DDD Pool sales figures

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Duke, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Duke

    Indie Author

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    After techbear and SteveZ shared their sales figures with us, I thought I'd share mine too.
    They are not nearly as impressive as the former two, but may hopefully be useful to comunity, and could be useful to me as well if you would be kind to drop your 2 cents.

    Here goes..

    Title: DDD Pool
    Type: 3D pool game
    Download size: 12MB
    Release date: 01 Sep 2004
    Price: $19.95
    Payment processor: ShareIt
    Website hosting: Powweb
    Units sold (until 09 Dec 2004): 42
    of which
    - our own sales: 33
    - affiliate sales: 9

    Can't tell you exactly the numbers for portal sales, but I dare say it was about 80 total, on several portals ('several' meaning more than one), in half the time.

    Sales by month (affiliate sales in parenthesis):
    September - 6(0)
    October - 9(0)
    November - 18(7)
    9 days of December: 9(2)

    Sales by country:
    USA - 14
    UK - 8
    Germany - 5
    France - 4
    Italy - 3
    Czech Republic - 3
    Austria - 1
    Indonesia - 1
    Namibia - 1
    Spain - 1
    Switzerland - 1

    I'm satisfied with the numbers in the light of it (selling games) being our 15 years old dream come true ;), but I'm not satisfied in that I think we can do more (I very much like the trend, I hope it keeps and grows).
    The game was released on 01 Sep 2004 and in the next two weeks it was submitted to about a hundred shareware sites (we bought a one month licence for Shareware Tracker for $15).
    Applied to IGF 2005 ($100).
    We also placed it on download.com on 15 September ($80) and that was all our marketing investment.
    My experience with download.com: I was rather dissapointed, only about 3000 downloads so far :( . I expected a lot more. Most of these downloads came in the beginning, while we were still in the 'New games' list. I think it's because we didn't get a review from them. I see SteveZ had quite different experience (maybe because he paid them 2 x $550 for PPD?). We could not afford it, and I'm not sure we'd do it even if we could (am I mistaking about this?).
    Our website traffic:
    September: 13.5GB
    October: 20GB
    November: 69GB
    8 days of December: 18GB

    First couple of weeks it was an average of 300-400MB/day, and today it's over 2GB/day.
    We had our first little peak when the contestants for IGF were announced (I think these downloads were mostly by fellow developers).
    The next peak came when our game appeared on some Taiwan shareware site (not sure what exactly the site is about - it's in Chinese). Don't know how we got there, we didn't apply. As you can see from the 'Sales by country' statistics, these downloads generated no sales.
    The third peak came when the game appeared on a couple of Czech websites. I thought this would also be to no use, but was surprised when I got 3 sales from Czech Republic :) .
    The biggest rise in traffic came when DDD Pool appeared on download-free-games.com. It got to the point where we got a notification from Powweb that our daily traffic is close to a 5GB/day limit! We dealt with this 'problem' by redirecting some of the downloads to our download.com (upload.com) account. Great thanks and congrats to Jim. Advice: If you want web traffic, try getting on DFG!

    We are not that new in (trying to) creating games, but browsing this forum more actively lately, I keep realising more and more we sooo don't know anything about the marketing (and some other) aspects of this business.
    We practicaly jumped to our next project the minute we released our first, and kind of 'forgot about' the DDD Pool.
    This may seem strange (amateurish?), especially after seeing a post in the "What's everyone's current project" thread that someone stated his current project to be marketing his new game for next 6 months.
    We were just eager to produce as many games we can in as little time we can, and then maybe go back to updating our 'old' games.
    But lately, I began thinking about doing this in parallel, as much as I can.
    Now, from the sales and website traffic numbers, you get the (correct) picture we have very low conversion rate (somewhere between 0.3% and 0.5%). I think game quality is not the (main) reason for this, since quite many people rated our game as 'of pretty high quality' (shareware sites, gamers, some people on this forum, even some of the 'big guys').
    I believe one of the main reasons is the DirectX 9 requirement.
    We created our installer so that after installing the game, it checks for the installed DirectX version, and if it's bellow 9, it offers user to take him to Microsoft's DirectX download page, only it first notifies a counter script on our site. The results were quite surprising and dissapointing to me - nearly 80% of the people don't have DirectX 9 installed.
    From this I conclude that these are mostly casual gamers, which brings another question: did they ever run our game?
    I mean, I don't know if they finished the DirectX download (about 35MB) and installed it properly.
    You can somehow get away with asking people to download 12MB of your game, but asking them to download another 35MB of 'direct what?' is probably too much for many of them.
    I think this information may be very useful to someone: if you're making a 3D game, don't make it to require DirectX 9 unless you really have to!
    You're quite safe with DX 8.1 though, since about 99% of people from our statistic has it.
    Our game does not use any DX9 features, it's just that when I started making DDD Pool, it was my entering the world of Windows programming and I thought: 'by the time I get something done, current version will probably be 10 or more, so I better start learning with the latest version'. Now I think this was a huge mistake. Our current project is a DirectX 7 2D game.
    So I think one of the first things I should do about improving the sales of DDD Pool is to somehow 'downgrade' it to DX8.
    You may think this is not so hard to do, but you should (or better not) see my code first ;) .
    The next thing that comes to mind is our website.
    It definitely needs to change, I'm just not sure yet in what way exactly. Please help with this.

    So much from me this time. I hope I'm not infringing the 'netiquette' with such a long post. If I am, tell me and I'll put it to a text file on our site.
     
    #1 Duke, Dec 10, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2004
  2. Mark Fassett

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    Well - as far as the choice of Dx9, I think part of the reason you're seeing so many people without it is that you did a Pool game - lots of non gamers will try a pool game.
     
  3. SteveZ

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    Very tough call on this one... I wouldn't recommend it for your case. From my experience, download.com gave me ~3000 completed downloads (~4500 registered download). Even if you bid a 0.15 minimum with a cap of 500, ~3000 download will hit the $500.

    So, is getting ~3k completed download worth $500? Ex: If your game sells for $19.95 using 10% regfee Plimus, you'll need a sales to download ratio of 0.92% to just break even.
     
  4. Sillysoft

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    Sounds to me like you are on the right track in trying to improve your sales. The wonderful thing about shareware is that it is very easy to make updates to your game. Just replace the download file on your website and announce a new version to whoever is listening. Release, analyze, tweak, release, ... repeat till satisfied.

    Downgrading to a lower DirectX is a good move. And since you gathered those stats you really know so, instead of just guessing.
     
  5. Nexic

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    Well if you did downgrade it to DX 8, according to your statistics your game should get more like 1.5 - 2.5 conversion ratio :)
     
  6. mkovacic

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    Check the "Converting to DX9.0" section in the docs if you haven't already, you may find the conversion trivial, depending on how much of the D3DX you used (D3DX changes are in the "DirectX Graphics->D3DX API changes" section).
     
  7. Promaginy

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    Thanks for sharing! It sure looks that you are going in the right direction - sales are increasing. The screen shots look great and your website is quite nice so I think you just gotta be patient and wait for the sales to roll in.

    I think it would be best to jointly develop new games but keep this one being updated every so often - new rooms, different kinds of balls, etc.

    You should also try to get some tournaments going - nothing like some buzz to drive up interest in the game.

    Has the name DDD Pool been any kind of problem? I know it is to be pronounced '3D' but when I first saw your post I thought it was a spelling mistake. It caught my attention which is maybe why your went with the name...

    Good luck!
     
  8. GBGames

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    Do you have newsletters? Forums? Something to keep your customers informed about your existence so they don't forget about you?
     
  9. James C. Smith

    Moderator Original Member

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    This seems to me like the type of niche game that can often have a great up sell conversion ratio even if it does sell a lot of units. In other words, not that many people download it, but the ones who do download it tend to buy it. Unfortunately, that is not what is happing with this game. It seems to have very poor conversion ratio (base on the number I see in Reflexive Arcade) Something is wrong. Either the game has technical problems such as the DX9 issue you identified, or it just doesn’t meet the expectation of pool players.
     
  10. Martoon

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    I'm not suprised that only 20% or so had DirectX 9, since the game probably does appeal to a fairly casual market. I'm actually a little suprised that 99% have DirectX 8.1 (but very glad to hear it.)
     
  11. Duke

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    From your mouth to G's ears!
    I've looked it up and it doesn't look so bad now. Don't have the time to try it 'til next week though. Thanks.
    I know. I thought about it already while I was developing it. But it requires network play to be implemented first (I'm really scared of this one!). It was on my TODO list (as well as some other features), but I skipped it because I wanted to get the game out asap. I also kind of got saturated during the 10 months of development, so I desperatedly needed something different to work on and I couldn't wait to see what will happen when I release the game. We already had one change of deadline (from 02 July to 01 Sep), so my ticker couldn't handle any more delay;). I'm sure many of you will understand.
    This came up also on Dexterity forum when I posted the beta version. I know. I really don't like the name. But like I explained then, it was the working title, and when we got to naming it for good, we just couldn't come up with anything we liked (there are already 3D pool, Super pool, 3D live pool, 3D pool pro, Elite pool and all kinds of pools, so it was a bit tough to come up with a new name), so we finally thought 'at least it's unusual, so we may get someones attention based on that'. Not sure if it was the right choice or not, but I'm quite happy with publicity (number of total downloads), just not happy with sales/download ratio.
    Anyway, I was thinking, when I get to do these changes (DX8, network play,..), what if I also change the name of the game?
    What do you guys think about this? What are upsides and downsides of this? I think it's been done before.
    Well, we do have a newsletter feature on our website (and got 17 applicants so far), only we don't have any special news to send them yet. The same goes for the forum. I thought if we set up a forum and very few people join, it could do more damage than good (people might think there's nothing there worth discussing). I planned to set it up when we have more games on our shelves and more steady flow of new games / updates. What's your oppinion on this?

    I expected it to be just like this when we released it.
    Yeah :( . What do YOU think, James? And how do we find out?
    I want to be as objective as I can, but quite a few pool fans told me they really liked the game and that it felt 'so comfortable and natural' to them.
    Here's an excerpt from the thread about the beta version on Dexterity:
    Thank you all for your comments. Keep them comming.
     
  12. dan

    dan
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    Interestingly enough, Pest Patrol (a popular adware killer) saw your DDD Pool setup as a Trojan type virus on my system. Not sure why.

    I would agree with others that going past DirectX8.1 is easily your biggest issue. A lot of people just won't be bothered to download DX9, and may have fears that it would "break" something.

    Thumb's up on the game. I think it has a lot of possibilities if you keep plugging away. Occasional updates of adding new types of games should really make it great over time.

    I'd also agree with adding mouse draw on the stick as an alternate control option. It may seem like a little thing, but I don't see why I should have to hold 'S' when playing that way.

    Finally... I would rename it. Seem's like a pool game could go with "Big Ray's Pool Room" or some sort of flavor type name. Toss in a few neon beer signs on the wall and a racy calendar... ha.

    Best of luck.
     
    #12 dan, Dec 11, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2004
  13. Duke

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    I'm not sure either. My KAV doesn't report anything. But the Pest Patrol I found (V4.2) reports Gish setup to be RAT (Remote Access Trojan) !?

    The game already has that option (guess you didn't read the controls help that shows the first time you play (also on F1)). Why hold 'S'? How else? :confused:
     

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