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dex7

Downloads -> Sales, How many pieces do shareware games sell ?

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hi, i''m going to try it as a shareware developer cos i''m programming for 8 years now & i think i have got enough experience in game developement... so i wonder how much do shareware games sell ? i''d say it depends on quality & promotion ... is there some relationship between downloads from some download site and sales ? please can you kick me into the problematic, i''d appreciate some numbers - maybe examples on your recent projects will be great thanks & regards, dex

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Guest Anonymous Poster
In 5 months I sold 2 copies, so not much.
You need luck and a verry innovative game.
So not a breakout game or simple space shooters etc.
There are dozens of that kind of games, also of good quality and design. And also there are very much free out there.
So try the genre of bingo, casino, chess games.
It''s not my type of games. But for a lone wolf there is a market
for that kind of games. So if you like it, I advice you
to choose one of that type family genre games.
Especially casino is very popular.

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You don''t have to have the most innovative game in the world to sell copies. Look at Longbow Digital Arts who apparently made some very good money with DXBall (breakout game), enough to fund full-time development of Treadmarks. Or how about Kyodai Mahjong? There''s nothing extremely innovative about Hamumu''s games but that guy and his wife are making a living selling them. Look at all the solitaire packages that still sell.

There''s a market for just about any kind of game you can think of, but it has to be good and you have to market it well. This forum''s moderator DavidRM has done pretty well with his games and his Journal product, search the forum and you''ll even find some real sales figures he posted on here a while back.

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We should mention though, Artifact was not his first title and I bet he got a lot of Artifact subscriptions from Paintball NET players. If you''re around, DavidRM, do you have any figures on paying Paintball NET players who went on to Artifact? That''s another thing I''ve read a lot from people who''ve been in the business a while - your sales are not going to explode in the first day, week, month or even year. It''s about building word-of-mouth, building a customer base to sell other things to, adding continued value to your products, stuff like that - sticking it out for the long haul and developing multiple, continuing streams of revenue.

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thanks all, every body else please post your opinions, experience

to the marketing stuff, i''ve read a lot of articles regarding this and i think i will promote this way (however i wasn''t think over it too much):
1. download sites (+awards)
2. send out to game mags / mag cds - cd collections (btw is there some comprehensive list of game mage/download sites - shareware related ????)
3. webpage
4. maybe some forums
5. don''t have money for targeted ads - however,from what people say this cost a lot to be effective ?
6. newsletter (for the second game)

what you think? is there something missing ?

-dex

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I would have to say just about every Paintball NET player that was around at the time atleast _tried_ Artifact out.

So thats a given 150-500 players Atleast that tried that game to form an opinion that they could recommend to their friends or tell them about it.
Word of mouth is always the best kind of advertising.
Also regular updates help to keep the user base.

I would like to point out a few (old) shareware games like Exile Series, Castle of the Winds, and Mordor.
The first 2 did quite well with little effort other than creating good games. Mordor was also a great game but registering it was almost impossible so I''m not sure what happened to it.

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The funny thing about shareware, it''s not really so much about the game(it''s important that you have a decent one though) it''s about exposure. Reaching your target market is critical. Basically it comes down to marketing. If you sell 1 in 200 downloads then you''ve got a 5%(not too shabby) rate of registration. If you only get 200 visits to your site in 6 months your hurting. However if you can ranked on the search engines and other marketing channels, game sites, download sites etc. convince shareware reviers to review you game. You stand a chance of seeing 200 hits a day, now your selling one copy every day, then you start tweeking with your game, deciding how to best cripple it to get registrations and how to prevent users from registering without paying you (hacking registration). You may be able to increase to a 10% rate of return. And so on..
in my opinion it''s way too much work for someone who just want''s to develop games, I think you''d be better off approaching some publishers like Dexterity to do the markiting crap for you, so you can get on with making games.

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ironside: hmm... i thought Dexterity is just developer, but when i read their dev/publishing section i found it very attractive for me ... please tell me more about Dexterity - are they serious - i knew about the company before, from tutorials that their president write (dont remember the exact name, starts with S) - so are they thrustworthy - i would say yes - do u have some experience with them.

2. are there some alike shareware publishers like Dexterity - those who do the marketing stuff for you ...

thanks for replies
-dex

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I haven''t actually published a game with dexterity but i''ve been talking to them about a game I''ve been working on. They were very helpful on giving me detailed information on their target market, as well as strategies to make the game sell better and increase registration rate.

If nothing else they seem to know the business side of things quite well. I also asked them if there were any upfront fees for developers signing contracts with them, their reply (quoted from email )

"No -- there are no up front fees for the developer. We would never ask you for money. If a publisher does that (such as having a sign-up fee), you should run as far the other way as possible. "

As for the $1000-10000 per month, i''m a little skeptical as well but they seem quite confident that if they agree to publish a game it will fall within this range. Personally if I did $500 a month through dexterity it would allready be exceeding what i would be able to accomplish on my own.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The $1000-10000 per month.
If your read it well, this income is for several years en not
for each month.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
"Reasonable expectations are for you to receive royalty checks from us each month in the range of US $1000 to $10,000. This income will normally last for several years. Every game sells differently, and we never know for certain how well each game will do because it depends on so many different factors."

>This income will normally last for several years.

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I don''t see that I should have misunderstood anything ?

$1.000 - $10.000 per month for several years...That''s alot of money for a simple puzzle game.

Let''s assume a royalty of $5000 per month and a lifespan of 3 years.

3 years = $5000 x 12 x 3 = $180.000 (and that''s just YOUR cut).

Pretty good for a 5-10mb puzzle game.

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Hey dex7, you might wanna check out GarageGames (http://www.garagegames.com) if you''re looking for a publisher. I know that they are very serious about everything they do so they could be good alternative.

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As always in this board when the subject is about money: wishful thinking. Hey,i am gonna quit my boring parttime programmer's job and write some pacman if i get 1000$/month for it.
Or i could try xinginteractive.com. They'll give you 25000$ or more for pacman. These are exactly the same figures that the unspeakable (or this message deletes itself in 5 secs) publisher stated before.

Edited by - lakibuk on February 12, 2002 11:44:46 AM

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You don''t see how people will mis-interpret this ?

"Reasonable expectations are for you to receive royalty checks from us each month in the range of US $1000 to $10,000. This income will normally last for several years."

To me that says you send out cheques in the range of $1000 to $10,000 every month over several years.

I''m sure I''m not the only one that thinks you''ve worded it so it sounds alot better than it actually is.

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I think people would be suprised how much money simple mass maket appeal games can make. Here''s a list of successful sharware developers who see sales in the 1000-10000 a month range.

Pretty Good Solitare
Silver Creek (I think these guys won an IGDA award for Hardwood Hearts)

Spiderweb Software
Another Card Game company

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quote:
Original post by granat
3 years = $5000 x 12 x 3 = $180.000 (and that''s just YOUR cut).



To take this calculation a step further, according to the web site, you get 35% of retail sales. So, that means
total revenue = $180,000/0.35 = approx $514,000
Thats 1/2 a million dollars in revenue. Sounds pretty ambitious.

Even if you take the low end of the scale ($1000/month), thats $36,000 in royalties over 3 years, and over $100,000 in revenues. Still seems a bit ambitious to me. Broken down by sale price, thats:
10,000 units @ $10 each (280 units/month)
5,000 @ $20 each (140 units/month)
2,500 @ $40 each (70 units/month)

While I cant seem to find any actual statistics on shareware sales (maybe someone else can do it for me...) these number do seem a bit high for the average game. And again, this is the low end of the scale...for the high end, multiply these number by 10.

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quote:
Original post by Ironside
Here''s a list of successful sharware developers who see sales in the 1000-10000 a month range.


Not sure where you get those numbers, but I''ll assume you are accurate. Are these number per game or for the whole company, because I noticed the companies you listed all have 4 or more games for sale (one has 13).

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I dont know if the sale numbers are for the individual games or the company as a whole and I cant prove Dexterity's projected sales numbers. I'm developing a puzzle game right now that I plan to pitch to dexterity and if they agree to publish it I will let you (and the community know) what the sales numbers are like.

I would like to say that in my communications with dexterity they have been nothing but helpful and despite my persistant questioning have done/said nothing that would lead me to doubt their honesty.

They have been around for a while, i remember when they were just a developer a few years ago. I imagine it would be hard to stay in business that long if you were ripping people off or marketing falsley. Bad news travels fast.

I think the problem here is that we in the indi game dev community seem to think it's impossible for shareware to make money and anywone claiming to make money in shareware we approach very skeptically. Even though our own heros ID, Epic etc. came out of sharware.

I like to approach it this way, we can sit around and debate if the sales numbers are accurate or not, or we can go out make some games get them published and find out for ourselves. Even if you didn't sell a copy, you'd at least have completed game, and that's solid resume material to get you into the industry.
No matter how it turns out, I think the developer wins in the end.

Edited by - ironside on February 12, 2002 3:22:17 PM

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