How Do Game Developers Cope With Sudden Windfalls


The Wind Falls All Around


The success of some video games can equate to that of winning a lottery. Practically overnight (or within a few weeks), mobile games with in-app purchases and/or in-game ads can make its development team millionaires. With that type of windfall, where would game developers even start, trying to cope with this new-found financial success and get over any guilt that they feel?

Recently, the New Yorker wrote about game developers experiencing guilt among other emotional turmoil after achieving a financial windfall of massive mobile game sales profit. No where in the article did I read that these developers took any classes about business management or seeking financial advisory prior and after their financial gain. Preparing for success is just as important as experiencing success.

One of the game developers in the article, Rami Ismail, co-developed and released the mobile game Ridiculous Fishing, which made them tens of thousands of dollars overnight. His guilt stopped him from truly “basking in the ambiance”. To cope, he sought out other “made” developers or on the verge of being “made” and talked them through his process of dealing with the new lifestyle.

(Read More: The Guilt of Video-Game Millionaires)

Windfalls may be a dime or dozen but they happen more often than you think. Lottery winners, gamblers, inheritance, business profits, crowd-funding milestones, etc, leave the recipients with massive amounts of money, forever painting over their landscape of what they thought life was all about. They get not just a glimpse but completely involved in what the top 1% of the world experience.


To-Dos – A Quick “What To Do Next” List


1. Don’t Spend. Developers must prepare for the emotional turmoil up ahead and making rash decisions doesn’t help in the long run. Deposit the money in multiple bank accounts and sit on it for about 3 – 6 months.

2. Make an appointment to see a certified financial adviser. It doesn’t matter if they feel their windfall is easy to manage. All windfalls should be managed properly and jointly by them and professionals. If not, they can fall victim to their own enthusiasm and emotions.

3. Be on the P’s and Q’s about friends and loved ones trying to take advantage. People will come out of the woodwork with their sad stories and trying to get handouts. Loved ones, who may really need the money, might put the squeeze on before the right time, to give them something to hold them through their own personal business.

4. Give Back. Think about how to best contribute humanity, the environment and nature. Minor thoughts aren’t allowed, but think on a grander scale. Contributing something that can last hundreds of years and can advance the human race into better rational decisions that improves our way of life AND improves or heals the planet is the better thinking than trying to provide to local churches or getting the 5th new car.

5. Pay Off Debts. This is probably a no-brainer but paying off debts would be one of the things discussed at the beginning with a financial adviser.

6. Create a manageable budget. Also discussed with a financial adviser is creating and managing a budget. If one of the plans is to have income-producing assets, a budget is very necessary. Have a budget for personal and business financial management.

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What Financial Advisers Do


Financial advisers coach their clients into a “Decision-Free” zone and help them stay aware of their emotional states and their ability to make decisions, as defined by certified financial planner Stephen O. Wright of Enrichment Group. He added, “There’s a lot of analysis and planning.” There’s also change management that financial advisers coach in because there are big transitional life changes that are occurring seemly all at once.

Showing Or Giving Support To Your Peers


Other game developers might need help. Here are some ways to help support them in their life changing moments:

1. Go to local meetups. Look at and see if there are any game devs gathering in your local area. Share some tips, give support, receive support and make friends.

2. Create a social group. If there aren’t any existing social communities already for developers in windfalls, then create one. In this way, developers can reach internationally for support and get advice on what to do next.

3. Create a non-profit organization, event, project or website that specifically supports and gathers financial resources for game developers around the world.


Think success. Prepare for success. Live the success. Don’t let success rule your mind, body and soul. Seek support, advice and management to help with windfalls. There’s no need to go at it alone.


Liked my advice and suggestions? What other advice would you give game developers who received sudden windfalls of money?


Sources: The Globe and Mail | CNBC | Luke1428