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Pomnico

How well can good casual games sell?

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Hi,

I have recently written a short post on my blog trying to estimate [url="http://blog.magic-ars.com/2011/04/how-well-can-good-casual-games-sell/"]how much money can quite successfull casual game give[/url] if sold via Big Fish Games portal. It is not based on my experience, but rather on various informations that could be found around the Net. I wanted to share it with you and ask about your opinions on this post. Do you think that such estimation can be precise? Maybe I've made some assumptions that are not correct or missed some important factors. If you have any experience with this portal, is there any chance to receive feedback if this estimation was close to your profit? I don't want you to share your sales data, just a simple answer if it was close, or over / under estimated.
If there are some errors in this estimation, I would be more than willing to update it, so I'll be glad to hear any feedback from you.

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Big Fish Games turned down my submission but I'll throw out my opinion anyway.

I think it can be best summed up, "it depends". A new Dinner Dash game is going to make more sales then first time management game by a no name company. Mostly because of name recognition it will quickly jump into the top 100 whereas there is a good chance people won't download the other unless they are looking for something different. So I would think that big name 1st party releases are going to skew the numbers as the portal will be heavily invested in promoting it.

Read a blog from a guy who claimed he was making over $100k/year on his games. He had like five or six released games and that was the total revenue for all of them. Lots of people in true indie companies also have day jobs so they can still pay the bills.

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I enjoyed reading the post, and appreciate your approach.

I can't say how accurate it may or not be as I know very little about the subject, but my gut feeling is that those games nearer the top of your league table will probably account for 90% of sales. I imagine most buyers are interested in the next big fanfare and are less likely to patiently dive down the top-100 list very far at all. I may be wrong.

I'd be really interested to hear more feedback on your article from those with experience in the industry.

In the end I often feel it's just about being in the right place at the right time. Look at angry birds. There's nothing special about it really, but it just seems to turn people into addicted cranks.

D

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Actually I've received some feedback that shows some important problems with my assumptions, just to list it here:
[list=1][*]Convertion rate in Big Fish Games is larger that 1% - actually this can be true - Azada was sold for 20$ without game pass, currently games are sold 10$ each, more people use game pass, thus CR can be somewhere in 1,5% - 2%. I haven't also taken into consideration that CR (both donwloads and purchases) is driven by top games.[*]Top 2008 games list is not for best selling games, but for games that won awards. Can anyone confirm this? If so, The game that I have based my calculations on (Forgotten Lands) would not be in top 10, but somewhere lower, what could disturb my analysis a lot.[*]Top 10 games should earn much more (yes, if point 2 is true).[/list]I'll try to find out about this, but in the meantime I'm still waiting for more feedback ;)

[i]Edit:[/i]

I've done a bit more investigation, generally using [url="http://www.casualcharts.com/"]Casual Charts (former Games Sales Chart)[/url]. They've got a nice top games historical data from various portals and it seems that even if Top 2008 is not for best selling games, I've made correct assumptions - Forgotten Lands was an avarage game in the top 10 group. This means, that my estimation was based on a correct basis.

Regarding the issue that top 10 games should earn more, I've received an e-mail from a quite known indie developer stating that in 2010 a game from the top 10 made 90K$ in the first month. However as Forgotten Lands was truly on top 10, there has to be some other factor for such a difference. I've investigated this and it seems that those two games had similar rank on BFG. So how is it possible that one of them has earned >4 times more? I was shocked seeing such great difference!

Well, the rough explanation could be as follows. First of all BFG is expanding. AFAIK in 2010 there were more like 2M downloads a day, that is twice more than in 2008. It could be that CR has also jumped up. If it had raised by 50%-100%, that would give a total of 3-4 times increase in sales and thus in a profit. That would mean expected income from the top 10 game in 2010 to be around 60k$-80k$ based on my initial estimation. That is true, but CR increase is just an idea, not supported with any facts. Well, I guess I'll have to leave you with this rough explanation only at the moment.

In the meantime I'll try to gather some more data (if you have any, I'll be glad to hear it). I'm going to update my estimation in around a month, answering the most problematic issues.

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