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lopenka

sales numbers for tactical games

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Hi there, I am trying to make rough estimate about how many copies can I hope to sell when I finish my game. I was thinking about looking on sale numbers of other simmilar games and start from here. It maybe isn't best way but I don't know any better, since I never done anything simmilar before. My game will 3D tactical action rpg game, simmilar to fallout tactics. So if anybody knows about simmilar games and their sale numbers (not necesarily AAA titles like fallout tactix and commandos) let me know.

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Simple answer: Most likely none or very few sales. Nearly every homebrew game is a commercial failure. Knowing nothing about your product, the statistics say that it is safe to assume it will fail.



Long answer: Exactly how many sales you get are derived from many factors.

How many people know about your game? Even if you made the perfect game, people will not buy it if they don't know it exists.

How much are you spending on advertising? It is common for major titles to spend more money on advertising than they spend on software development.

How effective is your advertising? Are you hitting the target market? Are you effectively marketing? How much interest are the advertisements generating?

Once you have driven traffic to your site (or put your information on a site with traffic), what are you actually trying to sell them? If it is not compelling they will not want to buy. Once they are exposed to it, do they actually like the product? If they like the product, will they accept the price you are offering at?

There are many articles in the reference section of the site, such as "how to get more sales for less work by Steve Pavlina, or shareware professionals vs shareware amateurs by the same author.





Most homebrew games don't advertise. When they do, they often market to the wrong crowd. When they get the right people, they will often pitch their stuff poorly. The few who advertise enough and manage to drive the right people to their site often fail due to bad presentation. The few who present will will often fail to entice them to buy. Of those who still succeed, customers get lost while deciding to buy or otherwise convert to a sale. Of those who want to buy, a portion of them will be unable to buy due to site navigation issues or technological barriers. If there is anybody left at this point in the cycle, you have a sale.

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Lets say I have bunch of skilled people and enough money to fund small team of professionals for year (and half maybe). I plan to finish it in one year and offer complete product to publisher (whether I will succeed or not is not an issue right now) so all advertising will be probably his responsibility.

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I plan to finish it in one year and ... advertising will be probably [the publisher's] responsibility.

Well, now the question isn't how many copies you can sell but whether or not you'll be able to get your game published by a publisher. Then the number of copies that can be sold is also the publisher's responsibility. So all you have to do is get the publishing deal. FAQ 11: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson11.htm. Good luck!

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Thanks for reply, I remember reading similar (maybe it was that one) FAQ few months ago. It is interesting reading and a must for everyone new to industry :)
But I would really like to have some approximate number of what can I hope for. I know it is dependent on lot of stuff but knowing how much copies of similar games were sold could be a good start

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But I would really like to have some approximate number of what can I hope for.

The realistic number is zero [edit] to twenty copies [/edit].
But if you want to hope for a million copies, go ahead. There's nothing wrong with having hopes.
Edit: To put it another way: the higher the number you hope for, the lower the likelihood of achieving that number.

[Edited by - tsloper on October 13, 2007 1:49:04 PM]

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But I would really like to have some approximate number of what can I hope for.

The realistic number is zero [edit] to twenty copies [/edit].
But if you want to hope for a million copies, go ahead. There's nothing wrong with having hopes.
Edit: To put it another way: the higher the number you hope for, the lower the likelihood of achieving that number.


sure, but when I have publisher, isn't some "minimum" number of copies little higher than 1-20 ?

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Original post by lopenka
But I would really like to have some approximate number of what can I hope for.

The realistic number is zero [edit] to twenty copies [/edit].
But if you want to hope for a million copies, go ahead. There's nothing wrong with having hopes.
Edit: To put it another way: the higher the number you hope for, the lower the likelihood of achieving that number.


sure, but when I have publisher, isn't some "minimum" number of copies little higher than 1-20 ?


Publishers are in it for money. If you are going to ask them for any funding, it is their job to ensure that the game will sell hundreds of thousands of copies. If they aren't completely convinced of this, they will not accept your pitch.

Because of this, it is very difficult for many small businesses to get a publisher.


As always, buyer beware.

Just because they accept your project doesn't mean they will market it. Occasionally publishers will accept a job and then, realizing that they will have a nearly impossible time selling it, will only "market" your product by burying it with a list of thousands of other products.



There is no way to guarantee a minimum number of sales. If any such guarantee existed, wise investors would leap at the guaranteed return on investment. That doesn't exist in the real world.

Business is all about risk. One risk is that nobody will be interested. Another risk is that you never reach the people who would be interested.



The lowest risk way to ensure a successful marketing campaign is to spend millions of dollars. As we were entering beta on my last project, our team was told the marketing budget. It included a $3M television campaign across the US (for one week!), a $5M print campaign in basically all the game magazines, and $1M online campaign.

It is common for marketing to cost more than the cost of development.


So, if you have the money to develop your product and the money to market your product, then you can afford to pay the publisher directly for their services. Very few companies have that kind of money.

If you are looking for a publisher to advance you sales money or to pay for marketing, then you are hoping that they will take a huge risk. You will still pay for the services, meaning they get all the sales money until they recover the money they invested in your product. As an unknown you will need a really, really, really good product in order for them to accept the risk that they won't recover their investment. Small publishers and online-only aggregate resellers will often accept lower quality work, but the lower their standard the less they will invest in your success. The lowest end aggregators will accept any project, and include it in an encyclopedic list of products that nobody will ever look at.

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oh... I thought that when publisher have some game, he will automatically try to sell as much copies as possible. I am still little naive :) thanks for throwing me into real world :)

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oh... I thought that when publisher have some game, he will automatically try to sell as much copies as possible.

Yes. The publisher will try to sell as many as they can.
IF you can sell your game to a publisher.
That is a VERY big if.

The number of copies that a publisher can sell depends on many things. Most importantly, which territories does the publisher sell into, and what platform is the game on.
And what sales model are we talking about - packaged products that sell in stores? Or downloadable products.
You have asked a huge hypothetical question that assumes we understand what you're envisioning, and that assumes the world is black and white with very few shades of gray.

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