I have been asked I few times regarding my income (i.e. game sales) and what I am doing all the time. Basically, as some of you know, “Noble Master Games is a single member company, it’s more or less me doing most of the work. I spend about 10-12h/day including weekends (sometimes I take a day off) developing games, programming, fixing bugs, marketing, talking to customers, keeping up-to-date with latest tech, contributing to open source projects, coordinating with contractors, paying bills, accounting, maintaining servers, posting in forums and so forth. I generally contract out all the artwork, music, translations and modding out if I can. I have a few great artists, musician and modders I work with. I couldn’t do it without them!
So now, how much did I make in 2012 (in US Dollars) based on my taxes filed?
Gross Income: $162'324 Expenses: -$130'755 Taxes: -$15,324 ----------------------------------------- Total Income: $36,246
Please note the Gross Income refers to all income (about 99.5% game sales) over all games and platforms (see below). I don’t have any other income. The Expenses include to a large part contract payments for art & graphics, music, translations and modding. A large portion of it is used too for hosting fees/internet, marketing, accounting/financial transaction fees, hardware (e.g. devices for testing), software (e.g. Photoshop), developer fees (e.g. Apple), business fees, phone/fax and smaller office expenses (e.g. paper, stamps & the like), personal retirement payments and health insurance. A small portion has been used to fund open source projects or sponsor tournaments (e.g. Age of Conquest).
So basically this leaves me with a total of about $36,246 for personal expenses such as food, rent, utilities, transportation, personal entertainment and such, i.e. my personal income. To be fair, the Expenses includes about 40% of my rent and my utility bill as I am able to deduct it from taxes but the rest has to come off from the $36,246.
Based off my actual income, I can make more money working for a company, for example Google, than working for myself, so why am I doing it? First of all it is to a big part “fun” to have your own company and develop games. Also, there is no boss to report to. Although I spend a lot of time working, I can choose freely when I want to take a break. So no, I am not complaining. I am not poor but I am also not bathing in Champagne. I wish I could afford to hire 1 or 2 people full-time to work together with as things can get lonely at times. Generally, it’s difficult to say if I am able to continue doing this in the future as it the actual income is little bit low to sustain over a longer period of time. Also, it doesn’t look like sales will increase this year unless I am able to complete a new game soon. Demise of Nations is planned for release towards the end of this year.
If you like strategy games and you like to see more of it, please don’t pirate but support the following games.
- Age of Conquest: a medieval Risk-like turn-based strategy game (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS). Includes ONLINE multiplayer.
- Tropical/Desert Stormfront: a modern real-time strategy game (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS). Includes multiplayer via LAN/internet
- Demise of Nations: in the making. Follow my twitter feed @noblemaster for latest updates.
Please note, you are not only supporting me, but you also support all the people I work with (which I prefer to pay decent so they don’t have to starve) including Antony Hager (Artist), Nick Lee (Artist, previous), Sean Beeson (Music) amongst many others. Also, you indirectly support 3rd party companies which products and services I purchase (software, hardware, internet services). You also support Open Source projects, namely libGDX and LWJGL, two excellent projects amongst many others out there.
Feel free to comment or ask questions! Thanks, Christoph, a.k.a noblemaster.