Archive for March, 2009

Please Resubscribe to my RSS Feed

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Hi all, I recently changed my RSS feed to go via Google’s Feedburner so that I can track various statistics. So I’d really appreciate it if you can resubscribe to my RSS feed via this new link. Then I can see how many people subscribe and what articles they like best and so on. Thanks in advance!

50 Twitter Followers and Counting

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

So since signing up to Twitter a week or so ago I now have 50+ followers, neato! Thanks all.

Since then I’ve been reading more about twitter and finding out how others use it and my own usage has even evolved during that short period. Here’s a few things of note:

– At first I followed a couple of celebs (Stephen Fry and Wossy) just to see how they were using it, but their posts quickly became boring and had way too many @someone replies which had no relevance to me and thus were just more crap to wade through. So I’ve unfollowed them. I’ve also learnt not to make loads of @someone replies in my own Tweets.

– I didn’t follow many people at first because I didn’t want it to be like a new in box to be processed, but now I’ve followed a few more because I’ve found their posts to be highly relevant to me. I’m following some friends, new agey people, blog experts, and programmers pretty much. For now that’s a good mix for me and I’m enjoying it. I prefer positive/funny or useful Tweets to negative/boring ones so will unfollow anyone that fails to meet those criteria.

– To find out who I might be interested in following I simply looked at who was following me and then checked out who they were following. If I recognised a name or the name sounded like they would be interesting (because it hinted at what they did) then I checked out their Twitters (and blogs) and followed them if they were good. I know there are other ways to find people to follow but I haven’t needed to use them yet.

– When some friends/associates followed me I sometimes felt a sort of (self-imagined) social pressure to follow them, but I didn’t always. I’ve noticed that some people always follow everyone that follows them. This seems to be called reciprocal following, but it seems crazy to me as you’ll soon build up way too many people to follow effectively.

– Some of my followers seem like people who are interested in my blog and company but a lot of marketing/SEO types also seem to follow me. When I look at their details they often have 10,000+ followers and are following a similar amount of people. I’m pretty sure they are just following me for some kind of marketing ploy or in the hope that I’ll reciprocate follow. I haven’t blocked these people (yet) as they boost my numbers. We’ll see if they become annoying in some way, but hopefully they won’t.

– I can post to Twitter from my iphone using some voice recognition software. This is pretty neat but I haven’t used it much yet. Most of the time I just post via the web direct on

– There are tons of twitter apps popping up all over the place, many are web-based apps. One called Tweekdeck allows you to follow tons of people in a more organised manner. I haven’t used any apps yet though, perhaps I’ll see something really cool soon. I just use to quickly browse tweets of the people I’m following and click I links of interest to check them out.

– I haven’t received many messages so haven’t entered into many conversations. That’s OK though as I might kind of find it a hassle replying, like dealing with email, but then again it could be fun. Some of the messages I’ve had so far have been good and prompted me to post decent replies (like someone asking for links to the stuff I was reading etc).

– It does seem to be a bit addictive but it’s not too bad, I have it under control 🙂 I’m just interested in why it’s so popular and what sort of usage patterns are emerging from it.

– How will I use it in the future? Well I don’t really know. At the moment I guess I’m using it as a sort of RSS feed to get bits of useful information from other people. As for my own tweeting I’m posting useful information, links to my blog posts, news about me and the occasional piece of advice. My future use may well change.

Please share your twitter experiences with me as I’m always interested in hearing how other people use it. Thanks!

Xmas Bonus Sales Stats

Monday, March 9th, 2009

A year ago I made this post which details the effective hourly wages I’ve earned from 5 of my products. The fantastic thing about games (and other digital products) is that once the work is done you can keep on selling them and making money (you still need to do some/lots marketing of course depending on the product). So that post is now *way* out of date because the effective hourly wages for some of my products have more than quadrupled since then!

The effective hourly wage for Xmas Bonus has not quadrupled though. It was my first game (launched in December 2005) and it looks pretty primitive now. It’s not sold in very many locations and I haven’t bothered to “relaunch” it on any portals. However I still believe that it’s a good game and the customers who buy it seem to enjoy it. For me it’ll always be special as my first commercial game that was the launchpad for my career as a casual game developer.

Sales Stats

I’ve kept the sales stats in dollars because that seems to be the “universal” currency these days when discussing games, mainly because most of the big portals are based in the US and that is currently where most of the customers live too.

– Direct Sales: 14
– Portal Sales: 411
– Total Sales: 425

– Direct Revenue: $111.00 (approx.)
– Portal Revenue: $1362.66 (approx.)
– Total Revenue: $1473.66 (approx.)

Note: This is the net revenue, so the value of sales minus transaction fees and publisher/portals commissions. Gross revenue would have been a lot higher, maybe $8000+

Note: The game was originally launched at $19.95 but when I relaunched it again the year after I dropped the price to $9.95 at a few places. However, the most sales were made in the first year anyway.

Check out this graph of sales over the last 3 years. You can see peaks each Christmas season. The first two peaks are big because they correspond to the initial launch and “re-launch” where I asked the portals to re-promote it again because it was a seasonal game. After that I didn’t bother to re-launch it because I was focussed on my newer more successful games.



– Blitz Plus: $52
– Protean IDE: $45
– IStockPhoto: $20
– greyaliengames domains: $38
– Web hosting: $27

– Total expenses: $182

– Total profit: $1291.66

– Profit per unit: $3.04

Of course almost all of these expenses were for reusable things such as the programming language and the website. The only one-off expense was some artwork from IStockPhoto costing $20 (gone are the days when you can make a game with cheap stock art if you expect it to sell any decent numbers).

Effective Hourly Wage

For my other products I’ve kept a detailed time log and so I can very accurately calculate the effectively hourly wage by dividing the profit by the number of hours worked. However, I did not keep a proper log for Xmas Bonus, and also a lot of the time was spent just figuring out how to program some technical stuff that commercial games need like an icon, windowed mode etc.

Anyway, based on the logs of my other games I estimated that Xmas Bonus took approximately 250 hours. This gives an effective hourly wage of $5.17. Not exactly an impressive figure, but it’s more than none! Every other game I’ve made since has made more money (a lot more money). The fact that my first game sold any copies at all and made any money is an achievement in itself. It encouraged me to keep going and to move onto bigger and better things.

Keep an eye out for more sales stats soon including Easter Bonus and Holiday Bonus (the stats for this game are pretty exciting).

I hope that you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading.