Archive for May, 2008

Holiday Bonus Sales Statistics

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Holiday Bonus was a match-3 “reskin” with some new features and a meta game based on my earlier Wizard of Oz game (which I programmed for Injoy Games). So far I’ve logged 262 hours making that game (I keep a spreadsheet). That includes coding, graphics, testing etc + marketing, releasing to portals and stuff like that – basically everything. I did most of those hours in a super intense month, then spent a couple of weeks doing the marketing and contract signing with portals etc. It was all a bit last minute, but Christmas is a pretty non-negotiable deadline!



I contacted portals well in advance of the release date and gave them some screenshots and talked about my previous game in order to “prime” them for the release.

When it was ready I sent it to them and we sorted out the contracts. I chose some big portals like BFG, Reflexive, Oberon and some smaller ones that didn’t perform as well. Real turned it down because it was seasonal.

I also put it on my own site, mentioned it on two forums and added it to my forum sig, then did a shareware submission and a submission.

Also did a small email shot. Even printed some little flyers for my son to take to school.

A year after it’s initial release I pretty much repeated the process (because it’s seasonal).


Well I already made 3 match-3s and this was my 4th so pretty much all the research was done. Basically it just consisted of playing all the other match-3s and top casual games for ideas and to see what sort of polish level I’d need.


2578 sales so far (it still sells like 30 a month even in the summer). It’s main two big peaks were Christmas 2006 and 2007. Almost all of the sales were via portals, my direct sales are crap, 22, woo. This is a testament to the power of the portals and the crapness of my marketing/site.

Gross revenue: £5262 (>$10,000). Expenses (art and music, software passport, marketing): £1155. Net Profit £4106.

Therefore I earned £15.67 per hour making that game, and it goes up every day. That’s not great but it’s pretty good, you could maybe live off that if you banged one game out after the other without gaps. I used to earn £30 an hour as an IT consultant so it was a step down in earnings but a step up in fun.

I don’t know if I can be bothered to push it again this Christmas or not (and if the portals will bother), although I will probably send the portals a Mac version which I now have ready, and which they have expressed a keen interest in. Don’t know how many sales that will bring, but it’s all profit.

My primary money goal was to make back my expenses, which I did, and then make at least £10 per hour, which I did.

Another motivation for the game was simply to make another nice polished portfolio piece which ended up getting me hired for BFG, so that worked too (well actually they hired me as a result of my Oz game, but Holiday Bonus added extra credence). I always get several job offers after releasing my games, which is nice 🙂

Target Audience

Casual gamers, although a reasonable number of hardcore gamers have confessed to liking it.

I aimed the game at this market, but I also enjoyed making it because I like making pretty much any game (I’m not up my own arse like the “making it for art’s sake” crowd) + I liked Bejewelled when I first played it.

Additional Info

Don’t forget that a lot of the work for this game was actually done a) in my game framework which took a couple of hundred hours (I sell that and it makes good money) and b) my Oz game which also took hundreds of hours. It wasn’t as if I started from scratch, otherwise it would have taken a LOT longer and my hourly salary would have been awful.

I’ve made hardly any money from my first two games btw, my hourly wage for those is a joke, like £3 per hour. But I look upon them as “training” (before that I made some free games as training when I had another job, and I’ve also been making games as a hobby since I was 8). I think it’s the same with most Indies, their first few games aren’t that successful, but they gradually learn the ropes and build up the business over a couple of years. Making one killer first game is very unlikely I would say – yet a lot of people hinge their hopes on this, which I would say is unwise.

I would say that my 5th game, Fairway Solitaire, could be called a “hit” due to very large sales numbers and revenue, and extremely high Conversion Rate. However, I’m hoping to eclipse that with my 6th game which is in progress now and is due for a late summer release.

Droid Assault Rocks!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I’ve recently been playing Droid Assault which I bought for only $9.95. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned another game on this blog, but this one is cool! It’s a super addictive modern-retro robot shooter in the vein of the C64 classic Paradroid. Do yourself a favour and check it out now! 🙂

droid assault screen 8

Grey Alien Framework is 2 years old!

Monday, May 5th, 2008

It’s been 2 years since I first released the Grey Alien BlitzMax Game Framework. In that time period I’ve sold over 160 units to customers all over the world. I’ve made 3 commercial games with it, the latest being the smash hit Fairway Solitaire, which was released in December 2007 for PC and in February 2008 for Mac. Many of my customers have made commercial and free games with it and there are more in the pipeline.

Also in December 2007, one of my customers kindly set up a forum for framework users. This has been a great success as framework users can now help each other (and me) and also showcase their projects.

I’ve had a great year so far for framework sales which may well be due to the release of Fairway Solitaire. Perhaps it’s due to other factors too like an improved Blitz forum signature. Or maybe it’s just that the customer base has reached a critical mass where recommendations become a real factor. Whatever the reason, I’m very pleased 🙂

So, anyway, a big thanks to all my customers for your continued support and help. I’ve received numerous suggestions for bug fixes and improvements from my customers and the Mac support is greatly improved due to help from some very kind users – so thanks very much everyone!

screenshot1 screenshot3 speedrun