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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessIndie Game Sales Figures and Postmortems
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ryansumo
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« Reply #100 on: January 19, 2017, 09:56:24 pm »

Hi, I wrote a blog showing our sales stats so far here:
http://www.squeakywheel.ph/blog/2017/1/18/political-animals-sales-statistics

tl:dr version:


We needed to sell about 10000 units to break even, but sold less than 3000 so far.


91% of our sales came from Steam.


Chinese localization of your game might surprise you at how well it boosts your sales.


88% of our sales came from Windows, 11% Mac, 1% Linux


We have a huge discrepancy between people that have wishlisted the game and actually bought it. leading us to believe they're waiting for a much lower price.


Our relatively uninteresting sales graph!


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WarpQueen
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« Reply #101 on: January 24, 2017, 12:55:39 am »

Hi, I wrote a blog showing our sales stats so far here:
http://www.squeakywheel.ph/blog/2017/1/18/political-animals-sales-statistics


Very interesting, thank you for sharing! I especially find it interesting that you had a rather high percentage of mac buyers. In my experience, that number is usually around half. I hope you can do a relaunch or something and reach break even!
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ryansumo
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« Reply #102 on: January 27, 2017, 03:46:39 pm »

Hi, I wrote a blog showing our sales stats so far here:
http://www.squeakywheel.ph/blog/2017/1/18/political-animals-sales-statistics


Very interesting, thank you for sharing! I especially find it interesting that you had a rather high percentage of mac buyers. In my experience, that number is usually around half. I hope you can do a relaunch or something and reach break even!

Thanks!  Glad you found it useful.  I dug a little deeper into our experience with China whilst encouraging devs to really push for the Chinese market with a new blogpost:
http://www.squeakywheel.ph/blog/2017/1/24/go-east-why-indie-game-developers-should-sell-games-in-china-while-they-still-can

tl:dr China was in 2nd place when it came to total units sold during our Steam Winter Sale experience.

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kuroro
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« Reply #103 on: January 29, 2017, 08:02:30 pm »

Well I'll still post my own post-mortem here, despite what I said, because I don't feel it really deserve its own thread :D It probably won't be very interesting for people already seriously invested in game dev, but maybe for aspiring and beginners, if any come by here Smiley
http://3-50.net/post-mortem-red-skies/

Hey read your post. I know its an old post, the numbers in the appstore felt so low, I kinda feel like the golden age of app-store releases on both iOS/Android is pretty much over. Just curious to get your thoughts on the FB messenger HTML5 games distribution platform. Your game looks like it could fit well for that. Do you or does anyone here know if its a good alternative to launch games there (not necessarily for making money, but bringing awareness to your actual games in mobile/steam, etc..) ?
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Grhyll
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« Reply #104 on: January 30, 2017, 05:11:48 am »

ryansumo > Thanks for sharing! I kind of feel sorry for you, after all that work, but somehow it's a reminder that as developers, we're not entitled to anything even with hard work Sad


kuroro > The golden age is clearly over indeed. It doesn't mean, however, that there's nothing to do anymore with mobile, it just means that you'd better have a seriously kickass app and godly marketing abilities (and a good pinch of luck) if you want to succeed; my game had none of that, so it's not a surprise it failed!
As for the platform you're talking about, sorry, I don't have a clue about it!
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WarpQueen
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« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2017, 07:38:08 am »


Thanks!  Glad you found it useful.  I dug a little deeper into our experience with China whilst encouraging devs to really push for the Chinese market with a new blogpost:
http://www.squeakywheel.ph/blog/2017/1/24/go-east-why-indie-game-developers-should-sell-games-in-china-while-they-still-can

tl:dr China was in 2nd place when it came to total units sold during our Steam Winter Sale experience.


Really great blog post (again!), welcome to my RSS-feed. Smiley I'll take a look at this again once we hit localization time!
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Kyzrati
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« Reply #106 on: February 02, 2017, 12:19:32 am »

I had a lot of thoughts to share about pricing, and wrote up an article covering my strategies, accompanied by juicy DATA Smiley. "Pricing a Roguelike." Once again, still not on Steam, but this shows what's possible in early access with a niche PC game, without Steam...

One of the main graphs I analyzed:
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VampireSquid
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« Reply #107 on: February 08, 2017, 03:00:06 pm »

Kyzrati,

Interesting that you are able to charge this high a range given the pricing you see on steam.  I think the catch is you have such a unique niche game.  Regardless it is some proof that the indiepocolypse more applies to generic content.  Thanks for sharing.
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Kyzrati
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« Reply #108 on: February 09, 2017, 01:11:10 am »

Niches are a good place for small indies to be since the big boys won't go there, plus the low overhead combined with a somewhat higher price means it's possible to make a living with only a reasonable number of players.

I can say that if I took the original price directly to Steam, there would be a lot of negative attention for it. One more reason to not go there to begin with Tongue
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TheElementalist
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« Reply #109 on: February 17, 2017, 11:19:44 pm »

Kyratzi, I really enjoyed the full article on Gamasutra that you linked out to.  Very interesting.  I am interested in how you have pulled such an audience while staying off Steam.  Clearly the Roguelike fan base is still strong but I am specifically interested in what types of social marketing are helping you maintain your momentum?  How much time do you spend on social media in a typical day to keep attention?
Cheers,
Zack
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Kyzrati
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« Reply #110 on: February 18, 2017, 05:50:42 pm »

Coincidentally we had a discussion about some of this over on r/roguelikedev. So you don't have to dig for the most relevant parts:
Quote
I've tallied my percentage of time spent on "marketing/community work" throughout Cogmind's development so far. Over the first year it was about one-seventh of my time (14.6%), not a whole lot, just writing occasional blog posts and dropping progress updates in a few forums. Then year 2 was 37.0%, when I ramped up for the first public alpha release (that happened shortly before the two-year mark). Year 3 was similar, at 37.7%, as the community grew and I spent a lot of time interacting with everyone. And the fourth year, still only part-way complete, is 42.6% so far!

My current percentage is a little high, but I've found it hard to stop given all the momentum as the game nears 1.0... In general I'd recommend spending about a third of time on things that help get the word out about your game and keep people interested. Post interesting blog articles about not just the content but how it works--that's the majority of what I've done over the years. These things do help with development of the game itself, in that reflecting on various aspects helps you improve them (or at least have a better understanding of the foundation on which future features are built). So it's not like the effort is "wasted" on pure marketing.

And it goes without saying that it helps to have made something that is visually interesting/unique in the first place!

(I'm also in a better position than many devs because the roguelike community is very concentrated in a handful of places on the web, so it's not too hard to reach the core audience. Any potential non-core players I can find on Steam will be icing on the cake! Honestly any dev that relies on Steam alone for success is playing a very risky game...)
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #111 on: February 18, 2017, 06:12:25 pm »

i think marketing is so important that many earlier indies said the time should be 50% dev time, 50% marketing time. however, marketing can mean a lot of things -- it's not just about social network activity or things that are "obviously" marketing, marketing also includes stuff like

- recording footage for the trailer and editing the trailer
- taking a lot of screenshots and spending time selecting the best screenshots
- working on your website, making the website look professional / cool
- playtesting the games of other developers in exchange for them playtesting your game and stuff like that
- creating interesting projects which might be completely unrelated to your game, but which you can have a link that's like 'if you liked this, check out my game too'. for instance, if any of you remember my 100 game maker games in 10 minutes video, which i made in 2008, it now has something like 800,000 views on youtube, and in the description i link people to check out my own game maker game. it wasn't exactly created for marketing, but i definitely benefitted from having created it in terms of visitors from people watching the video and then some smaller percent of them clicking the link -- these types of projects can be anything, maybe art for deviantart, maybe tools/engines/libraries for other programmers, etc., anything creative that you make that is free and helpful or interesting a large audience and which you can think be like 'if you liked this, take a look at this other thing' is technically "marketing"
- even just talking to your players and finding out what they liked and didn't like about your game is actually marketing too, because a) improving your game to better serve its audience is marketing, and b) if you know your audience well, you can better know what type of players they are and how to reach more like them. so even bug fixing and creating patches to quickly fix bugs is marketing, because it adds to your reputation as someone who cares about your players and doesn't just put a game on up for sale and abandon it. similarly, knowing what your audience liked about your game and didn't like can influence any possible sequels you make, or other games in a similar genre, even if it's too late to change major things in your released game.
- marketing also includes simple, but extremely important, things like deciding what your price is, when you have a sale, what % off that sale will be, whether you'll be in bundles or whether to ignore them, and stuff like that. people often choose stuff like that with little thought, but it's really very important, i spend a long time deciding what % off to have for the steam xmas sale (etc.)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 06:22:21 pm by ஒழுக்கின்மை » Logged

Kyzrati
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« Reply #112 on: February 18, 2017, 06:21:44 pm »

What he said, for sure :D

When I say marketing I mean anything outward-facing which is not related to building the game itself. In my own records I mark it as "community" work. So it would include all the things you listed, plus stuff like just day-to-day interaction with existing players via forums/chat/twitter. Also streaming. Altogether it eats up a lot of time, but it's really the best way to improve the chances of success. Believing in "build it and they will come" on the other hand is a pretty dangerous approach!
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Resonator
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« Reply #113 on: March 16, 2017, 09:49:46 pm »

Not to be too controversial, and this is a great (and ancient) thread, but did sales figures for Spelunky ever get shared?
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #114 on: March 17, 2017, 03:45:21 am »

Not to be too controversial, and this is a great (and ancient) thread, but did sales figures for Spelunky ever get shared?

i googled and found this, from 2012:



that's for the xbox version. for the steam version you could probably use steamspy or something, though that can be very inaccurate:

http://steamspy.com/app/239350
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Resonator
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« Reply #115 on: March 17, 2017, 07:52:22 pm »

i googled and found this

Some scant info can be scrounged up, but wouldn't it be nice if the guy who has been soliciting this data from everyone else for several years offered up his own?  Maybe he has and I couldn't find it...  Still, it should be the first item in the first post.
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sergiocornaga
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« Reply #116 on: April 14, 2017, 04:06:04 am »

Some scant info can be scrounged up, but wouldn't it be nice if the guy who has been soliciting this data from everyone else for several years offered up his own?

I gotta admit I'm put off by your accusatory tone here. This list is a community resource, and it's fantastic that Derek's even continued to update it as he's drifted away from being active on these forums. Still, I can give you exactly what you're after. Derek wrote about Spelunky's sales in detail in his book... Spelunky. Presumably these would have been accurate in early 2016 when the book was published. Excerpted below:

Quote from: Derek Yu
Spelunky’s release on Steam went great. In our first month, we sold 61,408 units on Steam, twice as many as we sold on Xbox 360 in the first month, and two years out, we’ve sold 577,185 units there in total, thanks to the streaming community and the incredible reach of Steam’s annual sales events. The game ended up winning PC Gamer’s Game of the Year award for 2013.

Sony also began publishing Spelunky on PSN shortly after, pairing us with a team of super coders called Blit Works to port the game and the Daily Challenge to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It was also ported to PS Vita, making my original dream of putting Spelunky on a handheld system a reality. On PSN, Spelunky has sold 458,534 copies, not including the copies that were given away to PlayStation Plus members.

Sales have been steady on XBLA, too, with the game selling 158,727 units since its debut there.

All told, Spelunky has sold over a million copies across all platforms.
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Kyzrati
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« Reply #117 on: June 13, 2017, 05:32:05 pm »

And another year rolls by... I finished up Cogmind's core game, reaching Beta at the end of year two of release, and it's time for another sales data postmortem including ten graphs of daily revenue, pricing effects, and breakdowns of dev time. This one's even more interesting than last time because I lowered the price a couple times and can analyze the effects of that.

All of this is pre-Steam, but it's passed the $100k mark so... Steam isn't absolutely necessary to be successful Shocked (caveat: I'm technically still a little in the red, but that's only because I insist on continuing to expand scope so long as revenue is coming in...)
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #118 on: June 13, 2017, 05:47:57 pm »

i'm impressed games that aren't minecraft or dwarf fortress can still earn 100k off of steam nowadays, haha

also i feel like with the advent of steamspy, a lot of these sales postmortems aren't usually necessary (though steamspy isn't always accurate and you can get details directly that you can't there, like what percent come from bundles, or sales, or at full price, you can still get a rough estimate of which games did well and which did poorly using steamspy)

e.g. here's immortal defense's steamspy: https://steamspy.com/app/298360

i couldn't add much to that except to say that i never put the game in a bundle, but most of those sales were not at full price, they were from seasonal or weekly sales (often 50% to 75% off). still, i don't think that's too bad for a 10 year old game (first released it in 2007) which i did almost zero marketing for.
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Kyzrati
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« Reply #119 on: June 13, 2017, 06:08:54 pm »

SteamSpy is definitely a useful resource when it comes to aggregate data, but it's little more than numbers so its usefulness is limited due to a lack of context. That's why I prefer to use the opportunity to talk about price changes and their effects, and label graphs with specifically what causes spikes and dips to show the potential impact these events can have. Any lack of detail leads to guessing, and most people will guess wrong.

Postmortems shouldn't be about knowing simply whather game XYZ did well or poorly (since as you say we have SteamSpy for that), it's about learning from the details to improve one's methods. At least that's how I've been using postmortems I've read over the years, to decent effect.
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