MemberMarch 3, 2022 at 12:08 pm
Great question! Thanks for asking.
It’s a HUGE jump going from making games as a hobby to trying to go full time. If you’re strictly designing (not publishing or working in any other capacity) and this is your sole income, you’d better have a lot of money in savings that can get you through at least a couple of years and/or a partner whose salary can pay all the bills.
Earning royalties takes a lot of time. Even after you get your game signed by a publisher, it could easily be 2 years or more before it is published and even longer before you receive your first royalty cheque. You may receive an advance but it probably won’t be that substantial. Plus, your game may not become a hit (few make it really big), so unless you’re lucky and your game is an overnight success, you won’t be earning a whole lot. Plus, you’ll likely have expenses such as prototypes, conventions, travel, etc., which will cut into your earnings.
It’s much easier to make the transition if you either (a) already have a hit game that is bringing in some consistent royalties, or (b) you can diversify.
Of course, (a) is pretty self-explanatory. If you are doing this on the side as a hobby and hit it big with one of your games, the transition will be much easier.
With (b), I’m talking about finding something else you’re good at and having multiple streams of income so that you can still pay the bills when you have no royalties coming in (these can be sporadic and there are no guarantees). You might discover you’re a great rulebook editor or game developer or marketer or there’s some other role that you can fill. Or you might decide to self-publish your games and become a publisher. There’s more risk but there may also be more rewards.
It can be a huge hit financially to go to designing games full time, so you have to be prepared for this. That’s my best advice if you’re considering going full-time.
I hope you found this helpful!