Xbox LIVE Indie Games
Sort Discussions: Previous Discussion Next Discussion
Page 1 of 1 (18 posts)

Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

Last post 2/23/2013 1:25 AM by Deviant Spark. 17 replies.
  • 12/24/2012 3:54 AM

    Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    I was wondering if any developers here could comment on experiences with profits between XNA and iOS?

    I only have experience here with XNA games and although my games are not groundbreaking I feel the sales are strikingly dismal. I feel that even a poor app in iTunes would have to do better than what I've seen moderate games do here. I mean, I've seen fair games sell less than 100 copies here which makes me think indie games just doesn't get attention, but not having experience with iOS I really don't know.
  • 12/25/2012 6:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    According to a survey last year, the bottom 25% of iOS games made less than $100 in lifetime sales:

    The impression I get on the App Store is that there's no real "middle class" in terms of sales.  Most are < $1000 in lifetime sales, with a tiny percentage way, way up there.  It's unlikely that a part-time solo developer would be able to make much; iOS users expect top notch production values, which ultimately translates into development teams and/or significant development and marketing costs.

    Also, since there are 700,000 apps on the App Store (or whatever it is these days), and a lot of those are games, you're competing against a TON of other games.  It would be quite easy to get lost in the shuffle.

    So I'd say unless you want to go "all in" and form a small studio or join one, I'd stick with game development as a hobby.  It's probably more fun that way anyway.  :)  The nice thing about the App Store is that you can make your game free and not have to think about it as a business.

    One thing to consider is that there are only 2700 games on XBLIG, so it's a lot easier to get noticed.  I released a game in April with zero marketing and it has sold 3400 copies.  Not exactly earth shattering, but I didn't have to do anything other than just release it.  Indie Gamer Chick even reviewed it.  While I don't think of it as a business, I have to admit that it's kind of cool to have a hobby that more than pays for itself.

    XBLIG is a strange market though.  You could make the best game in the world, but if it doesn't float the boat of whoever it is that buys XBLIG games, you won't get much attention.
  • 12/25/2012 10:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Thanks for the response, those are some good points. I guess its not a get rich quick scheme on any market. I like your point about there being ~2700 indie games verse the 700,000 apps, although I do suspect their is a significant audience difference between the markets as well. I guess I need to think it over more. I do like XNA as a hobby, but it would be nice to make more than a few measly 100 bucks for months of my work. Guess I haven't fount the magic audience yet  :)
  • 1/15/2013 8:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Its not easy to make money in either of the markets. I believe they had something on the news a month back or so saying Apple had exceeded 1 million apps on the app store. Of course this gives you a good idea of how little time your app will spend on any new release style lists.

    In indie you cant really make money unless you can spend all your time working on a 3D game. Most of us cant so we spend most of our time just having fun and learning new skills. The advantage of Xbox is you do tend to make your investment back, I cant speak from personal experiance but I know a few people who have developed apps for Android and Apple who havent even made enough money to get paid!

    Ultimately its not a waste of time no matter what you do, it becomes most valuable when you have job interviews. You can take a working game, developed, completed and for sale on a marketplace, now thats impressive and will make you stand out above all the other developers that dont even take a demo to their interviews. It shows you can complete working projects from start to finish and that you have the determination to succeed.

    Thats just my experiance anyway, a millionaire might come on here in a mo and tell you otherwise. If so I will ask in advance....can I have $50,000 investment in my new game project :oP

    Paul
    Lost World Creations
  • 1/15/2013 7:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Lost World Creations:
    In indie you cant really make money unless you can spend all your time working on a 3D game.

    What?  The only 3D indie hits of late I can think of are Minecraft (as well as some of the XBLIG voxel style games), Monday Night Combat, Bastion, Fez (you can debate the 2D/3D there, but I put it in 3D) and... um... well that's about it off the top of my head (I'm sure there are more).  On the other hand thinking of 2D Indie hits: Braid, Super Meat Boy, Limbo, World of Goo, Jamestown, Shank, Vampire Smiles, Atom Zombie Smasher... the list goes on.  Look at the last several humble bundles.  They're been a good mix of 2D and 3D titles, but I think they lean toward the 2D.  You certainly don't need 3D skills to make indie games, and at least three of the top XBLA games of all time are 2D (Braid, Super Meat Boy, Castle Crashers) 

    Now if you want a game to do really well it should probably have high production value, which most good 3D games have, but that's not the same thing.  I mean I think Bleed on XBLIG has great production value, and again it's 2D.  


  • 1/15/2013 8:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Another thing to consider is that different games have different input requirements. You can make a platformer for a touchscreen device, but touchscreens really aren't suited to that kind of input (not nearly as well as a gamepad). And you could make an RTS for XBLIG, but such games really do better with either a keyboard or a touch screen (where you can quickly tap a unit to bring up a context menu). That's not to say that you couldn't potentially make a great platformer for a touchscreen or a great RTS for a console, but you'd need to spend a lot of time tweaking the input and game mechanics to get it just right, otherwise you'd just end up with a lot of frustrated potential customers.
  • 1/16/2013 8:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    That is true, there are some very good projects out there made in 2D that have sold very well, in fact I have just completed Faster Than Light which is a very good indie game.

    If you look at the top selling Xbox indie games though you will see a large majority of 3D games, I am not saying you have to go 3D but it does seem to help :oP

    You really do have to design the game for the input device, it can be hard to transition between different input devices with the same game, it has to be said though that the general customer base is very different for each platform so you normally focus on a specific device type such as mobile, console etc.

    Paul
    Lost World Creations
  • 1/16/2013 8:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    All Messed Up Games:
    Lost World Creations:
    In indie you cant really make money unless you can spend all your time working on a 3D game.

    What?  The only 3D indie hits of late I can think of are Minecraft (as well as some of the XBLIG voxel style games), Monday Night Combat, Bastion, Fez (you can debate the 2D/3D there, but I put it in 3D) and... um... well that's about it off the top of my head (I'm sure there are more).  On the other hand thinking of 2D Indie hits: Braid, Super Meat Boy, Limbo, World of Goo, Jamestown, Shank, Vampire Smiles, Atom Zombie Smasher... the list goes on.  Look at the last several humble bundles.  They're been a good mix of 2D and 3D titles, but I think they lean toward the 2D.  You certainly don't need 3D skills to make indie games, and at least three of the top XBLA games of all time are 2D (Braid, Super Meat Boy, Castle Crashers)
    Now if you want a game to do really well it should probably have high production value, which most good 3D games have, but that's not the same thing.  I mean I think Bleed on XBLIG has great production value, and again it's 2D.

    You're forgetting the 3D games in the sales numbers thread. :)

    Even the worst 3D game on XBLIG has received at least $3500 in its lifetime. A mediocre 3D game can STILL net you at least two grand in lifetime sales. And God only knows how much an average/above average 3D game can net you! Add to that the 3D tutorials and customers gravitating toward certain game genres in the mainstream, and those projects seem like the best ROI. They aren't THAT hard to make either. If you were a developer who finished a 3D game early in the XBLCG days, you could get tens of thousands in profits with little effort. It didn't matter WHAT you made, so long it wasn't in a "suicide" genre like puzzle.

    And it makes sense. All next-gen gamers are conditioned to play 3D games, since it makes up 70% of the total market product or more these days.

    2D has been thrown to the wayside in comparison. Any significant success from 2D titles on next-gen distributions services though, mostly come from the prestige of being displayed on the front shelf.
  • 1/16/2013 8:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Zairot:
    Even the worst 3D game on XBLIG has received at least $3500 in its lifetime.
    And you know this, how? What's the worst 3D game on XBLIG?


  • 1/16/2013 10:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Zairot:
    Even the worst 3D game on XBLIG has received at least $3500 in its lifetime. A mediocre 3D game can STILL net you at least two grand in lifetime sales.


    I have a 3D game on XBLIG and it hasn't netted anything even close to $2000. Not even a tenth of that. It was my first game, it was an odd niche, and it could've used quite a bit more polish. Maybe then it's sales would've been better.

    Anyway, success comes down to a lot of factors, but polish + aiming properly at the target market seem to be the two largest components of success in my experience.
  • 1/17/2013 12:52 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Bob Taco Industries:
    I have a 3D game on XBLIG and it hasn't netted anything even close to $2000.


    According to my spreadsheets, my 3D game - Odyssey 3011 - is due to hit the $2000 mark.... approriately, in about 3011.
  • 1/17/2013 4:40 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Jim Perry:
    Zairot:
    Even the worst 3D game on XBLIG has received at least $3500 in its lifetime.
    And you know this, how? What's the worst 3D game on XBLIG?

    While worst may be subjective, I've played a lot of games on XBLIG back when it was just CG. The 3d games were... well... you have to have played them. ;)

    One was a graveyard game(forgot the name, forgive me for not caring about this game, it was....that forgettable), and I remembered when the developer recorded his sales numbers. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them. That's why I believe XBLIG gamers would've bought almost anything back then. Early adopters got the lion's share of potential sales within 2 quarters.

    Bob Taco, it sucks that your game didn't get more sales. I thought it was kinda cool. :) Of course there are always exceptions to a rule. But perusing the sales numbers thread will tell you what's popular among the masses or close to it.
  • 1/17/2013 12:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Zairot:
    But perusing the sales numbers thread will tell you what's popular among the masses or close to it.
    More "close to it" than anything, since only a fraction of devs post to that thread.
  • 1/17/2013 6:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Jim Perry:
    Zairot:
    But perusing the sales numbers thread will tell you what's popular among the masses or close to it.
    More "close to it" than anything, since only a fraction of devs post to that thread.

    I think there's at least 2 groups of non-shares as far as that's concerned:

    1. Those who're ashamed to display their sales numbers or they may be disappointed(the time where even mediocre content paid for itself is past us, I'm afraid)
    2. Those who KNOW their numbers, but don't wanna share them for fear of developers releasing a deluge of games to try and copy their success(it's... happened more than once already -_-)

    There may be others who don't fit, but then you'd ask "Why don't they share their sales data?" I dunno. *shrugs*
  • 1/18/2013 8:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Unfortunately mine has always fallen under number 1 :oP
  • 1/23/2013 1:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Lost World Creations:
    Unfortunately mine has always fallen under number 1 :oP


    I'm here as well. sigh. Getting off track a bit, my theory is that there are two reasons it is hard to get sales on this market:

    A.) People either expect too much for their $1 or are willing to pay the extra for something better. They want Xbox Arcade level quality for dirt cheap.
    B.) People don't know about indie games.

    I am currently converting one of my indie games into a Windows Phone App and am very curious to see the difference in sales between the two markets. I will be sure to post here the results.
  • 2/11/2013 4:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    I found out that launching the XNA game in mobile (windows phone) and the Xbox actually pays way better.

    doing marketing actually helps, even tho amateur indie game reviewers are mostly hard on you but actually since the writing is not the best so far, they have less followers
     
    for example I got reviewed by Indie Gamer Chick


    and it was an awful review, eventually the game will be updated on the xbox and that will make that review outdated, thats how you handle things so far.

    on the other side the game was reviewed on the WPCentral magazine which is owned by mobile nations (a true big reviewer magazine)


    and it was totally different opinion, however the game has made in 2 weeks on both platforms combined over $600 despited the flaws (that will be fixed), also as far as today 2/11/2013 the game is on the Windows Phone Spotlight http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store and inside the game there is a notification/message that it is available on the Xbox 360 market as well.

    We actually got 2 years making over $4000 monthly on Windows Phone and we got tons of experience on marketing, Xbox Indie market wasn't that different for our first game released, but we got a big user base over 1 million costumers, and its just letting those customers/users know about your brand

     
    How do you make money? its never an easy question to answer but it is actually possible, despite the flaws, independent reviewers and users expectations, thats something you can accomplish, all you need to have is the market experience.

  • 2/23/2013 1:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Profit on XNA marketplace VS iOS appstore

    Thanks for that information Neuralnet that is interesting.


    I said I would post sales once I converted my game to WP7. My app has been out in the WP7 app store for about a week now. There has been 0 downloads in Trial or Full version from what I can tell. The only downloads on record are just me downloading the trial version. I am also experimenting with a free app which has ads in it, but the numbers haven't come in yet.

    Obviously I'm not thrilled so far, but I think its because the "New" section isn't really like Indie Games. I think my app basically gets dropped into a crevice somewhere with the other similar apps. So I guess its a matter of getting ratings and a following. However, I can say that app development is much quicker since you don't have to make Menus from scratch, handle controls, etc... so that is exciting. So far I think WP development is a better fit for me though even if sales are non-existent :)

    Update: App has been out for over a month and 0 purchases with 17 trials. Moral of the story is: Although sales on XNA can be dismal they are quite a bit better than WP7's disturbingly small market.
Page 1 of 1 (18 posts) Previous Discussion Next Discussion