Asterogue has been out for a little over a month now, so it’s a good time to reflect on the sales numbers of the game. Games generally have a short-lived sales cycle so I am not expecting a huge increase in sales after this.
I’m writing this up to help other indie developers calibrate their expectations. You often read about the success stories because people love to read that it’s possible to make it big with a hit game, but few people bother to write up mediocre outcomes, which is the outcome of most game development efforts. This is called “selection bias”.
You can find a list of all the marketing and promotion I did below, to give you an idea of what kind of an effect you can expect from a single person doing all coding and all promotion by themselves.
Let’s cut to the chase.
30copies of Asterogue for Android were sold netting
18copies of Asterogue for Windows were sold netting
Total sales =
The game got a couple of five star ratings on each platform. Interestingly, the average payment for the Windows version was around $6 which is double the suggested $3 (people were able to choose any amount higher than $3).
The main cost making the game was my own time. If I had been charging one of my freelance clients to make this game it would have cost around
$5k - $10k over 1.5 months of part time development at my normal hourly rate. Incidentally if you’re interested in having a game like this made, hit me up. :)
It’s interesting to look at the visits to the game’s pages on each platform, and the click-through-rate of people who visited the page and then went on the buy the game.
- The Windows page on Itch saw
1,937views with a click-through purchase rate of just under 1%.
- The Google Play store doesn’t give raw numbers but it says the conversion rate is about 1% too.
There’s an implication here that if I could drive more traffic to these pages I could expect 1 out of every 100 visitors to buy the game.
Here’s a list of all the marketing and promotion I did while building the game:
- Kept a Twitter thread up to date with the latest changes (about 1250 followers).
- Posted devlogs to the TIGSource forum.
- Participated in Saturday Sharing on /r/roguelikedev.
- I sent a couple of updates to my own email newsletter subscribers (there are 90 subscribers).
- Some dev.to posts.
Here is a list of everywhere I launched the game:
- Launched on /r/roguelikes
- On my own blog.
- Emailed the infinitelives mailing list.
- Emailed my own email newsletter subscribers.
- Created a listing on RogueBasin and in the news section too.
- Kenney.nl discord in #promotion
- Roguelikes discord in #advertise-releases
- On the local game dev discord in my city.
- On the local web dev front-enders Slack chat in my city (the game is built with front-end web technology).
After release I also wrote some blog posts here on the game’s Itch devlog and linked a couple of these to Hacker News. The post My game won’t sell and that’s ok got 7k hits.
How to increase future sales
There are three main strategies I can think of to improve sales for this game and future games:
- Kaizen. Improving the game. Fixing issues people have flagged and making quality of life improvements from player feedback.
- Keep making more games. Compound on the interest and marketing garnered by this game. This is the strategy of Sokpop games and when I did an analysis of their collective I realized they probably didn’t make a profit until game number 8.
- Use a 3rd party company for promotion instead of doing it myself.
I am going to allocate time in my schedule to improve Asterogue. I got some great feedback and I want to polish those rough edges and fix all the issues people have flagged.
I will almost certainly make more graphically rich roguelike games in the future, because it was so much fun to do so. Thank you very much to everybody who bought the game, I really appreciate it.
I think the key is to do this without great expectations, just try to make the best games possible, and have fun doing it.
If you want to hear about games and other stuff I make you can follow me on Twitter @mccrmx or subscribe to my newsletter at mccormick.cx. Thanks for reading!