Sunday 10 September 2017

The (Short) Story of One Almond Games

Some of you might recently be aware that I am in the process of dissolving One Almond Games, a limited company that I created for the purposes of distributing my games.

This video will explain why.

So about a month ago, I decided to get the Steam Direct paperwork done early so I could concentrate on making my game.

I paid the fee, went through the "Onboarding" process when I came to a fork in the path. I could either be a Limited Liability Company(known as an LTD or in the US, an LLC) or I could be a Sole Tradership.

I'll briefly explain the differences between them.

A sole tradership is easier to set up, slightly less formal, but it's much less safe in that if I get sued or go into debt then the UK government will come for my  kneecaps. That sucks, since I need my kneecaps to walk around and such so I looked into the advantages of an LTD.

A Limited Company is safer in that it's its own legal entity. My kneecaps are safe, but the corporation would be forced to give up its non-corporeal kneecaps should I incur any debt on the company's behalf. However, a Limited Company is much harder to set up and keep records on. Jeez, I wish I knew how much harder it was because if I did, I wouldn't be making this video.

For whatever reason, I thought that it wouldn't be too much harder to create a Limited Company so I chose that one. Besides, I'd probably want to create a company like that in the future, so why delay the inevitable?

I fucked around a while and eventually came up with the name "One Almond Games", a reference to popular webshow Jake and Amir. Shortly afterwards, I decided to register the company "One Almond Games".

After a short time spent researching the next step, the step after that, and the next 43 steps, I realized that I'd gotten myself into perhaps a bit more than I realized. There are a lot of caveats and hidden costs to creating a company, you know. A PSC register, shareholding, a business bank account, a Universal Tax Reference, and more things of varying degrees of complexity. Due to the bizarre way that the website is set up, almost none of these things were made clear enough from the beginning.

After enough stumbling, I got over most of this stuff and I was beginning to believe I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That was, of course, until I got to registering a business bank account. In the United Kingdom, we're required by law to keep a separate and special type of bank account for a Limited Company. This is known as a business bank account. Being under 18, I was outright denied by many companies save for Barclay's. Barclay's had a route for under-18s to register a business bank account, but they needed to see me in person to do so. I couldn't do it online.

Well, that should be fine, right?

Not quite, and I'll explain why.

I phoned up, booked an appointment with them, did everything I needed to do. The day before the appointment, I received a phone call from Barclay's asking about my identification documents.

No problem, I'd already applied for and received a provisional driver's license. The easiest form of photo ID since it's cheap and doesn't involve months of lessons to acquire. I just have to fill out a form, pay a fee and get a licence.

However, this form of ID was - for whatever bizarre reason - not accepted by the bank. The person on the other end of the phone was very sympathetic and I don't anything against her, but come on- really? A full driver's licence is fine, but a provisional licence isn't. The only difference between those two documents is how much time I put into it.

So, being blocked from creating a business bank account, I reevaluated the whole situation. Yes, I could continue with the Limited Company, pay more tax, have infinitely more hassle and with little in the way of reward, or I could shut down this company and just go back to a sole tradership.

Fortunately, I'd already registered for self-assessment with HMRC(the UK equivalent of the IRS in the US), so I don't believe I need to do anything else to be registered as a sole trader. Even then, I don't even make any taxable income for a while.

When combined with the already high workload of school, the actual game in question, a YouTube channel, and somehow fitting family and leisure time into all of that, I realized that a Limited Company is neither feasible for me at the moment, nor is it even worth it if it was.

I mean hey, at least I've got some experience with the process as a whole. Should I come back to the idea of a Limited Company in future, it'll be easier and more familiar. I suppose that's worthwhile, if nothing else.

And that, ladies and gentleman, was the story of One Almond Games Ltd.

Either way, thanks for watching and stay tuned for more videos, eventually. Workload is decreasing a little bit since no more Limited Company, but also increasing a lot since school now.

For those of you who don't know how the UK school system works, I've been working through a qualification known as A-levels. Last year, I was dealing with the AS course and this year I'm dealing with the A2 course. The A2 course is significantly more difficult and heavyweight, so I'm not looking forward to this. Wish me luck!

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