How to start your own computer games business

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computer games business

Computer games have been around since the 1970s but, thanks to improvements in technology and graphics, they have grown in popularity over the years. Today, computer games have found a bigger audience than ever, and at a time when technologies such as virtual reality are emerging and becoming commonly available, the implications for computer games are infinite. The constantly evolving nature of the gaming industry means that there is increasing scope for them to become even more widespread, so starting a business that caters to gamers is likely to be a lucrative move.

Computer games pass many people by, but for others, gaming is a huge part of their life. To understand just how huge the gaming industry is, lets take a look at some statistics. In 2018, the global video game market was estimated to be worth £90 billion. By 2021, it is expected to reach £108 billion.

Gaming can be a fairly expensive hobby; research shows that the average gamer spent around £95 over three months in 2018 (Statista). This means that the potential for computer game businesses to make money is significant. And you dont just have to stick to selling games gaming businesses can also make money through merchandising, selling branded clothing and figurines, for example.

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Start a Computer Games Business

There are two main options when it comes to starting a computer games business: you can start a business that sells computer games or a business that manufactures them. Of course, if youre to start a business that manufactures computer games, youll need specialist equipment and a team of experts with plenty of experience in the industry. You will be entering a highly competitive market, so if you want to rival other game manufacturers that use the latest graphics, youll need to make sure you have the tools to create a high-quality product.

Starting a business that buys computer games from suppliers and sells them on to consumers requires less specialist knowledge, but you will still need to understand your target audience and be able to market your business appropriately.

Start a business that sells computer games

Lets start with businesses that sell computer games. What do you need to launch one and what do you need to do before launch day?

1. Define your brand. Before you do anything else, you should formulate a clear idea of your business. Will you specialise in a certain type of game? Who will be your target market? Will you create an online business or a brick-and-mortar one? What will your working hours be? Will you recruit staff? Ask yourself these questions and more, so that you know where to go from here.

2. Compile a business plan. Include the answers to the above questions and work out your operating costs and projected income over the first three to five years. You should also disclose information about your proposed marketing strategy and how you intend to secure customers.

3. Get funding. Youll need a comprehensive business plan to secure funding from a lender. When youve been granted the capital you need to launch your business, open a business bank account and keep track of your finances this will be handy when it comes to filing your tax returns.

4. Sort the paperwork. Unfortunately, when you start a business, you need to work within established industry rules and regulations. Obtain the required permits and licences and get business insurance to protect you should something go wrong.

5. Find retail premises. Make sure you choose somewhere with high consumer footfall and that has space for a retail area as well as a stock room and staff toilets.

6. Buy stock. Work out where you can buy your computer games, accessories and merchandise from for the best price.

7. Market your business. Place advertisements in the local area. Because many of your customers are likely to be millennials or part of Generation Z, it will probably be more helpful for you to market your business on social media platforms, rather than in local papers or on local radio stations.

Start a business that manufactures video games

If you launch a business that manufactures computer games, the process is slightly different, as you wont have business premises on the high street or be marketing your products to consumers. Instead, most of your focus during the set-up stages should be on finding the right team of employees to help you achieve your vision.

Creating a computer game involves a huge amount of work and a whole string of people with different areas of expertise. As TRUIC explains:

Designers focus on generating aesthetically pleasing game graphics. Programmers write the game's code. Writers create the game's storylines. Testers play the game in-depth to ensure it doesn't have bugs (flaws). The video game company owner often serves as the overarching manager, delegating work and making executive decisions.

These groups maintain regular communication to ensure that the game is moving in the right direction. If you are to be the business owner, you should have some knowledge of graphic design, computer science and computer programming, as well as an underlying interest in computer games. On top of this, youll need to have the funds to invest in computers, specialised software, games consoles, insurance, business premises and employees salaries.

On the other hand, if you are determined to run your business on your own, you could develop a computer game at home with the right technology and software. However, you should be aware that this is an incredibly difficult venture, as creating a game can take months or even years of hard work, especially if you dont have the support of a specialised team around you. But if you have the facilities and self-motivation, it is possible to create a computer game yourself.

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