I lead a studio of 5 friends plus myself working on an unreleased game in our free time, and we have had no prior discussions regarding pay. Until now, we have essentially been operating under the premise of a Non-Agreement Agreement without actually signing contracts (but I am going to draft one soon). This is nice while a game is in early development, but there will come a time when the game is ready for release and we have to determine payment. This has been weighing on my conscience recently, so I am turning to you all for assistance.
Here are some thoughts of my own.
Divvy up all of the revenue by percent based on time contributed
- What happens if somebody quits? Do they get royalties?
- Some might feel that their work is more valuable than another’s, causing tension
Same as #1 but set aside a certain percent for hiring contractors as needed
Pay an equal hourly rate that adjusts to the game’s monthly revenue
- Avoids the problem of paying somebody who quit
- Does not account for pre-release work. Do we pay for pre-release work after the fact?
- Still based on time, so some might feel that their work is more valuable than another’s, causing tension
I would appreciate any feedback on the ideas above as well as your own advice and prior successes/failures. As this is my first time leading a game development team, I don’t know if it is too early or too late to be asking these questions. If that’s the case, let me know too.
EDIT: In reading back my post, it seems to be a major red flag that I haven’t discussed this with my team yet. I will bring it up at our next meeting, but I am still curious to know what has worked for you and what hasn’t.