Sales Statistics: Morning’s Wrath

General:
Title: Morning’s Wrath
Short description: Classic Adventure / RPG fusion. It combines rich story and puzzles with intense melee and spell-casting combat.
Developer: Ethereal Darkness Interactive
Released: October 1, 2005
Current Version: 1.3
Team size: 5 person team
Time to complete: 3 years (part time)
Distribution: Boxed and Downloadable version
Distribution Outlets: MorningsWrath.com, JustAdventure.com
Demo download size: about 80 MB

Income:
Date: Oct 2005 – Feb 2006 (5 months)
Downloads: over 3000 (2000+ from download.com, over 1000 from other places)
Sales: 100 units
Price – boxed: 29.95 USD
Price – download: 19.95 USD
Gross sales: 2000 – 3000 USD (both boxed & download – majority come from downloads)
Conversion rate: 1-3% (for download version)

Revenue share – boxed:
The manufacturer MRW Connected: 10 USD per sold unit, roughly 33% (responsible orders, issues with sales, etc.)
Ethereal Darkness Interactive: 10 USD per sold unit, roughly 33%
EDI’s team members: 10 USD per sold unit, roughly 33%

Revenue share – download:
The manufacturer MRW Connected: 0% (handling orders also for download version)
Ethereal Darkness Interactive: 50%
EDI’s team members: 50%

Expenses:
Bugdet: 3000 USD (tools, graphics and audio, little bonuses to developers during the development)
Webhosting Costs: Sponsored

Advertising & Promotion methods:
* Press Releases
* Demo
* Reviews
* Forums

27 thoughts on “Sales Statistics: Morning’s Wrath

  1. Ivin

    I’d say focus on better presentation. The site is very bland with little to please the eye. More illustrations. The few that are there, pretty much just the logos, don’t look very professional or interesting. The in-game graphics aren’t great either but maybe that can’t be helped.

    For the new game, I’d rethink the name… Malathedra goes in one ear and right out the other.

    Reply
  2. Devon C

    Well, First I want to say the DL version is not to large.
    Second, that I think that the real problem is that the game is a mix of two small nitch markets, and then you went adn mixed them. So of course sales are small.
    However I like the art to a degree, and I see you did find a distributer or two how did that turn out?

    Reply
  3. David Rodriguez

    It actually didn’t boost sales that much. It helped keep things steady for a little while but things dropped off in June. Today we’ve marked the game off by 50% now just to get some more sales going.

    We’re focusing a lot of attention on the minor details that lacked polish in Morning’s Wrath for our next game, Malathedra. So far the developers that have tested the game have found it much better then Morning’s Wrath. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

    We are working on a deal with a big digital distributor, I’ll be hearing back from them next week to see if they like the full version of the game.

    Reply
  4. Markku Rankala

    Passive income is passive income. As long as you don’t “lift a finger” to sell your game you’re doing good business in my opinion.

    If you don’t know what it is, I seriously suggest getting into basic economics before trying to make a living out of any type of gaming market. It is one of the most elementary concepts what becomes of business and I really hope people stop romaticizing business, money-making and so on as it’s rather straightforward and simple, really. Finding good people is ten times harder than making a good buck out of a good product with proper marketing.

    Oh, it’s quite interesting to see all the “big names” in here, like Sakura Games, Positech’s Cliff and so on, great stuff! :D To David I wish luck and I’m eager to hear if the discount boosted the sales!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  5. David Rodriguez

    We have now released the Official Soundtrack of Morning’s Wrath for $12.95. We are also having 25% off sale of Morning’s Wrath the game.

    Now we shall see if this boosts sales…

    Reply
  6. David Rodriguez

    I’ve emailed Valve a couple of times in the past but never heard back from them. We are currently working on a couple of deals to get Morning’s Wrath out there, I’ll keep you all informed.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Edevi, desarrollo indie de juegos » Blog Archive » Estadísticas de Ventas (III)

  8. Penguinx

    I don’t mean to be harsh, but I think a lot of the lack of downloads could be due to the art style which looks a bit amateurish – the in-game art looks swell, but the promotional art with the pen and ink indie comic look doesn’t quite fit. I’d go for a more painterly style, I think.

    Reply
  9. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    Alright… I’ve updated the information. Should be more detailed now.

    I’ve come up with one major improvement they could use: the order pages. At the moment it takes several clicks before I can order (“purchase”, “download version”, “checkout”… and after that I can go to fill my personal data). What about if I could get to “checkout” just one click? I bet that would be an improvement.) I would also consider changing the colors… and forget the “user login” stuff – that’s additional information I wouldn’t have…)

    Anyway. Thanks for David for sharing the data. And hopefully you get more sales!

    Reply
  10. Jerane Alleyne

    is it safe to say that they might not have distributed their demo to all possible resources where it might have done the most good? Putting the demo on sites like Fileshack, Fileplanet and the like would probably give it a bit more exposure. I’ve seen games of similar type get downloads at nearly half of that total within a month’s time.

    I also agree that 80mb for this type of game should not be an issue, but possibly is in regards to where you’re demo is being presented at. No doubt if it is being shown off at game portals that cater to the casual audience that are used to smaller downloads, then yeah its an issue. Put this where the players are used to +200mb downloads and there shouldn’t be a problem.

    I beleive I did see an ad for this game on Gametunel and another site. Its a shame that more gaming sites don’t cover these games. It might help towards more exposure.

    I plan on checking this game out now to see what its like now…

    Reply
  11. DannyB

    It may be lack of advertising – or the way it is being advertised.

    I see an advert box on gamedev.net nearly every day I go there. The main reason I don’t download and play the game is because of the art used to advertise it. I just don’t like the looks of the girl – I know it sounds crazy but thats the reason. The piece of hair in her face drives me crazy!

    Unfortunatly (for relatively unknown games) “box art” is a main selling point. If people don’t like what they see, they probably won’t put up the money to buy.

    My 2 cents.

    Reply
  12. Sakura Games

    the demo size is nothing to worry about. Aveyond is 45mb too, and is doing well according to their authors. If you look at BFG or Real sites they had games with 200+mb download.
    So I think download size isn’t really the problem with the game.

    I know that I could earn more with an IT job etc. but I was talking to make money within game business, and the best way as Funpause (and later Mystery Studio) showed us, is simply cloning successful games.

    Reply
  13. David Rodriguez

    Hi guys,

    I’m the Marketing Director for EDI Games. I actually sent Juuso the wrong information. MRW only takes $10 per box copy sold. They don’t get money off of the download version.

    One of the reasons that I believe people aren’t really downloading this game is because of the graphics alone. Tons of gamers download games that are 600 megabytes, but those are commercial games that look great. Morning’s Wrath is really a niche title. We’ve had complaints from gamers on boths sides, RPGS & Adventure, that don’t like the game because it merges the genre and doesn’t stick to one or the other. So it’s really hard to find a base on this fact.

    The market that we haven’t tapped into is female and older players. I’ve only recently looked into female oriented game websites.

    I’m also working on getting reviews from more websites. I guess when I sent out the game release PR, editors didn’t pay attention to what it all said, as it included a press copy form.

    We are also looking into several other ways of distribution. We haven’t had success yet with getting into stores, but we are in negoatiations.

    Our forum has been pretty active when we’ve called on our fanbase to help us out with somethings, like what to include in a patch.

    The EDI team is all parttime so this is one of the reasons why it took us 3 years to develop Morning’s Wrath. We’re working on our next game whcih should be released sometime next year. We’ve developed a new 2D engine which was made in the intention of developing 2D games in a much faster pace. We’ll be releasing further gameplay information sometime around June 2006.

    Right now Project 2 has 2 members working on it. This is way we can’t go back and release a new demo for Morning’s Wrath. We’re hoping to build off of all the things that we learned during and after the development of Morning’s Wrath and make a better game.

    We’re not done with Morning’s Wrath though. We are planning on releasing the soundtrack sometime before summer. Everyone who played Morning’s Wrath loved the soundtrack so we should have some success with that.

    Another thing that we didn’t do during Morning’s Wrath was sending our PRs during the development of the game. It was really when I came on board on November 2005 which game sites found out about this game. We weren’t able to get coverage from preview copies, etc. This is one thing that we’re changing for Project 2 when we officially announce it.

    Both MW and EDI’s website aren’t the best as far as getting news out there. I’ve used the forums to send emails to our costumers about whatever news we have. Another flaw is that we don’t have a site statistics program so we don’t know how many visitors we are getting nor how many download the demo from the site directly.

    We really haven’t had a good word of mouth system. We’ve had costumers come onto the forum saying that they like the game but I guess they haven’t told their friends about it.

    Anyway, thanks for all the comments. It’s great to hear outside opinions. ;0)

    Reply
  14. Nexic

    I’m willing to bet the 80meg demo is the reason for the lack of downloads. Though I think this also shows how having 5 people, spend 3 years on something is just massive overkill in online games. Even if they go their demo down to about 10 meg and made 20 times as many sales, they still would be paying each team member about $4,000 per year, which is tiny. (unless it was only part time)

    My games don’t make that much more than this one, but because I’m one man, working for only 4 months with cheap tools it’s workable.

    For what they are doing they should have aimed at retail.

    Reply
  15. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    @Ville: Ok. Then maybe they could use hint: “put the forum link” on first page ;)

    @Sakura Games Says: Well… if you want to make *money* rather than games then you could drop making 3match puzzle games and get a job from IT industry…

    @cliff harris: I presume they handle also customer related things… and something more. I presume the manufacturer is more than just a portal/ecommerce partner.

    @Roman Budzowski: Actually – your statement got me thinking: I confirmed this data to be ok (from the developer) so I thought the gross sales is the total sales (both boxed + online). I emailed the author and will tweak the conversion rate accordingly. I shall also put sales figures for both boxed & online if he is willing to share them.

    Reply
  16. Ville

    They do have forums, but they’re hidden in the support section. I fully agree that building a community and supporting community events could be effective in getting sales in this case.

    Reply
  17. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    @Ville: Tim already responded that 80 meg demo could have something to do with that and I agree. It’s not so portal friendly. That would also explain the high conversion rate – only people who are *really* interested will download and try it.

    I presume there’s also improvements to be made in the marketing. I don’t know what press release services they have done, or who reviewed their game so it would be hard to say.

    Here’s 10 tips for them:
    1) First of all I would start figuring out how to get players purchase again. Maybe it could be an expansion pack – an add-on with new leves/areas, monsters, creatures, items. etc.
    2) I would also think about the big picture: would it be possible to bring this game more into the retail world? Could they start making exclusive deals with different wholesellers?
    3) I would also start building a community forums. Their game players must have ideas and need to discuss in public. opening forums for players would bring more players – and would also help getting the word out.
    4) They could start gathering people (and get people to download) by participating in RPG/adventure forums. There’s lots of potential people on different forums – developers could start talking with them.
    5) They could even create MW events – maybe an event for 20-30 players (in physical world) where they could meet the developers and discuss about the future etc.
    6) Public conferences: they could present their game in public – and get people / publishers attracted. And if developers have MW mousepads, t-shirts or key chains to spare the better :)
    7) Development articles: maybe they could bring MW’s post mortem public and announce it at gamasutra.com (or in other places)
    8) Dev journal: maybe they could make their development more visible – that would help foster the community.
    9) Newsletter: One more way to build the community would be the use of newsletter. At the moment they don’t have one, but it could be good (especially when they start announcing their expansion packs etc.)
    10) Word-of-mouth – it would be important to get people to tell other people about the game. Maybe there could be “tell a friend” button? Or maybe a discounts if people tell to others?

    @Alex & smat: Getting 100 sales is a good result. The indie games won’t bring massive amount of money. That’s a very fine start. It requires long term concentration to get more sales and more exposure. And notice: it’s just the beginning sales. Their game has potential – now they just need to figure out how to get more exposure & more players.

    Reply
  18. Sakura Games

    Well it clearly show that the market for niche products is much risky and dangerous than casual market. You can make a match3 puzzle in 2-3 months and still get more income than this game (unless you make a very bad job).

    Reply
  19. cliff harris

    giving 50% of your income away to a portal is suicide, just because other people do it doesnt mean its a good idea. The whole point of the web was to free the little guys from the big publishers. Some people just ran in to the same old unfair system eagerly. Madness.

    Reply
  20. smat

    hm sorry i’m a newbie, but for me it seems that this is very few income. if they work for three years and the expenses are about 3000, and at the end they only get 1500 (50%) they make even a deficit????

    Reply
  21. Tim Fisher

    I think the 80MB demo may have put quite a few people off downloading it. I wonder if the developers have thought about using a very lightweight demo – can’t hurt to try. Perhaps a lightweight web version? (hint hint)

    I’d also suggest that 50% to a portal/publisher is a very good deal and one that you would be hard pushed to better.

    Reply
  22. Ville

    Their conversion rate seems good, but how do you explain such low figures for downloads? And what would you suggest for them to get more downloads? Maybe some ads? Paid listings?

    Reply

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