Sales Statistics: Crystal Cave and Crystal Cave Gold

Title: Crystal Cave & Crystal Cave GOLD
Description: Crystal Cave and Crystal Cave Gold are family-fun puzzle games.
Developer: 300AD
Released: 1st March 2004, GOLD August 2004, Mac August 2005
Team size: 2
Time of development (all version together): 2 months (not fulltime, only 3-4 hours/day). 2 weeks programming + graphics, 3 weeks levels design, 1 week testings and one month creating level hints (due to customer requests, because some levels are really hard).
Platform: Windows, Mac OS X

Price: US $12.95 (Crystal Cave), US $19.95 (Gold)
Direct sales:
– Crystal Cave: 334 copies
– Crystal Cave Gold: 252 copies
– Crystal Cave Gold MAC: 74 copies
Net sales: (Net sales is the cash received. Gross sales is the sales before payment processing fees.)
– Crystal Cave: US $3328.09 USD (Gross sales: US $4649.84, including sales taxes)
– Crystal Cave Gold: US $3450.78 (Gross: US $5427.36, including sales taxes)
– Crystal Cave Gold MAC: US $1211.72 (Gross: US $1559.54, including sales taxes)
Other sales:
– Portals, distributors: US $4000 – $5000 (Gross: not allowed to say – Gameproducer’s guess: near $15000)
TOTAL: US $11000 – $12000

Conversion rates: (counted from files requests, not from full download files)
– Windows: 1.0%
– Mac: 0.7%

Windows: 55000 (25.000 download.com, 30.000 primary and secondary servers)
Mac: 12100

– press release: US $100
– porting the mac version: US $150
– other (download.com, google adwords, etc.): US $650
TOTAL: US $900

Promotion methods:
– Manually submitted to download sites first year
Press release
Google adwords
Download.com (US $99 program for 4 months)
newsletters to friends
competitions (that were self made)
– sending infor to several news conferences

Additional comments:
Pavel Tovarys:

Tip for developers – don’t do very hard logic levels. Some of levels in Crystal Cave GOLD are extremelly hard and there are no many people who finish them and casual players have usually problems with middle difficulty levels, so we got hundreds of level support request “how could I finish the level” and we had to create a special hints page for the players. Some of players send us tens of support mails ;)

Thanks for the sales statistics Pavel, and good luck with the sales.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Wow that looks very profitable for a 2 month game. I’d call that a success.

  2. @mathgenius: “But the 160 or so hours spent developing could have netted $16,000 to $24,000 in contracting fees.”
    Now that would be something I’d like to see. Getting $20K per month would be nice. Where could you get contracting fees that big? (for one month job)

  3. Except that the game was somehow developed for $0.

    Nowhere in the $900 is the cost of development mentioned. From what I have seen, paying programmers and artists is a big part of the cost of making games. The low cost includes marketing costs, plus a small cost paid to port the game to Mac. But the 160 or so hours spent developing could have netted $16,000 to $24,000 in contracting fees.

    The economics are great if someone is paying your living expenses (e.g. dorm room with food included) but for anyone else thinking these numbers are great, you gotta take into account that these numbers have completely zeroed out the time spent on development. I suppose that’s ok if it’s time you would have otherwise spent watching South Park, but it doesn’t scale well.


  4. Great thanks for confirming that it’s net sales on portals. That means the number of sales would be around 600 minimum on the portals, good work!

  5. Yes, it’s NET sales.

    Different price: There are tax included in the gross revenue. F.e. EU countries have special taxes and the prices are 12.95 for USA, but 15.22 USD for United Kingdom, 19.27 for France, 21.35 for Finland etc.

  6. @Jake: 100% confirmation got: it’s NET sales. I asked him to give more details… but now we wait to see whether he is allowed to say.

    @Pavlos: It might be that the price of the game has changed, or discount or some other adjustment that has happened. But, I’ll ask.

    Just a moment… ;)

  7. Something is not right about the sale figures:

    334 sales for “crystal cave” at $12.95 each should give $4325.3 gross profit (334 *12.95), and not the stated $4649.84. The other games have similar discrepancies.

    Maybe I’m missing something, the differences are small anyway, but I would like to have a clarification on this. Maybe the difference is from affiliate sales?

  8. Cool, might be nice to 100% confirm this (i.e. net or gross portal figure), and perhaps total qty of portals sales, if he’s allowed to say. Who added up the TOTAL, you or Pavel?

  9. I’m assuming that the Portals, distributors: US $4000 – $5000 is Net right, not gross, meaning around 600 portal sales? If it’s gross, it’s around 200 portal sales (excluding discounted ones) and therefore shouldn’t be included in the Total because the total only includes the net figures doesn’t it (well it doesn’t specifically say actually)?

  10. Don’t forget this game will sell for years. So the $12000 are just the beginning.

  11. Great information many thanks to all involved for publishing it. So I’d rate these games a success, as each developer got around $6000 for two months work. Not mega money but nothing to sniff at either!

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