Sales Stats: Tribal Trouble – $60,000 Net Income

Title: Tribal Trouble
Developer: Oddlabs
Released: 1st April 2005
Team size: 4 full-time + 2 freelance
Time of development: 2� years (includes startup of the company, with many months spent on business
plans and other bureaucracy.)
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Links: Download / Buy

Price US $29.95
Direct online sales: 1500
….. Windows: 460 (31%)
….. Mac OS X: 680 (47%)
….. Linux: 160 (11%)
….. Undefined: 200 (11%)
Portal sales: 400
Danish box sales: 650
German box sales: (sorry, not allowed to say)

Downloads: 100,000 (initiated – from own server)
– Windows: 60,000
– Mac OS X: 25,000
– Linux: 15,000

Conversion rate: 1.5%
– Windows: 0.8%
– Mac OS X: 2.8%
– Linux: 1.1%

Net income: US $60,000 (roughly)

– Music/SFX/GFX: US $6000
– Servers: US $2000
– PR (press releases, gifts for PR competitions): US $600
– GDC (trip for 3 to San Jose + flyers and merchandice): US $4800

Tribal Trouble Developer Sune Nielsen added:

Of course there are a lot of other expenses, but none tied directly to Tribal
Trouble. These include hardware, software, rent and saleries (though they are
low :)), amounting to more than US $40,000. Our first fiscal report isn’t done
yet and I’m not the one working on it, so this is as close as I can get at
the moment.

– java.com
– press releases
– reviews
– banners
– IGF nomination


We have gotten a lot of downloads by being on the front page of java.com, and on their games page. Other than that, the press releases and the many online and hard copy reviews have generated the remaining downloads. We tried out banners at a few sites, but they didn’t convert enough. The IGF nomination also gave us quite a lot of good publicity.

There has been no direct impact on sales/downloads from the GDC. This I have also heard from other IGF finalists. The GDC mainly gives an advantage in getting publisher and other business connections. The press coverage from the fact that we were nominated gave some peaks in sales. Especially when the danish Computer World online wrote about it.


In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the game is published in retail by Halycon Media, at 29.95 EURO. Being from Denmark, we decided publish it there ourselves, and have had some success getting into the stores, but not all stores are willing to cut out the publisher/distributer links. The Danish box is sold for 299.95 DKK (just under US $50). By far the most copies have been sold to stores, but we have also sold a few from our website.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Craig: I’m not sure but updating your video card drivers could perhaps help?

    @Karen: I’m not sure… but you can purchase it online using secure payment processor. You can pay via Paypal, phone, check, wire transfer or even by mail.

  2. I tried the trial of tribal trouble. I like it verry much. is it possible to purchase it in a retail store?

  3. I would have loved to be part of that total but the game constantly blue screened when changing video resolutions.

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  6. A bold decision indeed, you guys have my thumbs up for it. :)
    Make sure you make a postmortem for the project some time, I’m eager to hear all about how it went.

  7. Ville: Actually we did quit our part time jobs to go full time, but the only reason we could do this is that we were still Computer Science students, and here in Denmark, people are payed to study in the university (about $750/month), so we have been living off that and reading up for the finals ourselves (with success). Just now we have run out of government student funds, but are able to pay ourselves the same amount from the profits. We are looking to get more games out there and get more portals and publishers selling TT so we can get payed what normal developers earn :)

  8. Tribal trouble is one of the best games I’ve played this year. It should deserve even more success than this!

  9. I hope that full time doesn’t mean these guys have quit their jobs to do it. :)

    TT is a swell game, I’m happy to see it has turned out a profit. Those sales stats really lead me to believe it’s worthwhile developing for a Mac.

    The expenses for music, sound effects and graphics seem rather high. I presume that goes for the contracted two fellas?

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