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I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

Last post 3/31/2009 8:28 PM by Nick Gravelyn. 256 replies.
  • 3/28/2009 3:07 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Running Pixel:
    The good news is that all the professional developer studios will not land here, there's not enough money for them.

    Not too sure about that. I'd be willing to bet that a select few of the more high profile games constituted the vast majority of sales. Ex-professionals from well-known studios could definitely reach the upper echelon much more easily than your average hobbiest.
  • 3/28/2009 3:10 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Deflating,... at least it's now clear why MS was so clandestine.
  • 3/28/2009 3:14 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    I'm not sure what you guys were expecting, but I was looking over at the other thread sharing sales numbers and those that shared seemed to have pretty good numbers... certainly enough that I would be happy with. I'd be happy to recoup what I spent on artwork/music for my game and all indications are that I will be able to do that.
  • 3/28/2009 3:19 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Funkmasonry Industries:
    Running Pixel:
    The good news is that all the professional developer studios will not land here, there's not enough money for them.

    Not too sure about that. I'd be willing to bet that a select few of the more high profile games constituted the vast majority of sales. Ex-professionals from well-known studios could definitely reach the upper echelon much more easily than your average hobbiest.


    Actually our best pieces (full respect) are the apps and "the strange case of air-sim". They sweeped out all the other games (someone really good). In my opinion it is a matter of what a gamer is willing to choice/buy on the CG section, and he choices mainly weird apps.

    If we talk about cost/income rate (again full respect) they (the apps) win. Low costs on one hand and the best incomes CG can offer on the other.
  • 3/28/2009 3:24 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Duffman:
    I'm not sure what you guys were expecting, but I was looking over at the other thread sharing sales numbers and those that shared seemed to have pretty good numbers... certainly enough that I would be happy with. I'd be happy to recoup what I spent on artwork/music for my game and all indications are that I will be able to do that.


    someone was expecting to make enough money to do this as a work, and the dream disappeared with the evidence of the reality. Actually you have to do a forever top-selling game to live on this. (or a top seller every week)
  • 3/28/2009 3:25 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Lost C1tY:
    Deflating,... at least it's now clear why MS was so clandestine.


    There was nothing clandestine
  • 3/28/2009 3:25 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    dont forget, apps dont have competition. dual stick shooters are everywhere, fireplace simulators are not.
  • 3/28/2009 3:26 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    It's interesting looking at my numbers. I'm not all that upset with the money I made, but that's because I didn't expect much. My interesting takes on things, though:

    1) The download counts are really low. I mean, even counting trials Bloc had about 7700 downloads. And while I will be one of the first to say the App Store is not a great comparison, it's the only other market in which I'm distributing games. So for iPhone I have Juggler and Juggler Free. Those two items have over 25,000 downloads and have been out for half the time Bloc has. I kind of feel like there is a big exposure issue with XBLCG if even with trial downloads I'm only hitting 7700 downloads.

    2) The 8 minute trial killed me. I can see in my numbers when the limit was raised to 8 minutes because I went from a decent enough monthly sales rate to selling 8 units in one month. Bloc, for most people, is not an 8 minute experience and apparently the high scores aren't a big enough sale. The game was great at the 4 minute limit, but when they upped it to 8 minutes, we chose not to update the game (for a lot of reasons I won't get into), but this wound up basically making it unnecessary to purchase the game to play a full round.

    I'm still very much interested in the future. If anything, seeing these numbers have convinced me to try new ideas and continue making games for XBLCG. I see encouragement and potential here as Microsoft continues to build awareness and add to the XNA Game Studio and XBLCG ecosystem. I'm working on two game ideas right now (one for fun and one for DBP) and I have no regrets about leaving the iPhone market behind.
  • 3/28/2009 3:33 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Nick Gravelyn:

    I'm still very much interested in the future. If anything, seeing these numbers have convinced me to try new ideas and continue making games for XBLCG. I see encouragement and potential here as Microsoft continues to build awareness and add to the XNA Game Studio and XBLCG ecosystem. I'm working on two game ideas right now (one for fun and one for DBP) and I have no regrets about leaving the iPhone market behind.

    While I am a little deflated from the numbers (especially since at first when I added the totals I mistakenly included the trial numbers and celebrated for a full two minutes before realizing my horrible, horrible mistake), I also see this as a learning experience, and am looking forward to continuing to make games for XBLCG. And honestly, money is money, and I'm glad I could at least make some!
  • 3/28/2009 3:36 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    I also found the results very interesting.  I was obviously 'hoping' for better numbers, but in all honestly, my game, wasn't much of a game, and the trial period covered 80% of the game.  I really just submitted it to motivate me to complete a project and learn the basics of XNA.  I'm already working on something much better and something that I think will be much more successful.  Do I think I'll make an income out of it, no, but I do think I'll continue to get lots of experience and the fact that I can legally deploy to a console means alot to me.  I've messed around on engines for years for PC, but I much rather prefer sitting on my couch playing on my DLP or projector.  I'm still very excited with where this can go.
  • 3/28/2009 3:37 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Nick Gravelyn:

    I'm still very much interested in the future. If anything, seeing these numbers have convinced me to try new ideas and continue making games for XBLCG. I see encouragement and potential here as Microsoft continues to build awareness and add to the XNA Game Studio and XBLCG ecosystem. I'm working on two game ideas right now (one for fun and one for DBP) and I have no regrets about leaving the iPhone market behind.


    I'm with you, but I have to leave behind "pharaonic" or "titanic" games ideas (too much time too few money) and make easy things.
  • 3/28/2009 3:51 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Pheel:
    Lost C1tY:
    Deflating,... at least it's now clear why MS was so clandestine.


    There was nothing clandestine


    Perhaps clandestine is too strong a term with unfairly negative connotations.

    I was referring to the four month sales figure blackout that existed for reasons unclear.
  • 3/28/2009 3:55 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    You want some reasons? :)

    Brand new system, never been done before with a console.
    Getting sales data available out of a system that wasn't originaly designed for it is not exactly done in a day.
    Checking that the sales information is accurate and reliably deliverable to creators daily.

    We've been working very hard at building this system. It's not easy to move the Titanic. It's even harder to move Microsoft teams ;-)


  • 3/28/2009 4:01 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    A little disappointed, but taking this as a learning experience.

    Only 1242 total downloads(full and trial combined). Did not meet minimum for payout in 40 days on marketplace. I won't give exact sales #. Too ashamed.

    Not too surprised as we were using this first project as a test. We purposefully did zero advertising for our game to see what kind of numbers we might see as a baseline. Of course the type of game also affects this.

    Our next game will be much bigger and we will begin posting videos on our own site and elsewhere(gametrailers, youtube, etc), screenshots, and spreading the word ahead of time to try to build anticipation. Let people know about it. Completely opposite marketing strategy for us.

    Did any of you do anything similar? Or did you try to milk it as much as possible?
  • 3/28/2009 4:05 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Jenkmeister:
    You want some reasons? :)

    Brand new system, never been done before with a console.
    Getting sales data available out of a system that wasn't originaly designed for it is not exactly done in a day.
    Checking that the sales information is accurate and reliably deliverable to creators daily.

    We've been working very hard at building this system. It's not easy to move the Titanic. It's even harder to move Microsoft teams ;-)



    I didn't mean to imply that you guys weren't working hard. My statements should probably be ignored anyway, as I'm still somewhat taken aback at the apparent lack of XNA viability that's currently presenting itself. I know that it is perhaps naive to have entertained the idea that there is a way to make a living from XBLCG, however as you are likely about to reply: that wasn't advertised as being the case anyway.

    Six months and thousands of hours into my project and I find myself questioning if it's even a good idea to continue.
  • 3/28/2009 4:10 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    never forget this, if you build it they will play.
  • 3/28/2009 4:10 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    As we talked about in our press release at GDC, there are a number of games that have made more than the average yearly US Income. That's more than $30000 or so based on numbers people have quoted in other forum threads.

    Given that, it seems as though a decent game or application, that appeals to our consumers, that hooks people past the 8 minute trial mode, can make money and is worth finishing...
  • 3/28/2009 4:11 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Obviosuly I'd like to make CG investments a money making oppurtinity, and I can't speak for everyone, but I really thought and still think that XBLCG is about having fun getting experience, and possibly making a few bucks.  If you make something decent, especially repeatedly, you will have a portfolio on a platform and showed that you learned custom frameworks to make that happen, which coudl help you land publishing contracts in the future, or a job at a game development house in the future.  For me that's the dream right, but I'm having fun, and I think thats the ultimate thing. 

    My only concern is that since there is going to be disappointment and Microsoft also sees that "hey, we're not really making much money off this platform" and they discontinue it.  I want this to stick around for this system and the next Xbox platform and hope that Sony and Nintendo follow.  I truly believe that this is a good outlet for innovation/experimentation.

    Ish
     
  • 3/28/2009 4:14 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Funkmasonry Industries:
    Running Pixel:
    The good news is that all the professional developer studios will not land here, there's not enough money for them.

    Not too sure about that. I'd be willing to bet that a select few of the more high profile games constituted the vast majority of sales. Ex-professionals from well-known studios could definitely reach the upper echelon much more easily than your average hobbiest.


    At this point, it seems too risky for too little reward to invest much money in it.  The bestselling "games" are almost universally no-budget gimmick apps, which won't inspire confidence that investing thousands of dollars would pay off.  I think you can pretty much count on no-budget hobbyists to be the mainstays of Community Games unless/until the sales pick up.

    What we will see is an overflow of gimmick apps.  Heck, I'm tempted to crap one out (pardon my language) myself.  Probably won't, unless I hit on a really stellar idea, but there you go.
  • 3/28/2009 4:16 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    While the business matters and we need to make money, we also understand this is all new and the business is still young. Given we've spent the last few weeks here on the team talking about the next 18 months of features and work, I think I can say we'll still be here for a while :)
  • 3/28/2009 4:22 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Jenkmeister:
    While the business matters and we need to make money, we also understand this is all new and the business is still young. Given we've spent the last few weeks here on the team talking about the next 18 months of features and work, I think I can say we'll still be here for a while :)


    Awesome!  I wasn't planning on leaving anyway. The development news tonight just got me even more excited.  And I just renewed my Premium Membership.  I'm here to stay as long as you guys are. Keep up the good work. We appreciate it, at least I know I do!
  • 3/28/2009 4:35 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    IshSaid:
    We appreciate it, at least I know I do!


    Yeah we all appreciate it. XNA has helped me to grasp 3D graphics, HLSL, OOP, it enabled me to create things that I could run on my Xbox and it has improved my programming ability exponentially. So either way, I'm very grateful to the entire XNA team. Thanks guys.
  • 3/28/2009 5:03 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    I just got my numbers and I am not disappointed at all.
    They weren't huge but to finally make money for something I am going to do for fun anyway, that's just cool.
    And lets not forget that I have 2 games that anyone can go get on their xbox360 right now!

    But I guess I never set out to get rich on an unproven system anyway. The only goal I ever had was to make the membership fee pay for it's self and it did.

    I am looking forward to releasing more games soon.
  • 3/28/2009 5:07 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    Nick Gravelyn:

    1) The download counts are really low. I mean, even counting trials Bloc had about 7700 downloads


    I had an amazing 500 or close to it total downloads. the sell thru was/is fine. But if that's the amount of people that will download a free game to play for 8 minutes, then it's pretty bad. I expect most people with numbers like mine not to bother posting here. But at the moment i do not see much point in continuing. And i have a game about to go into playtest and it only needs about a week to finish. That could be hard to do with the mood i find myself in.

    So befroe you people shout me down. I expected low numbers, i hoped to see that XBLCG had a browsership of about 40K to 60K people at this point and hopefully growing at a good rate. Aarons ping pong lists he had about 15K downloads, amazing for a game without graphics. Obviously i agree with otehr posters here. Fart out some fast crap that took a few hours and ya might make money.

    I am mostly disappoi nted in the fact that people are not playing my game. I am a professional programmer (of games). Have been for 26 years now and have enjoyed all the ups and downs along the way. Finally though i was back thanks to the amazing microsoft system (XNA) to making small exciting multiplayer games for people to picjup and play (no more 4 year schedules). I hoped this would be fun and i could have some great emails and forum chats about my games and scores and improvements etc. But alas it doesn't look good.

    Now i haven't done any advertising yet. But i hoped that would bring a 3-1 improvement. If i did that it would still not pay for my music, or the graphics (each indicidually).

    So i'll go cry now. Maybe i should just go wait till the market improves (ie: people have heard of XBLCG). Of course by then there will be 5,000 apps and noone will be able to find mine again. haha

    I sure hope others have made enough to cover membership to the XNA dev and a lot more.

    Good luck to everyone.
    Catch ya tomorrow when i might be less depressed.
  • 3/28/2009 5:23 AM In reply to

    Re: I got my sales numbers and want to cry thread

    I had meager expectations for sales of my games.  I purposely kept my expectations low, so as not to be disappointed.  My total sales were higher than I expected, so no crying there.  The problem I had was what Nick mentioned, so few total downloads.  The conversion rate was 10x higher than I expected, but the total downloads was 10x lower than I expected.  In the end, it offset, but in the future, that might not hold true.
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