I've been running Reiver Games for three and a half years now. For the first year and a half I was running it as a hobby - making the games by hand in my spare time around a full time job in IT. Two years ago, I decided to give it a go running Reiver Games as a full-time career.
After two years I'm now in a position to determine whether or not I've been successful. For the first three years Reiver Games was both profitable and growing (both turnover and profit growing). This year the turnover will be slightly down on last year and I probably won't be profitable. It's clear that even in the good years I'm earning nowhere near enough money to invest in new games and make a living. My games just aren't selling quickly enough.
I've been in the enviable position of not needing to earn a decent wage for a couple of years, but sooner or later I need to start bringing home the bacon. It's clear the Reiver Games is a long way from doing that at the moment.
So now what? I've got a few options, thanks to my IT training, which can earn a decent wage, and the fact that Reiver Games is not really enough work to keep me busy full-time. My options in preference order are:
- Do some part-time work as an IT consultant through Reiver Games. I keep the company running, continue making games and yet still earn a decent wad of cash.
- Get a full-time job in IT, working for a company that will let me continue Reiver Games in my spare time. Games production will probably decrease but at least it's still going.
- Find a business angel who will invest enough cash in Reiver Games that I can draw a salary from the company.
- Shut Reiver Games down, fire-sell the remaining inventory and get a proper job.
I really want to continue running Reiver Games, so Option 4 is a last ditch that I really don't want to do. Furthermore, to get an IT job I'd need more recent programming experience which I don't have.
Interestingly, I've recently been approached by a former employer to see if I want to do Option 1 with them; and a very famous, very successful web company who were wondering whether I'd like to work with them (Option 2 or 4 - not sure which yet). This company is notoriously difficult to get a job with, so I was flattered to be approached by them, and now have a second interview next week.
To get back into the swing of things I've been doing some online coding exercises at TopCoder and making some progress on the Sumeria computer game. It's almost at the point that you can play it on a single computer (only against human opponents). I'll post when the next version is ready.
Which option will I choose? That depends largely on what opportunities I'm provided with - I'm hoping that one of these two developments comes to fruition, and I can choose Option 1 or 2. Either way I'm going to have to sort something out fairly soon.
If you're disappointed that this sounds like the end of Reiver Games, I certainly hope it won't be - and I hope to be announcing my next game within a month or so.