5 Indie Game Funding Success Stories

Allison Bokone
Allison Bokone
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Last updated on January 29, 2024

Over the years we have worked with developers of all sizes. From those encounters, we know indie game funding is one of the biggest challenges to releasing games. Today, we are highlighting five successful indie games and the various types of funding they used to bring their games to market.

We also link to additional funding sources to showcase the array of options – and we also want to call out that often you can use more than one source to achieve your funding goals. Combine a successful crowfunding campaign with a game venture capital, for example.

We hope by sharing stories and tactics from successful indie game devs that you will be inspired to find the funds to make your game a reality.

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Studio: Astral Clocktower Studios

Title: Kristala

Funding Source: Kickstarter

How They Found Success:

Astral Clocktower Studios is a fully women-owned studio that ran a very successful kickstarter campaign when their personal funds were depleted and they still hadn’t found a publisher. Because they started the project as a self-funded studio, their first title, Kristala, had already been in development for three years when they began their Kickstarter campaign. This allowed the team to give a summary of the significant groundwork already laid and a detailed list of what was needed to complete the title. The team was actively engaged with their community during development on Discord, and that participation continued on Kickstarter. They also made their campaign fun and exciting by having many levels of stretch goals that they revealed as previous goals and feature funds were “unlocked.”

Looking Back, Their Advice:

“The most important thing we’ve learned when it comes to game funding is to never be afraid to fail. Be willing (and eager!) to put yourself out there and to explore every possible avenue you can when it comes to making your project a reality. Whether it’s spending time designing a killer pitch deck to present your game to publishers and investors – or prepping content for an epic crowdfunding campaign to rally your community behind you – you truly never know where your source of funding might come from. Put in the hard work, make the valuable connections, and seek out the alternative avenues so you can get your game in front of the right people…with the right message. You may hit hundreds of dead ends along the way, but it only takes one single, solitary path to lead you to that metaphorical finish line.”

Other Similar Funds: Indiegogo, Patreon, Republic (formerly Fig)

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Studio: Asantee Games

Title: Magic Rampage

Funding Source: Google Indie Games Fund

How They Found Success:

Asantee Games is a small Brazilian studio founded in 2012. They released Magic Rampage in 2013 and opened their first office in 2018. Like others, they started as a self-funded studio, but as their game continued to grow the team realized they needed additional support to continue enhancing Magic Rampage at the level and quality they envisioned. As an Android game developer, Asantee Games applied for several of Google’s Indie Games programs. In September 2022 they were selected to join the Indie Games Accelerator Class of 2022, a 10-week mentorship and education program to assist high potential game studios in reaching their potential. In November 2022 Asantee Games was also named one of ten studios chosen to receive the Indie Games Fund which supports small games studios based in Latin America.

Other Similar Funds: ID@Xbox Developer Acceleration Program, Indie Fund, UK Games Fund

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Studio: Bluecurse Studios

Title: Snacko

Funding Source: Epic MegaGrants

How They Found Success:

Bluecurse Studios is a husband and wife team that is creating Snacko, a game that blends 3D-world aesthetics with 2D-character pixel art. In 2018, Creative Director Erisa Liu and Lead Programmer Jordan Gonzalez were in the middle of developing Snacko. They traveled to GDC (Game Developer Conference) to learn, make connections, and promote their game. That same GDC, Epic – creators of Unreal Engine – announced their new Epic MegaGrants program. Erisa and Jordan immediately applied and a few months later were among the first recipients. As personal funding had been dwindling, the grant allowed them to both continue focusing full time on Snacko until they found a publisher.

Other Similar Funds: ESA Foundation Grants

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Studio: Sutemi Productions

Title: My Work is Not Yet Done

Funding Source: Indie Game Publisher Raw Fury

How They Found Success:

Spencer Yan is the developer behind Sutemi Productions and has shared online how he successfully pitched his game My Work is Not Yet Done to publisher Raw Fury. His first piece of advice is to run a successful Kickstarter campaign. While you might not raise enough money for your intended budget and salary, Yan says Kickstarter is still a way to get the attention of publishers. Another way Yan leveraged Kickstarter was by posting monthly updates. Through these monthly updates Yan articulated plans for My Work is Not Yet Done and was able to demonstrate dedication and consistent progress over time. Yan also suggests using social media as a place to interact with publishers, not just fans, and to approach prospective publishers as partners – go into meetings knowing what you want for your game and what you want from them as publishing partners. Having a clear understanding of what you need to make your game successful will prevent you from entering into a publishing partnership that isn’t the right fit.

Other Similar Funds: Chucklefish, Curve Games, Devolver Digital, Headup Games, Humble Games, Team17, TinyBuild, Whitethorn Games

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Studio: Ariel-Games

Title: Pocket Ants

Funding Source: In Game Ads

How They Found Success:

Ariel Villafane is the developer behind Ariel Games who created Pocket Ants as a solo, self-published game for Android and iOS. On Reddit Ariel shares her background and the long road she took to releasing the game she had always wanted to play – an updated version of “SimAnt.” Ariel shares that she wanted to make the game enjoyable without being pay-to-win, so she turned to in-game ads to offer users a path to advance more quickly by earning rewards for in-app purchases. This was an idea she had tried with an earlier game release and she was able to reuse some of the code and build on her previous ideas to make Pocket Ants the experience she wanted. Having ads and in-app purchases also gives Ariel a more sustainable business model (vs. a one time sale) and allows her to continue focusing on making games full-time. 

Other Similar Funds: Various types of Ads

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Allison Bokone
Allison Bokone
Allison Bokone is an instructor at Miami University in Ohio for the Computer and Information Technology department, specializing in process and DevOps. Prior to teaching, Allison worked at Microsoft for 18 years, first as a Technical Writer, then as a Program Manager and Director at Xbox. In her last role she was a regular contributor to MicrosoftGameDev.com.
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