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Writhe

I've got an indie hit.. Now what?

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Over the past 5 months I designed, coded, and released a space-based mobile MMO for Android.

With word-of-mouth advertisement only it is now ranked in the top 100 revenue-earning games on the Android Market -- far beyond what I could have imagined just a few months ago.

The user base instantly exploded to tens-of-thousands of players, with something like 5,000+ unique logins a day. I'm a solo developer and only have a part-time moderator as staff, so customer support and maintenance is consuming most of my time, but I'd much rather be working on my next big hit.

I'm pretty much at a loss on how to proceed. I've got a part-time guy to do the iPhone port, and am working on some marketing, but that's about it.

The game has some impressive earning potential, and with the right kind of work I feel it could become even more explosive, but I have a lot of great new game concepts lined up that I want to explore and am not much of a maintainer.

There have been a few folks asking about buying the intellectual property and code, but I don't know where to start or what to tell them, or if I should even consider selling it.


If I was looking to sell the game off, what would be the best way to find serious buyers?

What kind of offers should I anticipate (X years of estimated revenue, etc)?

What kind of legal gotchas do I need to be aware of with selling my unique mobile MMO trade secrets? (It's all mine -- no 3rd party code)

What should be my legal concerns if I want to use some of that code for another project in the future?


Android Market Link for anyone interested: [url="https://market.android.com/details?id=theinfiniteblack.client"]Android Market - The Infinite Black[/url]

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Writhe,
You needed to be thinking about this before you even programmed the game. But here we are now.
If you don't continue taking care of your users' experience, the value of your game will go down. So your focus right now needs to be on the user experience.
You may need to increase staff so you have the bandwidth to expand your operation.
And you definitely need to hire a business advisor so you can address the other matters.
Good luck, and congratulations on your success to this point.

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A game that its not updated dies fast (specially this type of games), so if you keep that thought that "your are not a maintainer", you should sell it right now!
the easiest "rule" for selling is:
production cost * 2

But that "rule" may not even apply in most cases.
In this particular case one "easy" formula may be:
( (last month earnings x averageLifeTimeofGame --in months--) x potentialIncrementalSales ) + productionCost + IP value

*with averageLifeTimeOfGame may be some number from 4 to 18 (average for a top mobile game)
*potential incremental sales may vary from 1 (none) to 1000 (if effectively ported, marketed and monetized on both iOS and Android; and keeping in mind that the market will still be growing a lot in both platforms for the next 2 years)
* productionCost: you should already now
* Intellectual Property value: NO IDEA :P (but keep in mind that they may have secuels: IB2, IB3, etc..)


I dont know how much money means to be in the top 100 grossing android games. But since you have not already hired at least 2 more developers, my guessing is that it is not THAT much.
But being in top 100 grossing in iOS is indeed A LOT of money. And when i say A LOT you have to put in your mind that the "smurfs" ios game saved capcoms fiscal year....

If you think you have the same chances, you should hire right now the required developers to be constantly updating the game and port it to iOS while you work on your future ideas.


BTW, congratulations! and if you decide not to sell the game, i would appreciate if you could share some numbers





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*potential incremental sales may vary from 1 (none) to 1000 (if effectively ported, marketed and monetized on both iOS and Android; and keeping in mind that the market will still be growing a lot in both platforms for the next 2 years)
Just to nitpick, there are other platforms too, of course, so the "1000" isn't a cap equated to two platforms.

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I agree with BlackWind, sell it. Do not let a success go to waste, they are rare. There is a certain naiveté among people that make one hit, that makes them think they are made of all skillz and magic juice, causing them to chase the "next big hit" as you say. Be careful in thinking like this, just because you made one hit doesn't mean you will ever make any more.

So I say either ride it all the way, or give it to someone who can.

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