Sales Details: Great Little War Game for iOS

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Applewood, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    [​IMG]

    Just thought I'd post some observations here. Great Little War Game has been out on sale now for about three months. It's available in HD format for iPad and Retina devices, and there's a low definition version for 3GS phones too.

    We just passed a milestone income from Apple of $150,000

    Development costs were about $100,000 so we're already in profit which is kinda cool for our first serious outing into genuine indieland.

    We've tried pricing all over the place. The odd thing is that the income remained fairly consistent at about a grand a day come what may. We're currently on a price of $2.99 and $4.99 which I do think is probably fair in comparison with other titles on the store.

    These are hardly Angry Birds numbers but I'm pretty happy with them. We spent some time at the top of various charts, but have plummeted out of the important ones since we upped the price, as they're based on downloads and not gross.

    An interesting observation is that being outside of the top charts has not affected our sales in a noticeable way - chart position doesn't seem to reinforce itself with positive feedback, and I'd go so far to say that charting is actually irrelevant to sales. That goes against everything I thought I knew and certainly sounds dodgy, but the numbers don't lie.

    We have 930,000 "players" right now, but 750,000 of those picked the game up free when we went with FAAD for a week. That kick-started sales of the non-HD version of the game and because we have a couple of good value in-app purchases, is netting a worthwhile sum by itself - both in new sales and in-apps from previous freebies.

    We hit the holy grail a few days after launch - the front page "all categories" version of New and Noteworthy. We were doing about $700 per day before that and it quickly peaked to $6,000. Sadly that only lasted a few days before a fairly rapid drop off, even though we were on N&N for a full month. I guess the money that made is nothing to cry about but tbh we were surprised and dissappointed that this bubble rapidly burst - originally we were hoping to do those figures each day for the whole month.

    The spike in the pic where the green dots are indicate when we got a five star review from the biggest iOS games site on the net - TouchArcade. You can see a nice spike there, but it didn't last long and didn't exactly exponentiate. Seems that "big" reviews are handy but not something to fret over either.

    I hope some of you can get some use out of this. If you can deduce anything from it, please share it with me. Having tried a variety of things from reviews, Apple features, sales, giveaways, etc. I'm no closer to having a magic formula than I was on March 20.

    In summary, I consider this project a success. It's not going to buy us any ferraris, but it is actually turning a profit big enough to carry our wage bill while we develop the next big thing, and hopefully that'll continue for some time. There is an Android version imminent and PS Vita version whenever they release the bloody thing, so maybe by then we'll be making some proper dosh.
     
    #1 Applewood, Jul 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  2. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the numbers Paul and congrats on doing what most can't ^_^ turning a profit.

    I do have one question though, the $100,000 does that include your salaries paid and contractors (if you used them) aswell? Because if so, $50,000 profit ontop for your first venture into a new market and full indie is very impressive.

    Oh actually another question, what other price points did you try for each version?

    Again, thanks for the information.
     
  3. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thanks, and you're welcome. The dev costs include (are mainly) salaries for the three guys at Rubicon. In games development, salary costs are about 95% of operating costs so when people exclude them from their evaluations they're just fudging.

    We were lucky enough to get a level designer and an artist, both of high calibre, to work for free in return for a 10% cut right off the top. These were old industry colleagues who trusted us to deliver something profitable and also happen to have very cheap living expenses. (paid off mortgages, the bastards!)

    Out of pocket other expenses ran to a few thousand (stuff like audio and a bit of representation talking to publishers - another epic waste of time).

    Price points were $2.99 for HD and $0.99 for SD for a while. Dropping both to a buck gave some minor spikes but nothing worth repeating. Now we're at $4.99 and $2.99 income is actually a bit higher, despite paying for that in terms of a charts plummet. We got 750,000 downloads of the non-HD version over a single week when it was gratis.
     
  4. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's nice that you are transparent with numbers. Usually when people announces "sales data" you see nothing about the sales, just graphics with little interest.
     
  5. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,296
    Likes Received:
    12
    Its nice to see some actual numbers rather than meaningless pie charts.

    [edit]
    Er.... yeah, that. :D
     
  6. electronicStar

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for sharing and congratulation.
    It looks like iOS is still a great market, and paid version still more profitable than ads-based.
    I really wish I had a mac.
     
  7. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yeah, I don't know why people are so coy about the actual numbers either. It's fairly easy to work them out in any case. For ten quid you can get our entire p&l record from companies house.

    I thought to post mainly because I see this as a sensible target for a serious iOS developer. It didn't flop and it didn't have monster success, in other words it's a sane place to aim.

    If you make a pick up and play casual game that goes stellar, you could probably add two zeroes to those figures. If you make a pick up and play game that performs like most of the good games of that ilk, you'll make a tenner. But if you make something bigger, that isn't just a "fancy that" game, then it does seem to get some traction - not every iOS punter wants to play bird flicking for five minutes max - and that's about the main thing I've learned from this.
     
  8. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    The 150,000 is real-net income? I mean, what ended in your pocket, not the Apple gross revenue sales, right? That's quite good in any case :)
     
  9. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    0
    Numbers are always hard to evaluate because people have different definitions of terms. In the end you never know how much one has earnt (or lost) with a game, however it is the only thing that really matters lol
     
  10. richtaur

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much for posting this! Really valuable insights.
     
  11. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0

    This exactly why pure data is best, so people can use and evaluate the numbers to their needs. However, I don't expect such details from anybody as it tends to touch a nerve with a lot of people.
     
  12. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, they do on this board anyway but we've been there once already... ;)

    To answer the other question, yes that was net receipts paid by Apple after their cut
     
  13. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's interesting to see the growth of the light blue area... was that the version for 2nd gen devices?
     
  14. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Nah, it won't run on those. The SD version (lt blue) is universal for 3GS or newer, but it only has 3GS sized imagery - on bigger devices the screen gets stretched.

    The growth started with a double whammy of the FAAD campaign and getting a front page review on TouchArcade right beforehand. We always expected the HD version to sell best of the two, but not by the ridiculous difference before the FAAD thing kicked in.
     
    #14 Applewood, Jul 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  15. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    5
    These are very interesting numbers, thanks for sharing them :)

    Now if only i had a decent idea for an iOS game... :p
     
  16. Man of Ice

    Man of Ice New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for sharing. We launched Tactical Soldier almost at the same time. Unfortunately not at the same luck you had with the front page - so less sales. Will think about doing a similar post as yours.

    /Thomas
     
  17. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ah yes, I remember seeing that about - good looking game. I would've bought it had I spare time for anything that's not "research" :)
     
  18. Colm

    Colm New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Congrats on being profitable already! Also agree with including salaries in your upfront costs when trying to work these things out
     
  19. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    Looking at the slow dropping rate of income, you're in for 1 or 2 more hundred thousand dollars here, and that likely within the end of the year !! Gratz ! :)
     
  20. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Sure do hope so... :)

    Cheers all.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer