I can give you a story from my own experience.
I started work on [url="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/holy-moly-dragons/id429604358?mt=8"]Holy Moly Dragons[/url] in Septemeber 2009. A friend of mine did all the art, I did all the programming, and we shared design. We both had full time jobs in the game industry (at that time, since then I've started working for a Univeristy in the R&D department), so we started developing the game on our spare time after work and on weekends. After 18 months of ~15 hours a week dev time, we released Holy Moly Dragons for the iPhone in April 2011 for $1.99 on the iPhone.
We had some initial success, we were even featured on the front pages of itunes in the "New and Noteworthy" section. At the time we were on the front page, we had dropped our price to .99 for the weekend. We were getting 300+ buys a day and reachedthe #31 most downloaded strategy game. Then when our sale ended and we went back to $1.99, our sales plummeted to ~100/day, even though we were still being featured.
As soon as we were off the front page, sales plummeted to ~30/day. We released an update with new levels and that shot sales up to about ~80/day for 2 days, then they fell again.
After ~3 months of being in the app store, we've made about $2,200. We sit around ~5 sales per days now and ~25 free version downloads per day. In relative comparison to most iphone apps, we've done extremely well, as most don't even make the $99 back for the ios dev license.
It's disappointing to put so much time and effort into something and have it not pay off, but that's life. I'm still proud of the game and I will continue to make games on the side, with the hopes of making a big seller one day.
[quote name='Luckless' timestamp='1311018770' post='4836989']
[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1310970583' post='4836666']
Making money is essential if you wish to make games full time though
Then don't make games full time if you can't be sure your product is going to keep you afloat. Find a source of income that you can live off and still have enough time left over to work on your game development.
Jumping head first into game development with the idea of "I'll quit my job, work for a year full time on game development, and then make millions!" just doesn't fly. You're jumping out of an air plane with the idea that you can sew yourself a parachute before you hit the ground.
Make a game, build a business, [i]Then[/i] dive into it full time.
How many years did Notch from Wurm Online/Mine Craft spend working part time on game development? Dreams aren't built over night.
I agree 100% with this course of action.