Every game developer aspires to create something great, revolutionary, the biggest, best game of the century. However, most of the time they are unable to create their ideal game for various reasons, lack of funding, lack of time, or maybe lack of experience. Whatever the reason, lots of indies never end up completing a larger project. What are they missing out on? If they are missing out on anything at all? Today we will be going over the pros and cons of designing a small game, versus developing a larger title.

Time Commitment.

The first reason that most developers don’t finish, or even take on a larger project is the time commitment. For the most part, indie studios don’t have the money to support themselves for more than a few months without publishing something. This inevitably forces indie studios to publish much smaller titles without finding external funding. They just can’t stay afloat without publishing something regularly and getting a constant revenue flow.

Smaller games are ideal for this, as it is possible in some extreme cases to pump them out as often as once, or maybe twice a month. Even though smaller games may not earn nearly as much as a larger title, because of the shorter development time, and the ability to regularly publish a title often makes them much more profitable in the short term.

Production Costs.

Artists, programmers, musicians, voice actors, and level designers are often required to publish a larger title. What is one thing they all have in common? A price tag. A larger game often requires more people to develop and as such, the costs of development can shoot through the roof quickly. In contrast, a small title can often be completed by two or three people no problem.

While you may sometimes need to bring in a musician, or a voice actor, production costs for a smaller title can be exponentially less than a larger title. However, returns for smaller games are often times much smaller than what the larger title can easily make, provided the studio uses effective marketing techniques.  Check out these best tips to monetize your indie game for some great tips to earn money on your games. Remember, making them the most money for your studio is all about weighing the small production costs vs small return, versus a larger production cost with a larger return.

Management and Planning.

One of the biggest things that can determine whether a game floats or sinks, is the management and planning of the game. I have seen games with great potential sink because they were poorly managed.

Managing and planning a game increases exponentially as the size and complexity of the project increases. Because of this, lots of smaller game studios find a steep learning curve and often run into far more problems than expected when they dive into the deep end with a large game. One way to combat this is to slowly increase the size and complexity of projects you undertake until your studio can tackle even the biggest projects with no problem.


In essence, remember that producing a larger game can have many disadvantages and lots of hard work. However, if done correctly your studio stands to gain much in addition to the accomplishment felt at finally getting that game out there.

Keep designing!
~Andrew Stavast