How miserable are the low-level indie game developers? 2 years of zero income development, the game only earns 44,000 yuan

2020-08-01 17:48:14 0 Comment 140 views

"Rain Attack" Recently, an independent game developer from India Armaan

How miserable are the low-level indie game developers? 2 years of zero income development, the game only earns 44,000 yuan


Recently, Armaan Sandhu, an independent game developer from India, shared on his blog that he gave up his job and devoted himself to independent game production. At the same time, he sharedGo over the account of the game and the way he promotes it.

After two years, the adventure game "Rainswept" was completed. This game is not a popular game, and its performance is slightly lower than expected. He mentioned that this change is not suitable for Everyone, he did it mainly by combining his own cost of living with game development.

Game sales performance:

Before the formal discussion, first look at the sales performance of this game on the digital platform (February 1-May 6 Japan) Three-month sales of the game

Three-month total sales: 1249 sets (Steam: 978; GOG: 271)

Total sales revenue: 12248 US dollars (9736 US dollars) +2512 USD)

Net income: 6422 U.S. dollars (4,955 U.S. dollars + 1,487 U.S. dollars) (game price: 11.99 U.S. dollars)

Net income means that the income that finally reaches the developer's hands has been removed from the platform commission (steam and GOG are both 30% ), but the actual arrival in the hands of developers is almost half of the sales revenue. It is more appropriate to use 55% of monthly sales as the developer's income. Now we analyze the sales figures of the Steam platform. This is the developer's main source of income: February (release month)

Sales volume: 711 sets

Total revenue: US$6793

Net income: US$3966

First day sales: 165 sets ($1500)

First week sales: 507 sets (4,618 U.S. dollars)

For the first-day sales, Armaan said that his expected goal is to sell around 4,000 sets per year, so the first-day sales should be around 500 sets. The original calculation method was: Daily sales 500*2= first week sales 1000*2= first month sales (2000 sets in the first month) = first year sales (4000 sets), but later realized that it was incorrect to calculate the entire year based on the first month’s sales, because For small indie games, his sales diameter will not be so long, and more publicity requires the help of word of mouth and discounts. If the quality is good, then the later sales will still go up. I believe that we will have a better understanding of this part over time.


Sales: 161 sets

Total revenue: US$1771

Net income: US$988


Sales volume: 94 sets

Total income: 1029 sets

Net income: 565 US dollars

The sales volume in April is about 58% of the sales volume in March, and the income is almost half of that in March, and about one-third of the first month. Since then, sales data and April sales data are almost the same (regardless of mall discounts). At the same time, it will be released on Itch and Gamejolt a month later, but the sales situation is very poor, only about 20 sets. Armaan produced the game Demo at the time when the download was 12. 000 times, these platforms are good for free-to-play games, but they are not so dazzling for the sales of buyout games.

Living on sales income:

In the first three months of the game’s release, the net profit was $6420. Next, Armaan hopes to get a monthly income of about $500 from the Steam platform, so that we can continue to make games. Consider game discounts. It is expected to exceed this number.

Will this income enable him to continue his dream?

In fact, it depends on the cost of living where he is located. Armaan mentioned that his first studio architect assistant in India was paid $220 at the time. This income is still acceptable if you don’t support the family. , When he decides to quit his job to make games and leave his parents to go to a bigger city, it also means that the cost will be twice as much as before. If the cost of living is well controlled, you can still continue to create.

How miserable are the low-level indie game developers? 2 years of zero income development, the game only earns 44,000 yuan

Source of page views of the game

The number of views after the game is released is also a very important data for the sales of the game. The following is the details:

February homepage views 66,000 pageviews

March homepage Pageviews: 16,000 pageviews

In April, pageviews: 13,000 pageviews

Views on other product pages:43% (February) 47% (March) 37% (April)

Views of external websites Google and reddit account for about 5% of the total monthly views. Among them, the main source of the pageview contribution is the discovery queue, which is generally recommended based on the game classification in the player's game library and the player's preferences.

Wish List:

Time on sale: 4400 pieces

So far: 10101 pieces (3 months total)

The conversion rate is about 4.9%, which is lower than the Steam average of 14%. Wish lists will generally usher in explosive growth during the sale period.

Future plan:

Armaan said that he saw a blog a few days ago and then optimized Ste by the above methodOn the am page, by modifying the game tags, combining popular tags and unique tags, the order of tags has been adjusted, and good results have been achieved. He will also go to the website and focus on "Night in the Woods", which is similar to "Rainswept" and many others I believe that the player groups who like the former will also like the latter.

At the same time, Armaan plans to port the game to the host and is communicating with the other party. At the same time, it opens a YouTube channel, which can not only make money from the broadcast volume, but also establish a good display space for the next work.

Here are some effective methods he believes to increase game exposure:

  • DEMO has gained 12,000 downloads by launching on io and, and players will keep an eye on it. The length of DEMO is about one hour, and you can ask at the end of the game. Players' views on this game and feedback through emails. About 500 emails were received. I don't know how many of the players who wrote the feedback bought this game. Self-reporting by some YouTube anchors and the media has also gained some attention.
  • Update Twitter at all times. Although the number of subscribers on Twitter is only about 1,000, continuous updating is a good way to expose your work and studio. On twitterYou can promote your game very well and form a good interactive community. If there are projects in the future, this is also a good way to promote and establish your own brand image.
  • Posting on Reddit, Facebook and forums: These methods have good short-term effects. If the game trailer is released or the actual game is played, the post will have a snowball-like effect. .
  • Weekly and monthly updates, these updates not only eliminate bugs, but also tell players that the game is in long-term operation, so that the game will remain Certainly hot.
  • The original game theme and concept art can also attract people’s attention"Rainswept" is an adventure game-a suspenseful murder novel about love, love and unsolved trauma. These theme elements and concepts will attract players' attention.

Here are some methods that did not work:

In the first week of the game’s release, there should be a lack of live broadcasts, YouTube anchors and media exposure, making the game’s first week of release not very good. The DEMO version has indeed received a lot of attention, and PC Gamers are also right DEMO made a report, but skipped the exposure during the time when the game was officially released. Maybe in February, many media were reporting on other games.Evaluation, although he has given the activation code to the media a few weeks in advance, would it be better if it was a little earlier.

Concluding remarks:

For Armaan, all this is worthwhile. He has not yet started a family, and at the same time engaging in this job can keep him away from work he didn’t like before. What it is doing now, it can devote itself to becoming a member of the game industry every day. It is a very happy thing for him. Of course, the risk is inevitable. You need to adapt to this situation. The game got acquainted with other developers and showed the game elsewhere, which completely changed his life.

Armaan has no regrets about changing his career. The next task is to transfer the game to the console platform. At the same time, I hope that the above mentality and the data provided are useful.

  • A+
Classification: game