Business of Indie Games

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Class Details

May 31, 2021
6:00 pm EST

Virtual Class

Course Overview

This course is virtual. Upon enrollment, instructions to attend the class will be sent approximately one hour before the class begins.

Going indie is an exciting and risky venture: but don’t go alone, take this business guidance tailored specially to indie game developers with a three-day bootcamp dedicated to honing your business goals and acting on them.

Starting a game studio entails more than just filing some paperwork and opening a new separate bank account. It is an entrepreneurial journey, on top of the creative journey that is actually making a game, which often entails enormous shifts of how you view money, time, and interpersonal relationships.

Taught by an experienced business of games consultant who has owned multiple companies and served in CFO, producer, and funder roles.

Course Structure

Day 1: Formalizing a business and getting it off the ground

  • Defining your goals as both a game maker and entrepreneur
  • Choosing a business entity, tax, administrative, and legal implications
  • Name searches, legally protecting your work and marks, and understanding how liability shielding works
  • Analyzing what those “business failure rate” statistics actually mean, particularly in deference to game developers
  • Nuts and bolts of recordkeeping as a business and forming SOPs: Tax; Legal; Managerial; Dev logs; Properly crediting talent; Communications
  • Finding teammates and talent: Employee vs. independent contractor distinction , Risks and benefits of foreign owners and talent
  • Professional positioning
  • Terrible Advice I’ve Heard From Accountants and Lawyers, Repackaged for the Reality of Independent Game Making : How personal and business tax returns are used in the search for funding ; Capital structure vs. income


Day 2: Sources of game funding and building your presence

  • Getting into groups–forming dev teams and coming up with a game idea
  • Thorough discussion of traditional and alternative funding sources: Banks; Alternative lenders and credit; Publishers; Investors; Grants; Work-for-hire and sponsorship; Crowdfunding
  • How to establish business credit
  • Government funding and COVID-specific aid
  • Crafting an elevator pitch
  • Pitching investors vs. pitching publishers: How much you should have invested in your project ; Making a business case ; How many person hours actually went into making the game?
  • Building a brand: Branding exercise
  • Marketing and PR vs. getting in the games press: How game devs can define target markets


Day 3: Stakeholders of the game industry and non-financial aspects of indie developer life

  • Decision-making and stakeholders
  • Dealing with lack of systemic support for indie game developers
  • Time management when shifting to entrepreneurship
  • What talents do you hone yourself, or send out?
  • Making the game with resources you have vs. resources you cannot access
  • Forming professional relationships within and outside of the games industry
  • What happens to your personal life upon going indie
  • Navigating the brave new world in the wake of divorce, friend loss, or familial tensions upon making an entrepreneurial shift


No prior knowledge is required for this course.

Your Instructor

Rachel Presser is a game developer, writer, business consultant, and game and film producer from The Bronx. Rachel runs Sonic Toad Media and Consulting which is dedicated to helping people understand the business of games, and empowering indie developers and other creatives to transform their careers and quit their day jobs. A former tax accountant, she helps indie developers with marketing, business, and taxation issues and also does B2B consulting and project management for organizations interested in working within the gaming industry. A frequent contributor to Gamasutra, her work on business and developer relations is often featured and she wrote the first and only book dedicated to game developer taxes. Rachel is currently working on the visual novel It’s Different When It’s Your Own and starting up a film production arm called Amphibious Concepts.

Course Schedule

  • Monday, May 31st, 2021
  • Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021
  • Monday, June 7th, 2021


The classes will be on Zoom. All students will receive instructions on how to sign in approximately one hour before the first class begins. Please do not unsubscribe from our email communications until you receive a link to the classes.

Enroll Now To Join Us

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