I’m going to make 50 games this year!

image by Justus Thane

Yes it’s a bold goal I know, but first let me clarify: by “game” I really mean SKU – so every time I ship a game on a different platform or localize it, that’s a different SKU.

Previous Years

Here’s how many SKUs I’ve made in previous years since I went indie in 2005:

2005: 4 mini-games and Xmas Bonus (PC) = 5
2006: Easter Bonus, Oz, Oz retail, Holiday Bonus, 3 framework minigames (all PC) = 7
2007: Fairway Solitaire (PC) = 1
2008: Fairway Solitaire (Mac + localized versions x 3), Oz (Mac), Holiday Bonus (Mac) = 6
2009: Unwell Mel (PC/Mac + localized versions x 4) = 6
2010: My Tribe (Facebook game – I was part of a team at BFG), Fairway/Mel retail, 3x mini games (PC/Mac) = 9

That’s a total of 34 over 6 years.

2011 So Far

So how can I hope to ship more games this year than in the last 6 years combined? Well, these days it’s a lot easier to ship games on different platforms, and I’ve teamed up with other people who are porting my IP to some other platforms for me. Plus I’m used to localizing games now, so that’s no longer a big challenge. So far this year I’ve already shipped 17 SKUs as follows:

– Holiday Bonus on XBLIG
– Attack of the Giant Planet Eating Bacteria From Outer Space (Flash game made with a team at the GGJ 2010)
– Holiday Bonus (Mac App Store buld)
– Oz (Mac App Store build)
– Berry Blast (Facebook minigame in My Tribe, made whilst still at BFG)
– Fruitola (My original match-3 prototype for PC)
– Spring Bonus (PC/Mac + Mac App Store build + 8 localized versions)

And there’s more…

When I was at GDC I bumped into Arthur Humphrey (Last Day of Work) who said that he believed a good business strategy for indies was to ship many SKUs on different platforms and see which were most profitable. This gave me more confidence in what I was planning to do.

So here’s how I plan to ship 50+ this year:

– Very soon Spring Bonus will be out on Windows Phone 7 and iPad and soon after hopefully on iPhone and XBLIG = 4 SKUs
– Also I’m getting Spring Bonus translated to Japanese = 1 SKU
– If Spring Bonus does well on those platforms, the engine will be reused to ship Oz on all iPad/iPhone/WP7/XBLIG, plus I’m planning to localize it to 8 or 9 languages = 12 SKUs
– Then at the end of the year Holiday Bonus will ship on iPad/iPhone/WP7, and will also be localized to 8+ languages = 11 SKUs
– I’m planning on converting my framework to Linux so that I can ship Oz, Holiday bonus and Spring Bonus on Linux = 3 SKUs
– I started a mini-game for the recent Ludum Dare, but failed to finish it due to nice weather 🙂 So I’ll ship that soon on PC/Mac = 2 SKUs
– I’m planning a Vancouver game jam in the summer, so that’ll be another mini-game on PC/Mac = 2 SKUs
– I’m working with a number of people as a design consultant/producer that will result in a bunch of shipped games on multiple platforms.
– I’d like to get some of my games ported to Flash, but that might not happen, we’ll see.
– I’ll definitely be making some brand new games and shipping on multiple platforms as well as localizing them.
– I’ll probably make some more mini-games 🙂

And that, my friends, is how I’ll do it! That’s another 35 planned SKUs plus some more in the pipeline.

I’ll keep reporting on my progress and will do a post-mortem at the end of the year, so stay tuned folks. Wish me luck!

7 Responses to “I’m going to make 50 games this year!”

  1. hermitC Says:

    Sounds promising. Hope you think about sharing some stats with us. I’m curious which platforms will work best.

  2. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Yep of course I’ll share, you know me 🙂

  3. Vladimir Says:

    That sounds like a lot of work!good luck 🙂 I also hope you share the technical details of launching the games in lot’s of platforms 🙂

  4. Joe Says:

    At first I thought you are totally crazy, but your plan looks great AND realistic.

    I think it’s much harder to be successful as indie with that one BIG-HIT-GAME, so you’re approach (to release a lot of products) is much more realistic to be successful.

  5. Jake Birkett Says:

    @Vladimir: Yep I’ll try to share details for sure.

    @Joe: Yes I think chasing a hit is pretty darn tough, whereas I know people who’ve made a lot of products and earned good money and then each of them teaches you something that can be refined.

  6. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Just updated the post as I realized I’ve already localized Spring Bonus to 8 languages (it said 7). Also some of the other games said 8 languages, but actually it’s probably going to be 9 in some cases.

    I have submitted the WP7 build of Spring Bonus to Microsoft so soon my SKUs will total 18, then the Japanese and iPad versions will boost that to 20, hopefully by the end of May.

    I was thinking that the number of distinct technical platforms I’ve shipped games for are 6, and the number of sales platforms are 10 (if I lump all portals together), as follows:

    – PC/Mac (direct and affiliate sales)
    – Mac App Store (requires special build)
    – PC/Mac Portals like Big Fish Games
    – XBLIG
    – WP7 (awaiting release)
    – iPad (soon to be released)
    – Flash
    – Facebook (did this whilst working at BFG so it doesn’t count for Grey Alien Games)

    Of course I’m ignoring all my old-skool Spectrum, C64, BBC, and Amiga games 🙂 (none ever shipped anyway, it was just a hobby.

    If I add iPhone and Android and Linux later, that’ll be another 3. Then maybe I can consider HTML5 🙂

  7. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » I shipped 39 games this year Says:

    […] May I set myself a goal to release 50 SKUs this year. By SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) I mean different versions of games, which could mean brand […]