Indie/Casual Sales Stats from $2.50 to $250,000

Recently I posted some Fantastic Indie Sales Stats which I collated from a lengthy post on Indiegamer. Then I asked if anyone else on Indiegamer had any sales stats they’d like to post. I got some pretty interesting ones which I’ve summarised below.

Big thanks go to all the forum members for openly sharing their sales. Many people have told me how much they appreciate seeing these sales stats and how motivating they’ve been.

$2.50

Meds’ Games started the ball rolling with a report of 1 game sold for a net profit of $2.50 minus whatever fees Plimus (the payment provider) charged. Well it’s a start, congrats! I wonder if the sale was from a family member (my mum bought my first few games :-) )

$250,000 (well nearly)

In direct contrast to the first sales stat, Scharloposted some great information about a Casual game called Home Sweet Home that they released in December 2007:

$217,000 development cost (actually about 18% less because of Ontario tax credit)
Sales for 1st year : approx $240,000 (not including retail)
Direct sales: <3% of revenues
Mac version: <3% of revenues
Flash version: <0.05% of revenues

The sales are fantastic but the costs are also very high, but that's because they include salaries. So presumeably everyone got paid a decent amount and a profit has been made. Furthermore the game will probably keep on selling for a while yet and now it's all profit.

Note how poorly the flash version did, perhaps the target market doesn't play that many flash games or maybe the revenue model was messed up.

They've also released two sequels including a Christmas themed one which had a very short development period. These are bound to rake in money and are a good solid base for the company. Congrats to all involved!

Casual Games Direct Sales

A friend of mine, Roman, from www.Anawiki.com posted his direct sales stats for his casual games sold in 2008:

$21,650.09 and 1152 units

These are VERY good for direct sales even though they are a 10th of sales of Home Sweet Home (but I bet his games cost less to make as well). I know that he has a mailing list and does lots to promote his site, and I’m sure it’ll keep on growing. He also sells on portals and via retail, and sells affiliate games. He has probably made some pretty good money via those other sales channels. Congrats Roman!

Mobile Games

EnigmaCEO posted some average MONTHLY sales for their mobile device games…

Partner Sites(Handango, Mobihand, ClickGamer):
Blackberry: 300
Windows Mobile: 100

Company Site:
Blackberry: 1
Windows Mobile: 2
PC: 0
Mac: 5

They remarked that they obviously need to increase their direct sales. But their non-direct sales look pretty good to me. I don’t know how much each unit sells for, but 400 units a month is 4800 units a year which seems a very decent number. As the business grows this will get a lot better. Congrats!

Lessons learned: priceless

TimS reported these stats about his game launched in November 2008:

Total sales: 10

Total income: $199.50

Rough income per man-month: $8.31

Lessons learned: priceless

I particularly like the last line. Well as long as they can use those lessons for the next game (and the next game and so on) then hopefully they’ll do OK. Contrats on learning some lessons (and on just releasing a game).

A quick calculation shows that the game took 24 man-months to make. Wow that’s quite a long time for an Indie game. Hopefully they can also improve their marketing and make some more return on the game, but it may just be worth starting a new game soon that they try to finish in 6 months or so – oh and doing some market research too to find out what sells (and even asking people why their last game did not sell so those mistakes can be avoided next time).

Hourly Wage of $0

Chris P posted some comprehensive stats as follows:

Sales: 138 over 18 months
Profit per sale: about $18 (maybe slightly less because of a few %-off promotions)
Profit after e-commerce cut: $18 * 138 = ~$2,484
Expenses: ~$300 on art, ~$400 on audio, ~$200 on business registration, ~$150 wasted on advertising, average of ~$10/month hosting (total $180), about ~$200 on miscellaneous expenses
Net profit: ~$1,000
Net profit per month: ~$55
Equivalent hourly wage: Rounds to $0

Well 138 sales is certainly a start but probably not what they were hoping for. One thing I’ve noticed is that often (not always) the development costs are directly proportional to the profit. So when you spend more on art and music (and a decent programmer) you will probably generate more profit due to the game looking more polished and thus more customers buy it. I found this to be true with my own games for sure. Of course marketing and game quality plays a big part too. But it’s a good general guide – “Speculate to Accumulate” i.e. spend the money to get a bigger return. It’s a gamble but done right it’ll pay out.

Some good news from Chris P is that the game has just been released on Steam so hopefully this will boost the hourly wage somewhat. Congrats on getting on Steam! (I hear it’s not that easy)

Not Enough To Go Full-Time

Zulu Boy reported the following:

“With our first and only game released on PC/Mac we earned around $10K in 2008. That is nice pocket money, but it is clearly not enough for me to go fulltime.”

Agreed, but it’s still a good start in my opinion. My first game never made that much money and never will, nor did my second. Congrats on a great start, hope you keep going.

Donations

Acord reported $120 in donations for Blood Frontier which is pretty neat. Perhaps this is an indication that they should charge something for the game, or at least for add-ons or micro-transactions etc? Hopefully they get some ad revenue from the game too…

Tower Defense Game

RinkuHero reported that Immortal Defense has had 435 direct sales from June 1 2008 to the present (mid-Jan). This is 7.5 months roughly.

It’s actually a great game that I strongly recommend (when I first got it it kept me up until 2 or 3am or something). It has an odd vibe and strange graphics but is very addictive indeed. It’s a hardcore Tower Defense style game and I think that getting that many sales in the hardcore Indie downloadable market is pretty darn good going. Congrats!

More Sales Stats

You can find a whole bunch of sales stats on my friend Juuso’s site here.

Some of mine are on there (Xmas Bonus), but they are out of date. Also you can see my Holiday Bonus sales stats here but again they are out of date. Lots more sales have occurred this Christmas (and with the launch of the Mac version) and I’ll post an update once all the December and Jan royalty reports are in (so in March). Keep your eyes peeled ;-) I’ll also post about Wizard of Oz if I can get permission from the producer of that game (I was hired to program it), and I’ll post Xmas and Easter Bonus stats (as they have run their course).

You can also read about how much money I made from selling my Grey Alien BlitzMax Game Framework here. It did pretty well for me as a side project and of course I’ve used it for 4 games meanwhile. Opening it up for sale meant other people helped to test it, fix it and improve it, which was invaluable.

Big Thanks!

So once again, big thanks to everyone who posted sales stats. They are fascinating and I hope that more people will be encouraged to post stats because they provide some hard realism for people thinking of going Indie and also help to motivate people who’ve just started who maybe need to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

One Response to “Indie/Casual Sales Stats from $2.50 to $250,000”

  1. Dan Taylor Says:

    Wow! Thanks for this folks…great info. Have you sent this to Charles Hudson? I’m pretty sure he’d be interested in this. Again – great job!