There’s something we don’t talk about a lot, the quiet truth about the game business. Everywhere you go, every time someone even mentions wanting to start a game store or be a designer or a publisher, we talk about failure. About how hard it is to succeed, the difficulties and challenges, the need to understand our motivation, heck, even the drop in our lifestyles. And that’s all true, but it’s the truth that everyone tells you. Here’s the quiet truth that no one wants to say, but frankly I think a lot of people already know this.
It’s possible to succeed.
Look around – there are individuals at every level of the game industry who have succeeded at making gaming their livelihood. Just to drop a few names that seem to be doing pretty well in this business:
Designers – Reiner Knizai, Martin Wallace, Friedman Friesse, Alan R. Moon.
Publishers – Steve Jackson Games (designer too!), Zev from Z-Man Games (before he sold his company and probably now…), Jay from Rio Grande.
Retailers – Ray from Black Diamond Games, James Mathe from Games Universe, locally here – Drexoll Games which has been around for 20+ years, Sentry Box in Calgary, etc.
Some of these individuals have done very, very well – Reiner Knizai, Alan R. Moon and Steve Jackson come to mind. Others are probably doing decently well. You too could be one of these lucky few…
It’s just not likely.
It’s that not likely part that everyone stresses though, the improbability of you being the success story. Sometimes it’s an honest desire to save the individual some pain, other times it might be a selfish desire to see less competition. All too often, people wander up without the slightest notion about what it takes to be a success in the gaming industry; and everyone piles on to tell them they have no business in the industry because they haven’t done their research. That’s true too…
Yet it doesn’t change the fact that it’s possible to be successful. At every level, both new and older individuals have made a success of their lives in the gaming business. It’s likely you won’t be supping with Warren Buffet but there’s no reason you can’t make a living, even a decent one, if you are willing to put in the work.
It’s just likely to be a lot less likely and a lot more difficult than you thought it’d be.
But it’s possible.