5 Years Old

I can hardly believe it myself, but Streaming Colour is five years old today! Five years ago today I arrived in Toronto after moving back from Vancouver, sat down at my computer, and started my indie career. When I started Streaming Colour I had no idea if I’d survive for five years. It was a gamble. I had a left a good job as a senior programmer in the console games industry and I was taking a big risk. My goal was to build the business to the point where I was making a livable income after five years. Not be rich, just making enough to keep doing what I wanted to do.

It has been a very long and very short five years filled with lows and highs, and everything in between. Being an independent game developer definitely hasn’t been easy. In fact, it has been a huge struggle at times. But it has also been incredibly rewarding on a personal, professional, and creative level. There are few things as creatively rewarding as taking an idea in your head and turning it into something that people can experience for themselves.

Over the past five years I have taken on some really interesting contract work. I’ve spoken at conferences in Guelph, Toronto, and San Jose. I wrote a chapter in a book on iPhone development. I moved to Guelph, Ontario with my amazing wife, and we’ve had two incredible children. Through it all, I somehow managed to release seven games/apps. I’m not releasing any numbers today, but these are those games ranked from most revenue to least, for those curious:

  1. Finger Tied (Oct, 2012)
  2. Baby’s Musical Hands (July, 2011)
  3. Dapple (Feb, 2009)
  4. LandFormer (June, 2010)
  5. Monkeys in Space (Nov, 2009)
  6. Dirty Diapers (Dec, 2010)
  7. Finger Tied Jr. (May, 2013)

Update: A couple of people on twitter were curious about relative revenue. Here’s a graph showing each game/app as a percentage of total revenue earned on the App Store:

Game Revenue Percentage

Breakdown of revenue by percentage of total App Store revenue. Accurate as of 2013-07-08.

I have learned some hard and important lessons about developing games on my own. I’ve learned some very hard lessons about marketing and PR. I feel like I’m getting better every day at what I do, and I intend to keep learning and improving with every game.

After releasing Finger Tied last fall, one thing I realized was that I really missed working with other people. Working on one’s own gives you a lot of creative freedom and choice, but it’s also really difficult to see the big picture at times. Late last year, Matt Rix and I teamed up and started prototyping some game ideas. He and I had worked together a couple of times at TOJam in Toronto, and we decided we’d see if we could make a game together. Earlier this spring we founded a new company called Milkbag Games and we’re currently hard at work on our first game: Snow Siege. It has been a fantastic experience working with Matt so far and I think Snow Siege is going to be a really great game.

Finally, I wanted to extend a big thank you to everyone who has supported me and Streaming Colour over the last five years. If you bought my games, offered encouragement, talked with me about game design at GDC or 360iDev, or just sent a friendly message of twitter, thank you! Nobody can do this alone, not even those of us who work alone. I wouldn’t still be doing this if not for all of you. Here’s to the next five years!

Owen

6 Responses to “5 Years Old”

  1. James says:

    Cheers Owen! :) Here’s to the next 5!

  2. PJ Cabrera says:

    Congratulations, Owen, on this milestone!

  3. The new game looks really fun, Owen! Keep up the good work. Congrats :)

  4. Tom Ortega says:

    You’ve always been an inspiration to me. I’m still doing more contracting than I am indie game making, but I’m hoping this is the last year that’s true.

    Keep up the good work and being the great person that you are.

  5. Colm says:

    Congrats! Five years is quite the milestone

  6. Congrats on your new milestone!…P