Game Dev Tycoon’s guide – Tips for making a hit game

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Money can go by fast in Game Dev Tycoon if you aren’t careful. You need to consider how much content you put into your games and on what platform. This can reduce your budget (especially monthly costs).

Contracts are available to make your life easier. If you sign one, you can receive over $20,000 in your first year. The only issue is, that taking on contracts doesn’t guarantee instant cash. If you can’t complete them, then you’ll be hit with a penalty that’s typically worth around $8,000.

Contracts are out of your control. You can only watch and pray that the job is done. Starting off with smaller contracts that pay less ($13,000 let’s say) is a good way to essentially guarantee that you succeed. It won’t seem like much but, every dollar counts.

Don’t panic if the negative comes knocking.

So, don’t get me wrong, if you can avoid going into the negative on your account then definitely try your best to do so. However, in the worst case that you stay out of money’s way, then you can survive being below the positive.

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Just make sure to keep finding ways to make money whether it’s through game sales or contracts and try to bring yourself back up above the water. When in the negative, you want to make sure your account doesn’t reach -$50,000.

Your company could become bankrupt if this happens. You can choose to get a loan from the bank but then you’ll need to make sure to pay back more than you received so you have to take that into consideration. Best bet is to just make sure you’re publishing games and doing contracts.

A more expensive platform doesn’t always mean better

Trust me, you are my friend. The new shiny console seemed like a great opportunity to let you in on your games. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always help and can be really costly. In the end, it’s all about how the game scores.

The good thing is that, if your game does succeed on console, you’re going to reel in more dough to stack up in your bank account. But if your game fails, it can make a big dent in your bank account. It is best to understand how different game combinations work before you buy a console.

More solid research

Research is one of the most important activities you can do in Game Dev Tycoon. It opens up new game types and genres. You are only allowed to play four types of games when you start out. These games are randomly chosen with each playthrough.

Research can help you expand your horizons and show your versatility. It will be easier to connect the dots between different game genres and styles that seem to work well together.

There are many genres to explore, so this can open many doors. This will allow you to be creative, which can lead to better results when creating your perfect video game.

Keep it Simple

New gaming platforms (including mobile; hey, hey, that’s us!) You will receive new features as you play Game Dev Tycoon. These are all based on real-world platforms like the iPhone, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. There are also classic systems such as the Dreamcast or NES.

These systems will be available quickly because time is moving fast in the game. Don’t get tempted to jump in on the hottest thing if you don’t feel comfortable, as the price to purchase a developing license for these can be high.

Sticking with PC allows you to save more money as it’s always there. While the market share of PC will fluctuate, there is still a steady revenue stream if your games do well enough. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t develop games for the more expensive platforms. Just make sure you’re comfortable enough with the amount of money you have before pushing forward. The good news is that the developer license can be paid once. You’ll need to pay in order to develop the game on platforms but it’s still much cheaper than the license which can go over $500,000.


This is a great way for Game Dev Tycoon to continue its development. Although it can be costly to build your own engine, it can be very worthwhile. Because you can unlock new features and research them, you can bring some or all of these features into one engine.

This will allow you develop games with many options, such as online multiplayer, save game features, deeper stories, and open-world. Sometimes reviewers will take note of technical improvements such as improved graphics.

Even with older tech, you can still score well if you muster up a good combination but it’s still very important to try to add fresh new things. It makes things more interesting.

Wow, You’re so trendy

Trends are things you see at random in your career with Game Dev Tycoon. These tend to appear when you move into a large office building. These are quirks gamers enjoy, such as the random mix of genres and topics (Farming & Action for example), or the popularity of a specific genre or parental rating.

You don’t always have to follow these but I definitely say to give them a shot. Following these doesn’t guarantee success of course but you’ll receive a much larger sum of money if your game does well while the trend is active.

After a little while, you’ll see a news report pop up saying that the trend is no longer popular and that the market is normalized. Once that happens, then it’s back to your regularly scheduled Game Dev Tycoon programming…for now.

One Time is The Charm

Ahh, so you made your game and you’re sitting comfortably and calmly on a cloud as your game achieves immense success. You made a lot, gained tons of fans, and the critics are raving about it. So you decide to follow the same formula of that game by going with the same topic and genre…the game flops miserably. What could possibly have gone wrong? What could have gone wrong?

Going back and forth with the same combination will automatically penalize your score and result in below-average scores. Sure, you’ll still earn some money but it won’t be as much as you’d hope. Avoid using the same combination twice consecutively. It’s possible to return to the same formula, but you should first play a few other games before you do. We have a list with the best combinations in Game Dev Tycoon so you can have a look if you aren’t sure.

This tip is historic

One minor thing that can sometimes be forgotten is the Game History tab that’s on your menu when you tap the screen. It doesn’t have any major impact and can be overlooked at the bottom menu.

However, when you’re making so many games, it’s easy to forget the topic and genre type you chose for the last game. Check the Game History tab to make sure you know so you don’t accidentally roll with the same combination again as we mentioned before. Get out there and learn from the past.

Practice makes perfect

Game Dev Tycoon lets you hire employees to help make your life easier and reduce your workload. This isn’t our main tip here but an important thing of note is to not hire too many people too fast as this will cost plenty of money in the end. Begin with one employee, and then work your way up to a second.

However, the most important tip is to ensure that your employees are properly trained. You can build a great gaming empire with four to five employees. Great! However, they seem to working pretty slow and so that’s where training comes in.

It can be expensive depending on the training you provide, but it is usually very affordable ($15,000 for employees to read books about technology and game design). In the real world, $15,000 is insane for a book but in GDT, it’s a steal). Also, it’s just worth it, as your crew will work faster and with more efficiency. Training can also be used to help employees who are weak in certain areas.

That’s a great question

Interviews are a small portion of the game that will essentially quiz you and give you some insight. You’ll start to get an interview opportunity from various media outlets every time you begin making a fresh new game.

They will typically ask you “What’s more important for this game type and genre? Gameplay or Graphics?”. After you respond, the article will be released, and “experts” will either agree or disagree with your answer.

You can use this information to guide you when you create a new game with the same combination. It’s small but it’s a really solid insight overall.

Sizing Fun

You will be able to create medium- and large-sized games if you make enough games and do enough research. You’ll need to purchase the ability through research. This will enable you to create larger games with greater detail.

This is where an additional employee or two is really helpful. I recommend at least three employees before you can do medium games. You can do it with just two (yourself and one other person) but you’ll need to assign yourself and the other person to different aspects of the game (gameplay, story/quests, graphics, etc) and that can wear them out.

You’ll see a percentage meter fill-up for each employee indicating their workload. If an employee is working more than 120%, it could indicate that they are getting too busy. The addition of an additional employee makes it easier to assign games of medium length. Just keep in mind that, making a medium doesn’t mean you’ll do well. If the game gets good to excellent scores, you can expect a nice chunk of cash.

Publisher Contracts

This isn’t necessary when it comes to building your video game empire in Game Dev Tycoon but it’s there when you need it. Similar to regular contracts publishers will pay you for a job they choose. They’ll ask you to make games and will tell you what combination, platform, and ERSB rating they’re looking for. They’ll even tell you that the game will need to at least be of a required review score before getting paid.

Once you are able to do the job and succeed, it is a nice amount of money. You will also see an increase in fans. Publishing games will help your game get more exposure. Like all other contracts, your crew will be assessed a penalty fee if they fail meet the requirements.

Again, you don’t need to rely on these all the time but if you feel like giving yourself a fun, risk/reward challenge, then it can be a great way to gain more fans and earn some nice dough in the process. However, it can still be a great way to make a lot of money. I was able earn $14 million from one game. There’s actually an achievement you can unlock for making over $1 million when developing as an independent company.

All the Lights

Marketing your game can help you get more attention in Game Dev Tycoon. You can spend money on advertising your project in magazines or other media. Or you could have a large-scale marketing campaign.

What’s interesting is that you can only do this during the development of your game. As the game will suggest, it’s best to market right in the middle of the process instead of at the beginning or towards the end. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.

If your game performs well, you’ll see a ton of new fans thanks to the hype you built up from the running the ad campaign. If you have good reviews, more interest equals more sales.

We’re going to G3

Ahh, yes, G3 (known in real life as E3). You and your team can attend Game Dev Tycoon’s version of the iconic gaming convention to help you get more fans. You can have a small, medium or large booth.

A large booth will cost you over $1 million and if you’re barely over $2 million let’s say, then it’s not worth it yet. To test the waters, you can start small with a booth of $50,000. This is especially true if you receive the invitation in the middle or development of a game. This will help you build hype for your new game.

And don’t worry, feel free to skip as many times as you’d like if you don’t feel comfortable pulling out the cash. You will receive many more invitations over the course of your long, successful career in game development.

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