Some Fantastic Indie Sales Stats!

Recently someone started a thread on Indiegamer called “The end of indie?” which has bizarrely ended up discussing whether Flash can be made to VSync.

But anyway, a short way into the thread, some of us were saying “Don’t be silly, of course download games aren’t dead!” and then a well-known Indie called Cliffski posted some sales stats which gave serious weight to the viewpoint that download games are not dead. Here’s my summary of what people posted (very interesting reading I’m sure you’ll agree):

Positech Games

Cliffski, of Positech Games, made $189,423 in 2008 from direct sales. That’s an extremely impressive figure! It was from 10,192 units sold, which is not a big number by portals standards, but for an Indie selling games at $20 or more each, with no discount schemes, it’s a fantastic figure and means a *lot* of revenue.

How has he done this? Well he has 10 different games listed (some clearly are making lots more money that others) and he has been in the business for years and is business savvy. He’s always trying out different marketing techniques, plus he insists on selling his games direct first before going to any portals to maximise the revenue. He also has a large mailing list of loyal customers ready to buy the next game. Oh and his games, by all accounts, are pretty good. Interestingly though, I happen to know that he made EVEN MORE MONEY in 2007, lol :-) Nice one Cliffski!

So if you are in any doubt that you can make money as an Indie hopefully his figures will convince you otherwise. However, and this is important, he is in a very small minority of Indies that do make money – most barely scrape by as we shall see. He got there by working hard and building up a business over many years – he has not used some kind of magic formula to get rich quick…

Puppygames

Next up Princec of Puppygames posted his direct sales figures and they told a very different story. He has made $11993 from 1073 units sold in 2008. This is a real shame because his games are great – a personal favourite of mine in fact. His sales figures came as a real shock to some forum members who thought he must be doing great due to the quality of his games and website. Just goes to show, book/cover and all that.

He has tried all sorts of marketing techniques and been in the business for years too, but not had the same success as Cliffski. Is this because of the type of games he’s selling and the market he’s aiming at, or because he needs to try something else on the marketing front? Well he may have the answer, because he’s just launched his first game on XBox360 Live Arcade and I’m sure that it’s the perfect platform for his games, so good luck!

Take note though that $11,993 is not a failure, far from it. It shows that he is onto something because people DO buy his games, he just needs MORE people to buy his games, maybe 5-10 times more for a start would be nice…Also the price per unit is only just over $10 instead of the usual $20, so he must have been selling his games cheaply (although I notice that the price is now $20 each). Princec doesn’t give in, unlike many that would have quit a long time ago, and this may well lead to success in the near future. I hope so.

New Star Games

Siread of New Star Games posted his Direct Sales stats of $43246 and 2545 units. This is pretty good. Note that the price per unit is around $20. Also note that he sells only Soccer games and his current flagship product is New Star Soccer 4. This means he has specialised and probably built up a great mailing list of people eager for the next sequel. I bet each game improves upon the last one too judging by the fact that NSS4 won a sports game of the year award by Game Tunnel.

Blue Tea Games

SteveZ of Blue Tea Games shared his direct sales figures for 2008 of $1299 and 72 units sold. This made Puppygames’s sales figures look positively stellar. Although I pointed out that SteveZ’s direct sales were actually better than mine, mainly because most of my sales came from portals. I then talked about how much money my company has made this financial year from portals, which you can read further down in this post…

This then prompted a surprise turnaround from SteveZ who posted his Big Fish Games royalty report from November 2008. It showed $20837 in royalties in just a single month!! Wow what a month. As developers get paid 40% royalties from BFG, it actually means that gross revenue from his games was about $52,000 in a single month. In a later post I clarified that he did launch a new game in that month which no doubt skewed the figures favourably, but nevertheless a great month.

Interestingly Blue Tea Games started off with an Indie game called Cactus Bruce and the Corporate Monkeys which is fairly obscure (but was well received), but they then made a business decision to move into casual games, including two Hidden Object games, and since then business has boomed. Their sales figures show that if you choose to make games to sell via portals you can do just as well as successful Indies selling games directly.

Grey Alien Games

I didn’t post an actual revenue figure from selling games, nor units sold due to contractual obligations with Big Fish Games (although I may post sales figures for my own games in a month or two once I get January’s royalty reports in – be sure to check back soon). But what I did do was post a summary of my company’s turnover this financial year as follows:

I thought I’d present some info from “the other side of the fence” i.e. portals…

My Direct Sales figures are crapper than any of those I’ve seen so far, but my portal sales are another matter…

I’m at work right now and don’t have my balance sheets handy, so you’ll have to trust me on this. Since the start of the UK financial year (April 2008) my UK Ltd. company has turned over well over £50,000 (I had to use Alt+0156 to type that darn Pound Sign), with practically zero costs – and that’s without even releasing a game in that period! Plus I’ve earned 1.5 month’s salary here at BFG in Vancouver (cannot post amount) and been paid a rather large relocation package – those figures are in addition to the 50+K.

The money is from royalties, contract programmer fees, direct sales, affiliate schemes, advertising, framework sales, IP sale, and some other stuff. When the UK to US currency conversion rate was 1:2 that would have been over $100,000 but it’s not now…Also there’s 3 more months to go and I’m just about to release a hot game ;-) Hopefully that’ll see the turnover rocket up some more, plus I’ll have been paid 3 more months’ salary.

I’ve made 5 games (6th due any day now), 3 of which could be said to sell well, + a framework which are all adding to the passive income. This is from building up over 4 years (first game released Dec 2005).

Running your own site, selling games via portals and working for portals does make good money (if you can deliver the goods of course). And I still view this as early days yet for me…

I hope that this info is useful for people who a) think that download games are dead and b) want to know what’s possible but also how long it takes to build up to that. You’ve got to have a business mindset to succeed + some creativity and determination helps of course ;-)

24 Responses to “Some Fantastic Indie Sales Stats!”

  1. jack norton Says:

    download games dead? LOL that’s the best joke of this year!

  2. So I made how many $$$ in 2008? | Sell More Games Says:

    [...] at the moment to post comprehensive sales stats, but the thread at Indiegamer and Jakes post at Grey Alien Blog got me inspired to at least post a short info about my sales. I am far away of what Cliffski earns, [...]

  3. Roman Says:

    Congrats to you, Cliffski, SteveZ, Siread and princec.

  4. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Thanks for sharing Roman, some good direct sales stats there! You must be doing something right.

  5. some indie sales stats to keep you reaching for that carrot | wazoo's blog Says:

    [...] http://greyaliengames.com/blog/some-fantastic-indie-sales-stats/ [...]

  6. Antair Games » Blog Archive » Weekly Update Says:

    [...] week, I enjoyed the Seven Deadly Sins for People Trying to Make Money online, from ShoeMoney, and this Grey Alien Games post about indie sales [...]

  7. GameDevMike » Indie Sales Stats Says:

    [...] some sales stats. Some of them popped up in a recent, rather lengthy, thread and are summarized in a post at the Grey Alien Games blog. This deals with dollar values and mentions nothing about man-months of development time. But it [...]

  8. Raph’s Website » How well can indie games do? Says:

    [...] Grey Alien Games, an indie developer themselves, has culled some answers from a rather noisy thread on Indiegamer. [...]

  9. Quanto Dinheiro Um Indie Pode Fazer? « Maracatu Studios Says:

    [...] bem, Grey Alien Games, uma desenvolvedora de jogos independente, juntou algumas respostas publicadas em uma [...]

  10. 2008 Indie Sales Statistics « An indie game programmer’s adventures in Mexico Says:

    [...] http://greyaliengames.com/blog/some-fantastic-indie-sales-stats/ [...]

  11. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » Indie/Casual Sales Stats from $2.50 to $250,000 Says:

    [...] 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 [...]

  12. Another Early Morning Says:

    Making Games, Being Indie, Making Ends Meet?…

    I recently came across an interesting read concerning the sales figures for a number of indie games developed by our friends at the Indie Gamer forums. I thought it was worth sharing since it’s not often you come across this kind of data, and of …

  13. Create and sell your own games » How much money will your first game make? Says:

    [...] are many more articles available on this topic, but none of them provide the answers you seek. That is until [...]

  14. Dan Says:

    I think this may help you to understand;

    Several years ago after leaving the armed services I was abducted by Greys 3-6th dimension that are working with Reptilian’s, “the Federation”. The Federation is “a NATO type organization”, of Greys Reptilian,Insectoid, Moth men, (recessive beings like the ones in the movies…There are about 42 different types of military males in various bases in the United States). Some of the reptilian bases are in the USA AZ, NM. You can find more information on these Orion beings discussed in thousands of contact books, and thousands of internet sites,(I’m not the only one abducted). These humanoid beings lie, manipulate you untill the point of near mental and physical breaking.

    These Reptilian hybrids and Greys are working with a type of 5th & 6th dimension Ascended Brotherhood,
    sub space beings controlling many “false” religions and human people. Why? A. for control, so that humans do not go into space to find their non human ET bases and ships. B. Because of our SOULS, this is very complicated to understand we have a “soul”, the soul is an atomic particle electric formation that is part of us,
    but according to all legends and some modern technology the soul can be taken with the use of high frequency high voltage technology. The soul is a vestige of our “genetic” past that was a piece, in much the same way our reptilian lower brain is, of another space ET being. There are several types of ET’s that can remove this part of your body Reptilian, Greys, “Devils”, steal it and use it for longevity, for energy, and for their own race studies, just like some ETs do with our DNA ovum and sperm, thousands of very well documented cases around the world,
    think this through please. C. for DNA, and because DNA is a resource for them like the souls and in many real medical ways!

    This is important… Religion is a legend, *some are factual most are not*, a construct written by various non human
    inter dimensional ET races and by some not so well educated semi-primitive humans, it is very misleading and troublesome, religion does not help us solve our problems of global warming, cancer, defense against recessive ET’s, economy…instead religion focuses on a construct which is incoherent, Jesus and god will help,* neither can be further from the truth (the bible, Koran, Buddha veydic texts etc. are full of wars initiated by (“gods”** non human ET”S) never helping but instead killing humans. The earth is in the worst condition ever as is the human race. Read the newspapers….and neither Jesus, god nor budda is helping us. The churches are filled with pedophiles, ex-cons, dumb human beings mind controlled. Social studies, social support and human directed initiatives are a need,
    and we are being blinded my mind controlling ET”S.

    I was taken to the “Federation” caves by physical barely visible in our spectrum..beings. I used infrared/spectrum lenses goggles to see them,including a type of sub-space being, as the attacks went on I compensated as much as I could. Regressive Beings working with Greys, called the White Brotherhood are the culprits. After my negative life threatening experiences of many years I learned from the Greys themselves buy watching and studying as I was being pulled, (they abducted me for sperm surgical removal, as they do with women’s eggs all around the world).
    This is what I know to be true: AND OUR CHILDREN MUST BEGAIN TO ARM AND DEFEND THEMSELVES AGAINST THESE BEINGS, PRAYING AND AFRICAN VODOO ARE NOT REAL, AND SOME WHO TRY TO PRAY TO GOD ARE GOING TO KEEP GETTING ATTACKED!

    If you are religious why would, if god did exist harm the pontiff the popes by giving them parkinsonism, harm them with neurological disorders and knock them down and fracture their arms like with the current pope…these are harmful extraterrestrials!! Are we this dumb?

    1. All extraterrestrials are physical carbon based, silicon based, or molecular based beings (ALL), including the ones who use magnetic field technology to cloak themselves, to travel,and as weapons and to appear as a human. The weapons are several which I have seen and been subjected too mind control, frequency signal control i.e. “the tower of babble”, around the world the transmitters are hidden in caves, and beamed in by Grey satellite. We humans desperately need better more advanced detection in the areas of magnetic crafts in our atmosphere( non USA), frequency control detection, field technologies, laser detection and better weapons, better armed military, guns do not work against 6th dimension!!! i.e. stable plasmon technology. Some of these technologies can be detected with Geiger counters, and magnetic field detectors sold “on line”, directional is preferred..also passive radar detecting magnetic changes in our atmosphere and around our homes find the electrical devices on them,and around them in their nearby craft. For your homes and cars..some of the Grey and reptilian devices can
    be disrupted by MHz frequency devices built at home, someone could make a small fortune selling better portable particle and wave detection, and disruption devices for our pockets. High voltage tazer weapons as well, work. Hand held powerful battery operated magnets,in close proximity can interfere with grey technologies,the size of a cell phone, need to be mass marketed for our protection. Magnetic shielding paint can shield a room in your house where no EMF or ELF is detected! Other races of sub space beings have technology that I have seen, are defended against with hand lasers, built at home!!2.Critical, we are not the only humans in the universe or multi verse…there are humans from Lyra, Pleiadians, Andromidan, Cassiopeia, Simion and billions more! 3, Even more important the Grey Federation is using Religion to “Dumb Down”, all of us on earth. 3. All Religions are false, there is no god, only Extraterrestrials and human support groups from other worlds, the earths which NASA is just now locating are inhabited.

    Our military is being attacked by the Greys,(google on the internet to get more info…), and by the
    Reptilian Federation all the time, all the time, The shootings at Army bases world wide are mind controlled by the Grey/Reptilian Federation, as is the sweat lodge incident , 911, and the current state of our economy and health…chem trails,as is the sweat lodge incident , 911, and the current state of our economy and health…chem trails,( 8-120 MHz broadband mind control technologies piggybacked on T.V. cell phone and cable, important for you to remember). A strategy used by the Greys and others is to mind control in the name of Religions “ALLAH”, a not so well informed person into doing the killing or attack on our government. Obama needs to know this as he has been manipulated openly by the federated greys, those of us who understand Grey, Reptilian Military mind control Strategy and Tactics( for example…Jesus is my mentor and I am speaking with him now, no!! Jesus is dead It was told to me Jesus did exist , but he is dead it’s an ET who learned earth languages. THESE MILITARY ET BEINGS SPEAK ENGLISH TOO!!!!!! It is not Obamas fault, nor is it Hillary Clintons fault…it was not President Kennedy fault,
    but the Grey military Federation did kill him in part because the Greys and others did not want us in Space.

    One being had an advanced weapon which I determined was a magnetic laser weapon which would track me either bio metrically or by implant, I sure would like an idea on how to protect against it? It feels just like being under an extremely strong magnet making it very difficult to move, and think. I tried grounding myself, and to use nearby shielding to no avail….what an ordeal. This is a weapon we need to defend against…!!! I did a search to see if I could find something like it, the closest thing I got was Raytheon’s, “microwave crowd control beam weapon”, it was not microwaves. In the caves and near my home the Gray reptilian make many rather high frequency screeching sounds, like you get on t.v. interference sometimes, I believe it’s their inter dimensional technologies, using probes to come in and out of the area from their locations to mine.

    It’s being done mainly because these other types of ET”s, Greys, reptilian Snake beings, insectoid which are more technically advanced and regressive in the way they think and act are working together against humans, abducting women mainly and men for there experiments etc.

    As we speak somewhere on earth a child is being abducted for food by the reptilian’s, and or for DNA by the greys I know!!! There are technologies you can buy to protect yourselves, guns, tazers high volts, mind brain protection velostat caps,velostat 3M shielding material also works in many labs with high emf use, at home depot, particle detectors magnetic particle detectors…Critical infrared binoculars, portable magnetic field room detectors, they have through chem trails and dropping poisons form the ships into our water supply, use water filters and A/C hepa filters, our government needs to do more to protect its population.!! WE must invent better ways of protection against these recessive extraterrestrial races, mind defense technologies and home shielding as well as robots to detect and defend!!!

    Have extra food and defenses at home for your family, it is no coincidence that in the movies on abduction and on aliens we are seeing a lot more of ET films, on T.V. “V”, house, etc…They are signaling massive problems ahead with recessive non human ETs as mankind goes into “space Hotels”, Luxury Space travel, more military crafts into near and far space., maybe another war? Many people are trying to educate with films to inform you of the risks we are in! 2012, alien mind control, H1N1 grey federation attacks on humans.

    I don’t know weather this is true or not but have been told by Greys that earth is entering a Photon Belt of
    very dangerous particles,this explains Global Warming, within the context of a very dormant sun spot cycle. Any scientist who has atmospheric x-ray, gamma ray detection please let us know about the increase in such particles vs. previous years! % ?

    The Grey Federation ruined myself and family like they did with Alex collier, and Billy Meir, Michael Salla and others… I know about the many friendly human races who are trying to help us now. When I was at the Grey army here in Santa FE, N.M.base, I did see many things, I have a PhD, I’M a quick learner and can now read their Sumerian type alphabet and words… I was taken on one type of craft they use, how they fly and what they use in them… ***the saucer shaped craft uses electrical batteries as propulsion power(this is why some are seen charging up on power lines), in the middle of some saucers there is a large circular ceiling to floor barrel structure it contains lithium type batteries extremely high voltage charges. The craft are made of layered and compressed metals titanium type layered compounds,the outer skin is electrified to reduce and eliminate drag
    and atmospheric resistance. Inside the saucer is a network of Compressed tiny frequency transmitting fiber optics for controls and for ON BOARD GUIDENCE SYSTEMS,SIMPLE. THEY USE THE EARTHS MAGNETIC AND GRAVATATIONAL FIELDS TO FLY *****************************************************
    THE COPPER CLINDER CIRCLES ON TOP OF THE CRAFT AND BOTTOM SPIN, PICTURE TWO SMALLER CIRCULAR DISKS ON TOP AND BOTTOM SPINING INDEPENDENTLY OF THE SAUCER. THEY CHARGE UP..THAT DIFFERENTIAL OF CHARGES INTERACTS WITH A PLANETS OR SPACES MAGNETIC FIELDS FOR LIFT AND MOVEMENT.
    THE SAUCERS ARE SHIELDED TO PREVENT EXPLOSIONS AND TO PREVENT MAGNETIC FIELD INTERACTIVITY……(THE OUTER SHELL IS CHARGED UP TO FLY W/O RESEISTANCE,
    IT STINGS when touched electrical pulse).
    I’M NOT A PHYSICS MAJOR BUT DID STUDY SOME ENGENERING. This may be the only we we can build these craft and get off the earth before these earth changes end our civilization!! Not kidding, google the last few years of forest fires around the world.

    They are trying to mind control our societies through Mhz frequency control, we think in about 11-80 MHz,and they use computers and oscilloscope combo. A type MRI equipment to read thoughts as we read print or a scientist reads peaks on a graph, as well as gravitational field tech. to beam in false info.

    Shield your brains and spinal cords!!! All of our military and armed forces should wear velostat 3M (signal protection electrical grounded materials on your head) caps and monitor the frequency changes around them, the government of the USA ours, needs to be informed of the greys methods and take steps to help each other, protect our families people this is real….(people in Britain were not ready, prepared for WWII, Study military history ) …(we have a very weak and complacent military/police/NSA/CIA/) The Greys have even infiltrated some govt individuals in these agencies………!!! Just because you were in church on Sunday and you see people speaking in tongs, falling to the floor, and saying they are talking to god? there is no god only ET groups, ET governments. Just because our president says, “thank you Jesus, it’s mind control…….pay attention and analyze what is going on in government, it is scary, not human.

    Some more devices which are still being used on my self and home include, some type of beam (laser), because I saw it, and followed up on the net and found that these beams can turn off all electrical switches including some in our nuclear arsenal. How is it that these nuclear silo switches are not shielded? I’m working on electrical shielding for my appliances, etc.

    Love
    Dan

    P.S. This was written under partial duress……they know where I live. Pass the info on.
    The Federated reptilian/gray/insectoid societies are using harmful technology to harm the human mind, causing
    memory loss and fatigue…FIGHT BACK, I use the above mentioned technology
    and when I go out and they start to harm my body with high intensity back spasm devices
    i.e. microwave, particle , mind control. I use my mind and picture each attacker
    being attacked by me,mental warfare. They hate loud music, food odors, perfumes, light, and our
    minds killing them…! I keep a gun and tazer by my side always now!!!

    Listen to this highly educated old man, if you see a craft these are not dolls, these are recessive
    violent, harmful, controlling alien males.they have an agenda! Read the info on the net with a grain of salt,
    why haven’t they come forward? They will not because of violent abductions, use logic.
    Protect your brains!!! stay away from them, Betty and Barney Hill were assaulted,
    all of the abduction cases are harmful rape and kidnapping humans, we in the USA have laws
    against these crimes yet our government turns in another direction. Because they control some
    people in our not one world govt yet.

    Space is alot more crowded than most people know, extremely dangerous NASA knows..Our Rocket
    systems and defense systems are frail…
    Connect the dots………2012,climate change, biology, secret governments, mind control, abductions,
    alien technologies genetic and magnetic, and we wonder where
    they come from reverse designs from crashed UFO…Many historians believe
    that many earth human races i.e. Mayans lived with ET Reptilian control..
    I’m building a small back yard underground shielded shelter for my wife
    don’t laugh at me I have been through a great ordeal and know much more than most! Not unlike African. Libyan tyrant, Korean and other many ET races are if not the same, worse!

  15. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » Amazing Grey Alien Conspiracy Comment on my Blog Says:

    [...] the title of this post says it all. Someone posted this massive crazy Grey Alien conspiracy rant in the comments of one of my posts. What do you make of it? // digg_url = [...]

  16. conspiracy freak Says:

    What do you make of it?
    to start up you can pay attention and get ready for a future a lot worse than portrayed in 1984.

  17. Robert Says:

    That’s really good money. I’m just starting up my own indie game development company, and I hope I can get that kind of profit!

  18. Allan Says:

    Yawn!

    Personally I think we should be more concerned about the slow but staedy threats of climate change and resource (oil) depletion, as any self respecting alien society would reallise that they only have to wait a couple of decades as we destroy our own civilisation ourselves!

    I’ve also always wondered why the B movie approach is needed even as a simple biological attack to take out soil/sea bateria/plankton or just redirect a few rocks from the asteroid belt and we’d be toast!

    But then if their planners , leaders and rulers have the same imagination and scientific understanding as ours that might explain … ;o)

  19. ArowxGames Says:

    Well I would like to post my stats on games but with only 2 sales so far, I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong…

    Still new game in the works, ready for round 3 fingers crossed!

  20. Grey Alien Games Says:

    I’m glad that you have not given in! 2 sales is more than zero. Figure out what you did right and do more of that, and figure out what you did wrong and do less of that. Also look at other great games and apply the same process. Copy + improve!

  21. Nibiru Says:

    awesome blog if you would like to trade links let me know my link is Nibiru Planet X

  22. Ideas aparentemente sueltas sobre derechos de autor e industrias culturales | El blog de Oscar Gallo Says:

    [...] o donde los nuevos canales de difusión (reality TV, TV por Internet, video sharing, podcasting, ventas indie) dan vitrina y difusión a los talentos ignorados por la maquinaria, más enfocada en los [...]

  23. How much money will your first game make? – Koonsolo Games Says:

    [...] are many more articles available on this topic, but none of them provide the answers you seek. That is until [...]

  24. How well can good casual games sell? - Magic-Ars Blog Says:

    [...] be it hit games or those that don’t sell well. Grey Alien Games has listed some of them in his article, if you are [...]