what are you doing with your company. Should you have a business plan. It's a great idea to have a business plan, especially to say that you're forming a company to make Facebook games, that is the goal of the company.
You can deviate from that goal later if it makes sense, but at least it's good for the company and everybody in it to kind of know, what are we doing, what is our point, why are we here. A business plan not only can help say what the point of the company is, but it can also explain the ideals of the company, it can explain here are our goals, we need to have this much income by this date, our revenue needs to be at this point because a lot of companies are around for an acquisition.
Some people just target themselves as an acquisition target for Google or another big game company. So if the business plan is that, you want to state that. And everything you do, you have to think in terms of every decision that you're making, supports that business plan. If you don't have a business plan, and you just want to make games, then you will at some point form a business plan. As an example, with id Software, we had no business plan. We started the company to make games. We didn't even really know what kind of games we were going to make other than, at the very beginning, we're going to make side-scrolling Mario-style games, which is what the Commander Keen series was.
But over time, as we got tired of cute games and we decided to get into 3D and texture mapping and violence, and speed, that started to give us-- We liked that kind of a game much more because it was new and it fed into exactly the kind of gameplay that we'd never had before and we wanted to create for everybody else. At some point, we could have built a business plan around to make the best first person shooters in existence, that could have been the business plan at some point.
Which it kind of did begin, it got to that point. When we were making Doom, that was the only game that we ever specified we need to come up with the best thing that we could ever imagine playing. We never used that for anything else, but that would have been our great business plan for id Software. To make the best games that we could imagine playing. And to increase our reach or our community or whatever we wanted to do as a business plan to add a new important aspect each year.
Like we want to add community support into our games, we want to add a place for people to come to and connect to mods, like people could generate user levels and we could connect those to the game. Those would have been great plan ideas to kind of put into effect. To increase our merchandising, to make plushies of Cacodemons, and Barons of Hell, etc. Like that would have been cool to have something that specified how we wanted to grow the company, but instead it was an organic growth that was reactionary versus deliberate, which is what a business plan usually does.
It lets you specify where you want to go, and you can change it at any time. But at least everybody can look at it and go, we want to be here, so what do we do to do that. Other people in the company, if they know what the business plan is they might have some great ideas that you don't have and help you towards that goal.
For a different perspective on breaking into the game industry, check out the interview with John's wife and creative partner, Brenda Romero, in our Insights with a Game Designer course.
- Creating a business plan for a game design company
- Registering a business
- Understanding the costs of running a game company
- Getting funding from publishers and investors
- Keeping a game company going and growing
- Handling payroll and HR
- Hiring game development contractors
- Developing original intellectual property (IP)