Distribution Publishing under a real name vs. a pseudonym vs. a studio name?


I'm getting close to the point where I feel comfortable submitting my game to be listed on Steam, but I'm still not sure what name to use as a developer. I intended to use my real name for the sake of simplicity, but my real name is so individual that when you google it, the first thing that pops up is my dad's home phone number and address. I go through once in a while to request the information on those kinds of sites be taken down but new ones always seem to crop up (this whole listing of private information publicly really should be illegal, the fact that I have to routinely check for these things myself is ridiculous, but I'm getting off topic), and the last thing I would want if this game or any game took off would be for potential fans to have access to that kind of private information.

But I don't know the legalities of using a pseudonym or a studio name instead. Do these things need to be registered legally, for tax purposes or some other reason? I realize I can do more research into this myself, but I figured I would check here and see if any of you guys had gone through the process already and have any insights.



šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Do these things need to be registered legally, for tax purposes or some other reason?
This sort of thing is likely to be different in every country.

Writers have been using pseudonyms for centuries (Robinson Crusoe was originally reported as being an autobiography written by the titular character, for instance, and so was Gulliver's Travels) so there's a pretty big precedent that it's culturally acceptable. Legally, Steam would still need your real personal info (so they can bank-transactionify you) but since most games has a studio name instead of a personal name, it seems like this info is separate from the public name.

Registering a LLC (Limited Liability Company, which is the smaller cousin of an Inc. (Incorporated)) company definitely lets you legally use a different name, and has other benefits, but again this varies between countries. If possible, get your legal advice from a local legal / financial professional instead of random hobby game developers on the internet.

Side note, EU citizens' personal info is protected by the GDPR and can only legally be used if it's necessary for the company's operations (e.g. customer records) or if the person has given consent to the usage, or if it's anonymized to the point it can't be used to identify the individual. Whatever's happening to your dad fails on all these points. (But I suppose you live in the US and it doesn't apply to you)
I can only speak to what I know about American law which is precious little. To do business under a name other than your legal name, you need a DBA (which stands for "Doing Business As"), you can Google how it's done in your state and the cost ranges from $10 to $100. Other countries have a similar concept (trading as, etc.) so again, look up how it's done where you are.