Archive for the ‘Sales Statistics’ Category

Regency Solitaire – Steam Summer Sale vs Weekly Sale

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

We just ran a 25% off weekly sale for Regency Solitaire on Steam and I collected the sales data so that I could compare it with the recent Steam Summer sale (June 11th-21st) which was also 25% off.

[EDIT]I’ve removed sale numbers from this post so I don’t get into trouble with Valve, but I can still share my conclusions with you.

First up, here’s a graph of the weekly sale:

And here’s the data I recorded so that we can drill down into it:


Weekly Sale Notes
- The sale was 25% off.
- I didn’t get any special feature (but I did run a Visibility Round on day 1, more on this below)
- The sale started at 6pm UK time, which is 10am PST. Days on my chart are based on UK time, which is why there are 8 not 7.
- Day 1 includes a few (not many) sales from the UK morning before the sale began.
- On Day 8 I recorded the revenue/units sold as soon as the sale stopped.
- I didn’t record wishlist adds at the same time each day but they aren’t updated in realtime anyway on Steam, so the daily change is only approximate. The totals are accurate though.
- I didn’t have any big news/press/streamers during the sale, but I did constantly self-promote the sale via Twitter.

Weekly Sale Numbers
- Total Gross = REMOVED
- Total Units = REMOVED
- Wishlist adds = 124% of unit sales
- Refunds = only 0.9% of total
- Mac units = about 9% of total

Visibility Round
- I launched the Steam Mac version on the same day as the sale started and used that as the update news for a Visibility Round.
- A Visibility Round gives you 500,000 views on the Steam front page in the Recently Updated section.
- I started the round at about 7pm UK-time and it ran out a few hours later.
- It may have boosted sales on day 1 a bit, but not a lot.
- However, there were 5x as many wishlist adds on day 1 as on day 2 so maybe it affected those more?

Summer sale is between the red lines

Summer Sale Notes
- The sale was 25% off.
- I didn’t get any special feature.
- The summer sale ran from 11th-22nd June in UK days = 12 days total.
- I didn’t have any big news/press/streamers during the sale but I did some self-promotion on Twitter.
- I hadn’t yet released the Mac version on Steam.
- Regency Solitaire was newer and “fresher” in people’s minds from press during the Summer sale but it had a lot more competition with other discounted games.

Post Sale Dip
- There’s an apparent lower level of sales after the Summer Sale compared to before the sale. I guess this is to be expected.
- The dip lasted for about 2 weeks until Felicia Day tweeted about the game which resulted in a small spike followed by a higher base level.

Summer Sale Numbers
- Total Gross = REMOVED
- Total Units = REMOVED
- Total Wishlist adds = 18% of unit sales

- Both sales were roughly equal in terms of revenue and units sold.
- The Weekly Sale performed slightly better in average revenue per day even if I take into account extra Mac sales, but not really enough to be significant.
- The Weekly Sale definitely performed better in terms of wishlist adds, even if I assume the large amount of adds on day 1 were due to the Visibility Round I ran.
- It hasn’t been long enough since the Weekly Sale ended for me to check for a subsequent dip in sales like after the Summer Sale.

Big Takeaway
- Why wait for Steam sales? I should do more weekly sales! (Unless weekly sales hurt normal sales between discounted periods, but I haven’t analysed that yet).

General Reception
People who play the game love the game. It has had nothing but glowing reviews in the press and it has 94% positive reviews on Steam and Big Fish Games. So that’s pretty cool.

However, it’s not selling that great on Steam as you can probably guess by these sale numbers. It’s just too niche for the Steam audience, although if it got promoted by Valve or a giant youtuber, I’m sure it would sell a whole bunch more. There are always more potential customers out there who haven’t seen the game yet, or who just need a reminder.

Anything you, dear reader, can do to help get the word out is always appreciated. Thanks!

This isn’t a disaster for us though because we aimed the game at the casual download portals such as Big Fish Games, iWin, GameHouse and more. In fact the game has grossed 10x more on those sites than on Steam!

Overall the game is a success for us, and it’s bound to have a long tail as well, like our other games.

Steam Keys for Press/Streamers

Press/streamers, if you want a review key, please request it here.
There’s also more info about the game here.

Any thoughts? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

How to estimate how many sales a Steam game has made

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

(click to enlarge)

I was having a discussion with Ryan Clark about using the number of reviews a game has on Steam to estimate its sales. He tells me the idea came from Mike Boxleiter.

Anyway, I recently got shown this article which lists the most popular Steam games of 2014 (Thanks Lars Doucet) and some other useful data like number of owners. So I thought I’d look up the review count of the top 50 games of 2014 and do an analysis to find out what the average amount of owners (sales) are per review using the data in that article.

Units sold and Revenue estimates

This means you can look up any game on Steam and multiply the review count by a magic number (or range) – see below – and estimate how many sales it has made. Then if you multiply by the price, you can work out the maximum gross revenue the game has made, although of course sales and bundles will greatly reduce this.


I’m not saying this is totally accurate or anything, but it’s interesting and fun if you are into this kind of stuff. Enjoy!

Some observations and the magic numbers

1) There are 22 F2P games in the top 50 (44%)

2) The date format is the stupid American format.

3) Average owners/review for all games is 148. However, it’s 201 for F2P games and 106 for paid games. An important difference.

4) For paid games (I’m not that interested in F2P games. sorry!), Football Manager and Dizzel were outliers with over 400 owners per review, so I removed them and got an average of 81. If I take out two more above 150, the average is more like 72.

5) The lowest average for paid games was 32. If I “eyeball” the graph of values (see image at top of post), I’d said the average looks more like 60-70 as that’s the longest flat area before it hikes up.

6) So to conclude I’d say you can use 30-100 as an approx guide. There won’t be any below 30, and there’s only a few over 100. Another way to look at it (based solely on this data) is to pick 70 as a kind of mid value and use 70/2 as the lower end and 70×1.5 as the upper end (=35 to 105). Someone who is better at stats will probably rip this apart, but you get the idea.

7) Average Players/Owners is 73% for all games (57% for F2P and 85% for paid … interesting) Lowest for paid was 40% and highest was 99%. If I take out two lowest paid outliers of 40% and 45% (next lowest is 69%) this gives an 89% average. I’m not sure if any of these games have been in bundles. If so I imagine that would drop this ratio right down.

Some things I have not taken into account:

1) Date released: Some games have been around longer to get more reviews. However, we know none of these games are more than 14.5 months old and they are all at least 2.5 months old. If I didn’t have to fix the dumb date format by hand in Excel (there’s probably a smart way), then maybe I could do more analysis.

2) I haven’t noted if they are indie games or AAA games.

3) I haven’t noted the genre the games.

4) Hours played (maybe people who play more vote more? Actually I checked this with a trendline and it’s true! So if you know a game is a short game, bank on a HIGH owners/reviews value, and if it’s a long game, go for a LOW owners/reviews value.)

5) I used Owners per review, *not* Players. However, the data clearly shows that the larger % of players to owners, the lower the sales per review, which makes sense because it means that more of the owners played it and decided to leave a review.

6) These games were super-popular. It’s possible that if you check less popular games their review counts change/become more unpredictable.

I hope you found this interesting, please let me know if you think I’ve screwed up anywhere.

Also if anyone wants to do the next 100, go ahead, I need to do some work now.

8 years of sales – Holiday Bonus revenue chart

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Holiday Bonus (for PC) first went on sale in December 2006 on several casual portals that sell download games, and it did OK but not as well as I had hoped

I brought out a Mac version in December 2008, but it wasn’t a big earner, although it continues to add to the bottom line.

A Second Launch!

However, later on I managed to revive its sales by doing the following:

1) After I shipped Spring Bonus in April 2011 I discovered several portals that didn’t take Holiday Bonus when it launched were happy to take it for Christmas 2012! Times change and the gatekeepers at portals change.

2) I made a localised version in multiple European languages and sent it to several distributors and it did quite well, especially taking into account the fact that it only took me 26 hours to do the work.

3) In 2012 I made an updated version called Holiday Bonus GOLD which had 55 more levels (double the original) and a few other tweaks. Some portals just took this as an update to the original (which probably boosted future sales due to having more levels), but other portals took it as a new game and re-promoted it, which was great. The GOLD version only took me a week (49 hours) and has proved to be very profitable.

I made it because some indie friends of mine were talking about DLC and casual download games don’t have DLC (the portals prefer to sell only whole games). So I thought that I could do something similar by adding more content, calling it GOLD, and getting it out there – and it worked!

4) Every year I remind the portals to promote it and put it on sale. Quite often they do but there’s more holiday-themed competition these days. In December 2014 one portal made a bundle of Christmas games and included Holiday Bonus GOLD, which was a nice surprise.

5) In December 2011 I launched a mobile version for iOS/Android that was coded by Damien Sturdy. It’s made about the same as the Mac version, which is OK, but it wasn’t a big earner. I also put out an XBox Live Indie Games version (and Windows Phone 7 version), coded by James Mintram. It was cool but made very little as XBLIG just wasn’t the right platform for it (the game was great, but players wanted zombie games and vibrating controller games).

6) I even did a small retail deal for a German version of Holiday Bonus GOLD in 2013.

Sales Chart

All of the above had a positive effect as you can see by the graph below. It was like having a second launch but twice as big as the first one! Note that the first year is only really one month (December), so this is 8 years and 1 month of sales.

(click image to enlarge it)

Some Numbers

Gross Revenue = $253,000 (this is approximate as I back calculate it based on my royalties received)
Net Revenue = $90,500
Hard costs = $4,100 (I couldn’t get away with a game this cheap these days. Some of this is rev share for ports.)
Profit = $86,400
Time to make/distribute = 464 hours (This is my time. I keep accurate logs)
Hourly Wage = $186
Launch month revenue as % of total = 3.4%
First 4 years = $29,458 net
Next 4 years = $60,976 net
Future = ? (but it’s all gravy now)

What did I learn?

This game was a passion project. I’d just shipped The Wonderful Wizard of Oz match 3, and I thought there was just enough time to re-use + enhance the engine and put out a Christmas game. So I worked very hard (so did the main artist) to get it done in a short period of time. I had fun making it, and now looking back, I’m very pleased with the result.

I’ve had similar good results with other quick games (my own IP) that I had fun making. Sometimes I think if you’ve got a good idea, you’ve just got to get on and make it quickly. Strike while your motivation is hot :-)

Important Takeaway: Your first year of sales may not be a true representation of lifetime sales. Games have a very long tail and many new opportunities present themselves over the years. Play the long game to win.

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