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rsnail

What is the average units sold for a independant game designer?

14 posts in this topic

(WARNING: I know this is a very strange question and may possibly be confidential) I am trying to put together a business plan for a small game project, and would like to know how many units the average small game developer sells per year, online. I understand the success of any game depends largely on the quality of the product, targeted audience, and marketing. Examples would be helpful? Feel free to share your success stories as well? http://www.rocketsnail.com
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Unfortunately (I say this because it should go the other way around) marketing comes before anything with online sales.

I remember a really cool indie game that was sold online called DarkStar or something like that. It was tons of fun and high quality...but they didn''t advertise and sold less than 100 units.

Then there was this stomach-curdling, seisure-inducing bloodfest game with crap graphics that advertised on download.com and made a pretty penny. Ain''t business beautiful.

However, this isn''t how it always is, and a game that markets well AND is tons of fun will always do better than one that just blows their money on ads.

Alex
Atypical Interactive
www.atypical-interactive.com
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Talk to local musicians who''ve put out indie CDs. In my experience the sales you get will be comparable.

An indie in any media can only expect to sell a few hundred copies. That''s part of being an indie. You''re going up against hundreds or thousands of others, and the majority of people tend to buy the same products. Look at it this way: If you were going to buy a CD, would you head over to a chain store and get something you''ve heard on the radio or seen on MTV--or a well known classic--or would you seek out a lesser known local band and buy their CD? You *can* break out of the mold and do much better, but it''s tough, just as becoming a local band with a sizable following is tough.

In a business plan, don''t assume you''re going to sell more than 500 copies of anything. The number of people who''ve gone beyond that are very, very few, and almost never with their first title.
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Thank-you for both your suggestions, they have been extremely helpful.

So far we have discovered that developing a independent "feature" game is increasingly difficult to market and even more difficult to find interested publishers.

Currently have found success in developing small games for corporate promotion. We see a niche for independent game developers to create the small branded games to replace the give-away coffee-cups and t-shirts, as a increasing number of consumers venture online.

http://www.rocketsnail.com
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The key to "indie sales" is to not expect all of them to come in the same 3-month period. It takes time to build sales. After all, if you''re an indie most people have never heard of you much less know that you have something to sell. You can kick-start that some with judicious advertising, but you might as well assume that it''ll take a year or two''s worth of sales to reach a decent number (even as little as a few thousand units sold).

The idea behind being an indie is doing what you want to do, and doing it well enough that you can make at least a partial living off of it. Sure, you can "scale up" over time to the point where that''s all you do, and maybe even to where you''re seeing a profit. But if you''re starting from "nothing", it takes some time to build.

The Journal - Released Summer 1996, total sales to date have been ~1500, currently averaging about 1.5 sales per day.

Paintball NET - Released Summer 1996, total payments processed to date: ~4500, currently averaging 4.5 per day

Artifact - Release October 1999, total payments processed to date: ~600, currently averaging about 2.5 per day


DavidRM
Samu Games
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Well, I''d say advertising would be a large chunk of it. Right on these boards would be a great place to start. Put the address in your signature. Reply to as many posts as you can with that signature showing. Offer a demo at your site that leaves them at an exciting part of the game. Keep them playing the demo over and over for fun.

Also, ask some friends that have frequently visited sites to display a banner on their web page for you. Make the banner noticable and interesting to lure people into it. And, you could do this but with other people''s site by asking them politely and offering them rewards like a banner to their site on your page.

If you already don''t, get friends in high places. You''d be suprised where you''d find them. They might hang out at the same message boards you do, or chat rooms. Email them. Get to know them. Find their icq number and converse with them. Ask them some of the question you''re asking now. Ask them to post your site''s link in their links section (If they have a webpage). Just get to be good friends and both of you may benefit from it.

Lastly, shop your idea around. If shareware doesn''t work for you maybe a publisher might. Who knows? Just be prepared to present desing documents, a demo, the complete game, and to be proffesional. A first impression is everything, everything.

Well, this is lastly I guess . Think like the customer. Sit down to your game and play through like a customer would. Do what you might try your first time through. Make average mistakes. This will prepare you to think like the customer as you make your game known. What attracts a person more? A write up or killer pictures? A description or a demo? Paper or plastic? Think like you would if you didn''t know the game. If you can''t, ask your friends too. Just be sure that they''ll tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God.

That''s enough typing for my 13 year old mind.
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It''s all advertising. You can make Quake 4, but if you don''t get it in the media, you won''t sell a copy.
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Exactly. (Although I don''t like quake it''s the truth, don''t hurt me! I''m an RPG and adventure fan!)
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First Rule of Marketing:

Advertising does *not* equal marketing.

Advertising is but one tool of marketing. Don''t consider it the *only* tool.


DavidRM
Samu Games
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You have to be careful with advertising. It costs a bundle and the return isn''t great in most cases. To get people to buy as a result of ads, you have to repeat the ads over and over. And after spending $20,000 or more on advertising--very easy--you''ve got to make that up in sales, which can be difficult. It''s better to start small and advertise later once you know what you''re doing. Don''t plan a big campaign for your first title.
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Umm........All of my ideas and ways of advertising were free as far as I can remember...
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While my experience in the game biz is very limited, I have been makeing commercial software for quite some time now, so here is my advice.

1.) The first thing you make will NOT sell a lot, if at all. Its the way theses things work, if your lucky though, you may get noticed by some people.

2.) If you have a TRULY good product, just get the word out! If you can build enough hype, you may be able to swing some support from a few investors. If you can survive long enough to bring the product to market, you may or may not get your wishes, but in my personal opinion, getting to market and not dieing in the process is the hardest part of the development cycle.

3.) If you can, and its good enough, you may be able to get published by a big name. Companies such as Epic, Verant, Psygnosis, etc. dint just "spring up" they worked themselves into the minds of their publishers, and eventually someone noticed that they had something that just might snaggle a pretty penny for their company.

4.) Don''t try to stay completely independent of publishers. If you want to be a 100% independent company, and you don''t already have a large amount of experience, you will probably not have success. Even with experience, you may still not succede due to lack of resources (See G.O.D.) so the publisher route is still your best chance of making it in the industry.

Hope you do well, maybe one day Ill see your products on the shelves with Quake5 or whatever.
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DavidRM .. i was just wondering, how are your games distibuted?
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vin: Internet only. Sometimes we get bundled on different shareware/game CDs that go out with magazines, but we don''t seek those deals out. The publishers just email us and ask permission.

Most of our new players come to us from:
1. Big shareware sites like download.com and zdnet.com
2. Big game sites like happypuppy.com and mpog.com
3. Word of mouth


DavidRM
Samu Games
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