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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.
  • 3/30/2009 1:28 PM In reply to

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

    Dark Schneider:

    I think the last point is really the worst one, If I knew about it, I had made a very simpler Pong game and maybe it sells more with less working. Very dissapointed with this point, as there is no reward for working many times.


    I think you totally miss the point that the market for Pong is only so big. If you're the fifth pong game on the market how can you expect to sell well?
  • 3/30/2009 3:25 PM In reply to

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

    I posted some of the sales data that people have shared in a Sales thread on the Penny-Arcade forums and guess what?  A number of the responses indicated a lack of knowledge about Community Games.  Now if a large percentage of hardcore gamers are in the dark about Community Games, what hope do we have that many casual gamers know about it?

    Now I'll be the first to admit that many of the games currently on the service are pathetic and don't even deserve the dozens or hundreds of sales that they've gotten.  With that said, there are some real gems on the service that are achieving high conversion rates and those games deserve greater exposure.  A game like Weapon of Choice should be receiving 100k+ sales, not under 10k.   Microsoft needs to spend more time, effort, and money advertising the Community Games service in general: I think such advertising would not only increase Community Game sales drastically, but would also improve XBLA sales, DLC sales, and 360 console sales in general (the 360 lets me make my own games, sell them to other people as well as play other people's creations?  Cool!  I'll go buy a 360 now).
  • 3/30/2009 3:26 PM In reply to

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

    Pandapadawan:
    I think you totally miss the point that the market for Pong is only so big. If you're the fifth pong game on the market how can you expect to sell well?
    Also it's pong.

    Another point that I keep reading is that some XBLCG games are better than XBLA ones. While you may be able to find a pair of games where an XBLCG game is better (some of the older direct-from-arcade ports are somewhat poor), overall XBLA kicks XBLCG's ass - including the high profile XBLCG games. This is a big reason why novelty stuff like the screensaver apps fare so well. Meanwhile highly polished games have a hard time beating their XBLA "counterpart" (Biology versus Geometry is a prime example there).
  • 3/30/2009 3:40 PM In reply to

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

    Pong is a great genre! And I'm not just saying that because I wrote Revenge of the Ball. Well, actually, I am saying it because I wrote Revenge of the Ball(only 200 pts go buy it!).
    And you really can't point to a certain category and say 'It didnt sell because its an [insert genre] game'. Because everyone's sales are very low. FPS, racers, puzzlers, shooters. All are under performing.

    Like everyone is saying, the low sales are a result of a lot of things, including low quality games, and low gamer awareness. Its up to us as developers to fix the low quality game problem. It's up to MS to work on the awareness.   

    D
  • 3/30/2009 3:50 PM In reply to

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

    Derrick Hopkins:
    Like everyone is saying, the low sales are a result of a lot of things, including low quality games, and low gamer awareness. Its up to us as developers to fix the low quality game problem. It's up to MS to work on the awareness.


    I wish the lucky peeps who reportedly earned USD30k would own up, so we can see what is selling well. Bet you a million internets that it's Fireplace and Remote Masseuse.
  • 3/30/2009 4:00 PM In reply to

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

    Deej:

    I wish the lucky peeps who reportedly earned USD30k would own up, so we can see what is selling well. Bet you a million internets that it's Fireplace and Remote Masseuse.


    Please stop asking...
  • 3/30/2009 4:06 PM In reply to

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

    What exactly can you do about game quality? After all the customers have their own idea of what is worth their money and what is not (and overall quality does not seem to be the deciding factor if you look at the charts). So what is a quality game, one that looks polished, one that plays great or one that sells lots of units? This is why I fear things wouldn't change with a ratings system in place. Someone who buys Remote Masseuse or TV calibration knows what they get. So it's safe to assume they will be satisfied with the game/app. Then they'll rate it good and these things will show up in the top rated category just like they are now in the popularity ranking.

    If you want to enhance the quality of the service as such you have to ban certain games/apps. But who should decide what's allowed and what's not? So I'm afraid there aren't any easy solutions to this problem.

    I think you should stick together as developers and ask Microsoft to raise awareness for the service. Microsoft takes up to 60 % of all revenue for promoted games - but what good is a promotion you only see if you've already found the community games tab on the marketplace? They want to make money with this service as well so it should be in their own interest to start promoting the service. The laissez-faire policy of the last four months obviously didn't work out.
  • 3/30/2009 4:17 PM In reply to

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

    Pheel:
    Deej:

    I wish the lucky peeps who reportedly earned USD30k would own up, so we can see what is selling well. Bet you a million internets that it's Fireplace and Remote Masseuse.


    Please stop asking...


    Whoops, I lose track of how often I'm repeating myself. Duly noted!
  • 3/30/2009 4:19 PM In reply to

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

    Pandapadawan:
    What exactly can you do about game quality? After all the customers have their own idea of what is worth their money and what is not (and overall quality does not seem to be the deciding factor if you look at the charts). So what is a quality game, one that looks polished, one that plays great or one that sells lots of units? This is why I fear things wouldn't change with a ratings system in place. Someone who buys Remote Masseuse or TV calibration knows what they get. So it's safe to assume they will be satisfied with the game/app. Then they'll rate it good and these things will show up in the top rated category just like they are now in the popularity ranking.


    I think you might have hit the nail on the head with "Someone who buys Remote Masseuse or TV calibration knows what they get." I think it was the World Of Goo devs talking at GDC that said that you've got to be able to explain a game in five seconds, or else people won't get it. Perhaps the better-selling titles have been of established genres, and perhaps that's because punters know what to expect?
  • 3/30/2009 4:22 PM In reply to

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

    Pandapadawan:
    Microsoft takes up to 60 % of all revenue for promoted games - but what good is a promotion you only see if you've already found the community games tab on the marketplace?


    What counts as promotion, I would assume a promoted game is one that is mentioned outside of just the Community Games Tab on Marketplace?  Am I wrong here?

  • 3/30/2009 4:27 PM In reply to

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

    The only promotion I ever saw was on the community games tab. Microsoft took five games each week (the top 2 entries in the charts and some random new releases) and let them sit there.
  • 3/30/2009 4:31 PM In reply to

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

    Actually there was promotion on the community games tab, we had some on the main dash and there is a section on Xbox.com

    However there is no promo fee for the forseeable future and the payout will be 70% as discussed here:
    http://creators.xna.com/en-US/news/downloadhistorynews
  • 3/30/2009 4:48 PM In reply to

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

    This doesn't effect anyone here but due to the lack of exposure, lack of downloads, lack of support for Community Games, I have closed up shop on my open source game engine, Reactor 3D.

    Not to say I'm leaving the community, far from it.  But I won't be supporting an open source game engine, investing thousands of hours into development of it, if only for a little bit of success and a small (very small) stake at even potentially making any money at CG's.
  • 3/30/2009 5:22 PM In reply to

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

    Funkmasonry Industries:
    the viability of XBLCG as a platform for those games that don't happen to snag the audience and become perenial best sellers.


    Professional games have the exact same concern. Only the real hits actually make large amounts of money -- the losers often don't make back the investment. This is why there are publishers, and publisher royalties, and why publishers seem to want to control the creative vision of their signed game developers... It's a big risk.
  • 3/30/2009 5:31 PM In reply to

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

    Pandapadawan:
    The only promotion I ever saw was on the community games tab. Microsoft took five games each week (the top 2 entries in the charts and some random new releases) and let them sit there.


    It would be nice if Microsoft would promo a community game on that first set of options you see when you load the Xbox (the name excapes me now)...they occasionally have Arcade games and new demos there, why not a weekly spot for a Community Game too? I'm getting the impression that lots of people don't dig around in the menus like I do... having something upfront that the user can see, even if just weekly, would go a LONG way to getting all the community games noticed. A feature in this spot on what community games are would be good too (most people I ask don't know about them even).
  • 3/30/2009 5:34 PM In reply to

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

    We did that before and there were a lot of complaints on these forums that people only thought those games were available
  • 3/30/2009 5:37 PM In reply to

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

    Pheel:
    We did that before and there were a lot of complaints on these forums that people only thought those games were available
    That's because whichever marketing genius was behind it had a really crap layout of buttons and panels. :P

    To be more specific...
    At first, there seemed to be no way to go from that featured menu to the CG list as a whole.  Then, to remedy that, at the very bottom of the screen it said "X to Community Games" or some such, and only while on certain panels within that menu.  Otherwise, you were directed to 2 games, or an interview.  Hardly useful, and the cause of all the complaints.  We wanted it improved, not removed.
  • 3/30/2009 5:39 PM In reply to

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

    JDPCreations, what game did you make?
  • 3/30/2009 5:45 PM In reply to

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

    Pheel:
    We did that before and there were a lot of complaints on these forums that people only thought those games were available


    I remember that discussion. However why get rid of those ads in general? Just put a nice Community Game feature in "Spotlight" like you do with the photo sharing app. It doesn't have to link to a game, just makes it easier to show people that community games exist.
  • 3/30/2009 5:51 PM In reply to

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

    GloryHornetEmmo:
    MommysBest:
    Hi everyone, we've prepared a statement regarding Weapon of Choice's sales.
    This may confirm some beliefs and dispel others.
    You can read it here:
    Dev log sales link.

    Did you see a spike in sales when OXM did a piece including your game on Inside Xbox in the UK?


    In the Pit was featured in both OXM UK and OXM US (the latter of which had a full-page article), and there was no appreciable sales spike from either. I suspect that Weapon of Choice didn't see any real boost from it either.

    I also suspect that print magazines in general just don't have much clout anymore, and that most people who DO buy them do so mostly because they don't have XBox Live, and are buying the magazine primarily for the demo disc (which makes online-only things like XBLCG meaningless to them).
  • 3/30/2009 5:51 PM In reply to

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

    Pheel:
    We did that before and there were a lot of complaints on these forums that people only thought those games were available


    I didn't see that, so I can't really comment on it, but it sounds like if lots of people thought that, then the design needs to be retooled so it doesn't give people that impression. Something like "Community Spotlight Game of the Week" wouldn't imply that there was ONLY one game (you've already got this on the front page of the XNA community website). Even a "Best of the Month" type thing that appeared monthly would do a lot of good.

    A feature/video explaining what Community games is and possibly showing off a few of the better games would also go a long way to getting the public to realize what is out there.

    Incase you didn't notice... I really think that the front page of the Xbox needs to be used to let people know we exist :) It's the only surefire place that everyone looks.
  • 3/30/2009 5:54 PM In reply to

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

    JeBuS:
    Pheel:
    We did that before and there were a lot of complaints on these forums that people only thought those games were available
    That's because whichever marketing genius was behind it had a really crap layout of buttons and panels. :P

    To be more specific...
    At first, there seemed to be no way to go from that featured menu to the CG list as a whole.  Then, to remedy that, at the very bottom of the screen it said "X to Community Games" or some such, and only while on certain panels within that menu.  Otherwise, you were directed to 2 games, or an interview.  Hardly useful, and the cause of all the complaints.  We wanted it improved, not removed.


    Agreed 110%.  Even just adding a panel to that section that said "More Community Games" would have solved the problem.
  • 3/30/2009 5:59 PM In reply to

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

    Nick Gravelyn:
    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.


    Looks like you were right on the money when I was fighting for an infinite time trial back in the day!  You win the "I told you so" on that one! ;)  And for what it's worth, thank you.
  • 3/30/2009 6:10 PM In reply to

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

    Thanks for the link Pheel.

    XNA is much better than the budget games CDs in the retail channel, and it is the only indie avenue to get on a console that I know of.  If you look at the multi-game CDs you see at Best Buy for the PC you would have been one of 500+ games on a disc, you would have made between 0 and 50 dollars for your efforts for the lifetime of the product. 

    Each developer should also market on their own.  Microsoft is handling all of the billing and deployment issues.  And the are even giving you a great set of tools.  It is up to each developer to do the rest.

    We know there are enough basic pong, brick, etc. games now, time to be creative and push with some originality and experimentation, to me that is what indie games are all about.  So get original and get into the game! 

  • 3/30/2009 6:33 PM In reply to

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

    Matthew Doucette:
    Nick Gravelyn:
    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.


    Looks like you were right on the money when I was fighting for an infinite time trial back in the day!  You win the "I told you so" on that one! ;)  And for what it's worth, thank you.
    Actually I think the 8 minute trial is better for the community and consumers overall. I simply didn't update Bloc to utilize this which means people can play my entire game generally within the trial time limits. The only thing left, then, is the local leaderboards. If I had gone back and made Bloc have a two minute trial timer or something, I probably would have made more sales.
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