Game: Cactus Bruce and the Corporate Monkeys
Short description: Gameplay is a cross between a Frozen Bubble-type game and a Breakout-type game.
Developer: Blue Tea Games
Released: November 2004
Current Version: 2.4, revised 10 times.
Team size: 5 people
Time to complete: 2.5 months (v1.0)
Date: Jan 2005 – Dec 2005 (12 months)
Downloads: 555 000 (estimation)
Sales: 4993 units
Price: varies (7.00 – 19.95 USD)
Gross sales: tens of thousands
Conversion rate: 0.6 – 1.2%
Direct Sales: 35.75%
Direct Affiliate Sales: 4.05%
Distribution channels: 60.2%
Advertising & Promotion methods:
* Press Release for v1.0 and v2.0
* Download.com PPD program
* Promosoft to PAD download sites
* Finding review sites and ask for reviews
* Regnow Affiliates searches
Who is the game producer?
- The one who works with the programmers.
- The one who works with the marketers.
- The one who works with the artists.
- The one who who works with anyone else.
- The one who gets blamed when failure comes.
- The one who will confront the blame.
- The one who is prepared to deal with any possible problem.
- The one who gives space to others to work their way.
- The one who understands how important all team members are.
-The one who makes sure team gets the credit it deserves.
That’s the one.
Word-of-mouth marketing is simply the phenomena where people tell other people about your product.
Mouth-of-word marketing takes time. You cannot control how fast the news travel. Don’t focus on doing tricks and ‘quick solutions’ to getting people to talk about your game. Advertising is okay, asked referrals are okay – but people who talk about your game will decide whether they talk about your game. You cannot decide what they will say. The only thing you can control is your product and how you present it. Concentrate on that.
The secret is: Focus on quality product. Whether it’s your blog, service or your game, the quality is the key. Think what products you have recommended to your friends. These products and services all share this common trait: they have been very useful to you and that’s why you recommend them to your friends. That’s where you have to aim as well: Give others something worth talk about.
Fraps offers an easy way to record video while playing your game. I made a small video from Abyssfire game package. It was easy and fast.
Some usage hints:
- Start your game in fullscreen in order to record it (I couldn’t record windowed game)
- Download VirtualDUB to compress the recorded video
- After launching the prog, remember to use “no sound” option
- I used “video > compression > Indeo video 5.10″ with “80% quality” (thanks to Tim for this hint) to get the file size lower
- File > Save as AVI and you are done.
Our newest sales statistic are from Xmas Bonus. Game developed by Grey Alien Games and published by Indiepath. Xmas Bonus is a shape swapping puzzle game.
Date: December 18th – 26th Dec (9 days)
Downloads: 52,000 (including 2 Portals: BigFish and Reflexive)
Price: 19.99 USD
Gross profit: 3298.35 USD (exluding portals)
Avg. Conversion rate: 0.3%
Blitz Plus 52 USD
STG Pro (unused) 25 USD
Protean 45 USD
Blitz Max 86 USD (unused)
IStockPhoto 20 USD
greyaliengames domains 38 USD
webhosting 27 USD
= 273 USD
Total expenses: about 30% from gross profit (affiliates, ecommerce provider and other fees – exluding portals)
Net profit: 2300 USD (estimation)
Xmas bonus was released as an experiment. The sales figures aren’t typical, Xmas bonus was targetted and released within 2 weeks of Xmas. No additional marketing was done. The Net Profit percentage is not typical. Normally we would advertise a title.
Quite well done for a non-serious attempt! Big thanks to Tim for sharing this data – and also big thanks for Jake for developing this game.
There was an interesting design point at Casual Game Design blog
Let’s suppose your player has three minutes to solve the current level. How do you tell her how much time she has left? Oh, I know, we’ll put a nice digital clock on screen. No? How about an analogue one, then.
Still no, I’m afraid. The nicest solution I have seen is in Wik and the Fable of Souls. Instead of a clock, the game has a creature that walks from the left side of the screen to the right side. If it reaches the right side, you were too slow: try again. You can even drop honey in front of the creature to slow him down; the equivalent of a time bonus.
The reason I like this approach so much, is that it is completely integrated into the game. How would you do the same thing with the player’s health bar? Or with the number of lives he has left?
You could change the “happy running” animation to “crippled walking” in case of “health”. What comes to “lives” – maybe the player model could have some elements hanging at him? Like maybe a necklace with 5 red hearts… 4 hearts… 3h earts… and the necklace would be animating as you move. Would that be something?
I like this kind of approach – it’s not possible always, but it would reduce the number of elements in the graphical user interface. And it would be visually more attractive (at least to my eye ;))
I have collected indie game sales statistic from different sources across the net. I’m starting to put these figures public in this month and continue to do so as I receive more and more statistics. If you are an indie game developer and would like to share your info, please feel free to contact me or post a comment. I’m sure this data will help many beginner developers to get some idea on how much games are selling.
The first sales data comes game called Democracy by Positech Games. Democracy is a political strategy game.
Date: June 2005
Buy page views: 965
Price: 22.95 USD
Gross profit: 3551,1 USD
Conversion rate: 13.69%
Date: July 2005
The figures for July are down to 6.1%, but thats due to a huge download spike whose sales impact might not have trickled through yet.
Date: June 2005 – January 2006 (8 months)
Avg. Price: 21.45 USD (went up from 19.95 to 22.95 4 months ago)
Gross profit: 42900 USD
Adwords: 150 USD per month
Other advertising: 50-200 USD per month
Ecommerce provider: 10% off each sale
Affiliate fees: some
Additional comments from the developer:
I expected sales to drop quite a bit after the christmas bonanza (mainly due to the game tunnel awards), but they are still doing ok. So I am spending a fair bit to get that, but I’m still way in profit. It’s just a pity I live somewhere so expensive. It’s worth pointing out that there was also another bunch of cash from European retail deals (not included in figures), and that (so far) the game is not on any portal. Also, I’m not counting my RegNow sales, which is probably another 5-6%.
Thanks cliffski for sharing this information.
This is something I don’t want to see in your website:
“Sorry, I haven’t updated my website/news/game/blog lately because [insert some false excuse about being 'busy' here] and [put some irrelevant mumblings here]“.
It’s possible that a hard drive of your computer, backups and everything is lost and the service provider closed down your account – and cat ate your mouse – you never know. But basically – I don’t think these kinds of news bring anything else than bad reputation.
Another my favourite:
The beta is coming at September 2005.
It’s 2006. And February… don’t display old release dates in your site. Make another news announcement.
Keep your site updated.