After a month of of being ignored by all major review sites, generating no noticeable impact on any forum and close to zero sales, I was pretty sure I had wasted a year of my time as well as my entire company budget and would be looking for a job soon. And then the AppStore team decided to feature NEW ORBIT. *Boom*
Over the first month the game had sold just under 350 copies and made just over EUR 200,-. To pay the rent, feed my family, pay insurances, taxes and to keep my tools and software up to date – in other words: to live a normal, humble life – I need around EUR 33.000,- per year. No big vacations, no new car, not too many shiny new tech-toys. And mind you that this is considerably less than what I earned back as a graphic artist at Funcom. So was I getting close? Yeah, close to crashing and burning, close to the end of my indie career, close to going up in flames…
Sales shot from 3 to 3000/day on the first weekend and I enjoyed a week of good sales followed by a week of decent sales once NEW ORBIT was off the frontpage.
I’m about 1/3 of the way to recouping my investment. It’s a start, but…
A PC/Mac port is almost done and there’s an exciting new platform that NEW ORBIT might launch on soon…
This was supposed to be an episodic game from the start. Now that the base tech is built, it would be stupid not to work with it and build more games that use it. And the next one won’t take a year to build. Hopefully.
More ways for players to show their support!
Selling a game for $0.99 is insane, there’s no other way to put it. But charging much more isn’t really working either – at least on the AppStore. Now I’ve had such a lot of positive responses, that I’m hoping at least a small group of people might be interested in more games and would consider supporting my game development thing beyond that one dollar. So: T-Shirts, Special Dev Support Program (Might turn this into a kind of preorder with a touch of kickstarter thing) – anything else you’d like to see? 3D printed asteroids? Soundtrack? Posters?
- If Apple doesn’t feature you’re game, it’s dead. No one will ever find it. Probably not even if they’re searching for it…
- Even if Apple is on your side, it’s not easy to succeed with a game that’s non-mainstream.
- Review sites don’t matter much. Only the hardcore geeks read reviews, the large majority just opens the AppStore and buys what’s featured or what’s in the charts.
- Good ratings and reviews help, bad ratings/reviews can kill you. 5 stars? Let’s check it out! – 3 stars? I guess I’ll buy something else.
- Bonus lesson: NEVER focus on one single platform!
Read Part 1 – “Death of an AppStore Salesman” here!