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How much money do you earn from your games?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by KaOzz, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. justanobody

    justanobody

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    It did seem like he was trying to tire me out. Trying to make me believe I had no claim to my own copyright among other tactics. The next step was to lawyer up... and I did. Now with a lawyer and knowing I'm in the right, ensures that I don't have to listen to the new owner's tactics.

    No matter what he does, the damage is already done so its my right to sue. So he should probably be less of a pushy bully telling me what my rights are and what I can't do. Once the copyright's registration is approved then I can make that call on whether or not I should let the lawyer file suit. I gave the new owner enough polite warning to remove the game from the Steam store and replace my copyrighted content and he never did. He was too content to laugh at me and bluntly insult me that my models and art weren't good enough to pay for.

    To tie this in with how much money have you made... it cost $55 to file for registration with the US Copyright Office. If I'm correct, that brings me from $200 - $250 down to about $150 - $200 made on this game in six or so months.
     
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  2. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Sorry to hear things are going so poorly! To me it sounds like a lawsuit for "making the world a better place" in hopes he learns a lesson from a lost case and doesn't do this to other people in the future. If you think you can do this without it causing you harm or too much stress, then I would say go for it, even if there's nothing really to "win" financially.
     
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  3. jasonxtate66

    jasonxtate66

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    At this point it is like asking what a record label (I've ran one for over 3 years) makes on digital content and streams. CD's will be discontinued by 2020 (Best Buy is pulling them in July), I predict a lot less physical media in the coming years. It's basically pennies now instead of dollars but you can release digitally without the investment of physical music/and/or games. Double edged sword. To initially build my brand was few thousand dollars, now in the past year I've seen my revenue come from Spotify rather than iTunes. I get about 3000 streams a month, but they are at like 4 cents a stream. When it was downloaded on iTunes or other outlets it was roughly a dollar. The downloads have fallen off.

    There are guys on this forum who invested 80k+ on a game, and their sales within 6 months were around 1k.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
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  4. justanobody

    justanobody

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    I know one specific example that had $100,000 in investor money just to make $1,000 in 2 or so years. It had a 7 man team and 2 - 3 years of production. I would name names, because I can't remember if I was told via PM or if it was public knowledge posted on the forum. Looking at it on Steam it has 10 non key reviews. In all honesty I can see the game's genre as undesirable. I'm happy I only sank a few thousand dollars into my bigger game.

    There are games (made with other engines) that had money grants from unnamed engines that look fantastic, but judging from the lack of non key reviews, I can tell they didn't make the money back.

    Having to deal with it has killed my motivation to be productive for the past 2 months. It used to cause me stress, but seeing the lawyer was freeing to know that no matter what happens I am still in the right. Also if anything this situation has been so messy that the new owner of the games will think twice about buying someone else's shovelware. He did buy 12 - 20 games from the guy I did models, art and animations for. Chances are he's been pushing around the other artists as the guy who made the game was just a programmer. Others did the art, models and animations, which is how he churned out so many in 6 months.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
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  5. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Can you link the game?
     
  6. jasonxtate66

    jasonxtate66

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    Won't name names, but if you look around it's not hard to find, like justanobody said.
     
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  7. justanobody

    justanobody

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    Its a bit early for my monthly post, but I had to pay for my "LLC Annual Report" with the state. I think its the new term for LLC renewal. Rather than $300 with a $50 convenience fee like it was last year, its a mere $75 with a $50 convenience fee and a $300 late fee if its late.

    I could always risk the convenience fee and mail in the $75, but they gave me 2 weeks to mail it in and pay it. I remember having like 2 months to pay it last year so it seems like this is a bit quick.

    Anyway.. $225 less to pay per year is always good unless the annual report isn't the renewal fee, but I'm certain it must be. Its basically a form that wants me to confirm the managers and location of the LLC and pay $25 more if its changed. The $225 difference probably wouldn't be noticed to companies making thousands of dollars, but to someone like me losing money for owning a company, this will help.

    While its not exactly "how much my games have made," its more like "how much less have my games made for owning a company to make games."
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  8. justanobody

    justanobody

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    With it being the 21st, that makes it time for the Steam report from May!

    + $26 for the $10 game at full price.
    + $2 for 4 copies sold of the $1 game at full price.
    + $0 in market transactions for the $10 game with 20 transactions.
    + $2 in market transactions for the $1 game with 100 transactions at $0.03 a piece.
    ======================
    + $30 income (which is surprising)
    - $50 from owning a company, though that number will drop next month
    ======================
    - $20 lost

    With the 3 other games its been quiet. Its been a while since I've heard from the friend I made game #3 with. Game #4 isn't available to purchase on Steam. Game #5 I took off Steam and probably won't ever do anything with.
     
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  9. kevincarlson

    kevincarlson

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    I think it should not be revealed publically.;)
     
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  10. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    In many countries its public domain info, here in sweden no company can withhold what they make. Really practical when doing research :D
     
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  11. Asisvenia

    Asisvenia

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    I didn't understand how payment works for the developers on the Steam. For example, a game listed as $1.99 price and sold 10.000 copies. That means 1.99 * 10.000 = $19.900 and as far as I know Steam cuts %30 of revenue so developer gets: 19.900 - 5970 = $13.970. Are my calculations are accurate? I know sometimes half of the copies may be priced as 0.50 cent.

    Thanks.
     
  12. Farelle

    Farelle

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    that should be correct.
     
  13. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    No, there's probably also VAT to be deducted at varying rates and there are regional pricing differences, so a 2$ game in your region might be sold at the equivalent of e.g. 1.74$ (randomly guessing here) in another country. I would recommend to expect to take home a fair bit less than 70% of the US store price, but no one can give you an exact number for that, because of the uneven sales distribution you'll have accross different price regions.
     
  14. QFSW

    QFSW

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    Furthermore, regional pricing. Not all your sales will be US. Subsideria is $5 in US and £4 in the UK, which are more or less equivalent, but then the Russian and Chinese prices come out to around $2.50 for example
     
  15. justanobody

    justanobody

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    Russia, Brazil and Mexico get things for a lot cheaper, because they have lesser economies. It depends on the regional pricing. Then after you get paid, you're still taxed on the revenue if you're making a profit. As an LLC with quarterly taxes, I pay 15% on revenue... but again, if I made a profit that exceeds a certain amount.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  16. justanobody

    justanobody

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    It's past July 21st so now it's time for those big summer sale numbers:

    JUNE REVENUE
    + $10 on 5 copies sold of the $10 game at 50% off 2 refunds
    + $13 on 50 copies sold of the $1 game at 50% off 2 refunds
    + $0 on 5 market transactions for the $10 game
    + $0 on 60 market transactions for the $1 game
    -----
    - $35 per month owning a company and overhead thanks to the MUCH reduced price of owning a LLC
    ===
    - $12 loss (well $11 since there was $1 worth of market transactions between the 2 games)

    The $13 on 50 copies seems like quite a kick in the groin. It seems again, like someone in Russia would buy 20 copies in a day. Even with the Summer sale, reduced LLC cost and I'm still running in the red, but both my games are over 2 years old. The $1 game had a surge of glowing reviews over the sale. The game might hit 50 reviews in another year.

    Game #3 made a few hundred dollars over the past few months with the bulk of it being from the summer sale. This being the game I made with a friend that was bundled and bulk sold to oblivion, so now it's a card farm game. I caught my friend at the right time when he could pay me right then and there.

    Games #4 and #5 are still unavailable on Steam so they made nothing. It has been around 3 months since I've programmed anything after being soured by game development from game #4's drama. As much as I love game development, it has been a dark journey so far.
     
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  17. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Can you post some Steam link to one of your games ?
     
  18. Asisvenia

    Asisvenia

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    Thank you for your answers.
     
  19. justanobody

    justanobody

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    Nope. I prefer to remain anonymous for plenty of reasons. One of which is a legal agreement. I love abiding by legal agreements and all, but people should know it's not all quit your job money. Someone has to stick around to tell the failure *edit losing money* stories and not just move on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  20. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    It was to get a glimpse about your graphics and gameplay.
    Perhaps the game is not good enough to appeal more players ?
    Many times people think the game they are making is amazing, while it is not so great.
    Was it mobile or PC games ?
     
  21. justanobody

    justanobody

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    That's correct. I am not trying to analyze why they failed. I am well aware of both my games shortcomings since this is "how much money do you make on games." Even with paid artists, modelers and animators, my 2 games still didn't have a good enough style to sell themselves. Youtubers played the first game, even some big ones, but that meant nothing. The $1 game has a better style, but an undesirable genre. Since I failed so hard with the $10 game, I am unwilling to pay people to make the models, animations and art. So that has lead me to become a better artist, modeler and animator.

    $10 game was PC only. $1 game was PC and mobile. The other 3 games were PC only.

    Another issue that I figured out with this forum thread is that people probably had their fill with the demo of the $10 game. On top of that, both games are more than 2 years old and bleeding wishlists at a rate of 5 to 10 a week. Even during the summer sale. Store wide sales used to catapult the wishlists, but the age is against both games now.

    With the $1 game people have started to tell me it's too good for $1 and to raise it to $3, but until I sell 10,000 copies, I'll keep it at $1.

    In time I might just take down both of my games from the Steam store.

    Game #3, as I mentioned before made like $22,000 and I can't remember if that was my 50% cut or overall. That game was fair, with terrible art, then got progressively worse as my friend would update the game. Clown vomit comes to mind, but through the bulk sales and bundle sales it has it's audience of fans that post on the forum. It made that money through bundles, bulk sales and cards. I was against the bulk sales, as I've mentioned before, but it's the game that made money.

    As someone who has games that went both the no bundles and the bulk sales to card farmers. The bulk sale game has a bigger, active audience in the forum and made tens of thousands of dollars more. I'd consider the game far more successful on all levels.

    Games #4 and #5 are terrible, but they look good. Game #4 has a desirable style, but that's about it. Amazingly game #4 has its fans too. Game #5 is terrible. The programmer couldn't even use my art, models and animations properly. Like the animations stop or loop before the end frame. Enemies are in the ground. No one wants this game. As mentioned before, it was a 3 day game jam game that the programmer said "this is good enough for Steam." Then put no more work in it when it needed a lot of work. That's why it sold a hand full of copies, before the guy gave me the game and then I took it down off Steam.
     
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  22. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    You got all your answers why this didn't sell well then :D

    About pricing, some people will avoid games at low price under 10$ , because they know the majority of those games are too small games with small content , or bad games.
     
  23. justanobody

    justanobody

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    This is a thread for how much money you earn from making games. I have reported the finances aspect for a year. It just so happens that the games didn't make much money.

    Except game #3, which looks terrible, plays terrible, yet made tens of thousands of dollars from bulk sales, bundles and cards being so cheap that they were bought and sold. It is $3 and sells a dozen copies a month at full price. It has had zero promotion, no Twitter, no conventions, no Youtubers will touch it because it looks terrible and no one knows about it. Barely any reviews. It's just my friend's game that I make 50% on.

    It defies all logic other than oh card farmers want it.
     
  24. justanobody

    justanobody

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    It's the 21st of August so Steam has posted the July reports. July caps off the end of the summer sale.

    + $6 from 4 sales of the $10 game at 50% off and 1 refund.
    + $15 from 55 copies sold of the $1 game at 50% off
    + $0 in market transactions from the $10 game.
    + $2 in market transactions from the $1 game.
    ====
    - $35 per month
    - $30 per month extra in a new fee I'll tell ya about.
    ====
    - $45 in the time to abandon game development category

    Lawyer decided to bill me $350 to retain his services to do nothing but receive my junk mail. Last year's fee was just under $200. To balance things out, a month or so ago, the state lowered its fee to $75 which is down from $300 + $50 convenience fee. Lawyer claims the state is charging him extra to do the nothing for me that he does. Could be true... but sadly, I just don't care. I was never warned of this fee and stopped receiving junk emails from the lawyer even to my spam folder.

    Game #3 I made with a friend that's terrible and card farming spam made $300 this month and that's just my cut. There was a big surge in sales for July with the summer sale which resulted in a lot of cards getting sold like a few hundred per card per day. He will give me the money... eventually.

    This is month #4 not doing anything game related.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  25. justanobody

    justanobody

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    I'm back to necro bump this thread, because Steam's August report is in:

    + $0 from 0 sales on the $10 game
    + $5 from 40 sales on the $1 game at 50% off
    + $0 in market transactions from the $10 game
    + $1 in 200 market transactions for the $1 game
    ===
    - $65 for the monthly hidden costs of owning a company
    ===
    - $60 in the red

    The $1 game seems to have gotten lucky. 50+ reviews turned into 60+ reviews. Everyone writes positive reviews. The reviews are getting more detailed, because some of the reviews were often spam bots writing "good game" or "buy this game." Then clicking to read their other reviews, they'd all say the same thing.

    In a way, it's been a busy month:

    My friend that I made the third game with told me he's retiring from game development. He said he was going through the process to declare bankruptcy and couldn't / wouldn't be paying me the money he owed me (which is a few hundred dollars from last month and this payment combine). Since he's screwing me over out of money, he gave me control of the game (which will still take a few more weeks, because in my experience it takes 4 weeks). He claimed he wouldn't have Internet for a while. Then he sent me the source code. I would update it and enhance the game, but there are countless bad reviews for that game, despite how much money it's made.

    The owner of game #4, (the one I have DMCAed down from Steam) offered to sell me the game outright. I don't think I could trust to buy a game from him, let alone a dead game that never made that much money. Plus, I can only hope that Steam wouldn't let a game get transferred that has an active DMCA against it. Since I've been given 2 games I helped out on, maybe I'll get lucky enough to just be given this game as well.

    I wish this was all as simple as numbers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  26. QFSW

    QFSW

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    Now that I've released my game too, I'll be chipping in with my numbers too since I hugely appreciate that @justanobody does

    So here's for August (game released 24th, although September sales have been insignificant so far)

    +$169 for the base game on steam
    +$5 GameJolt sales
    +$8 humble widget sales
    +$14 ost dlc sales
    -$370 spent so far for the game total
    ----------------------------
    Current total: $174 in the red (once I'm in the green I'll switch to monthly totals)

    Just numbers from me, nothing more juicy to mention
    Will answer any questions if anyone has them
     
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  27. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    2D or 3D game ? Good or bad graphics ? Good or bad gameplay ? Small or bigger game content ?
     
  28. QFSW

    QFSW

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    Rather subjective questions so I'll let you decide ;)
    https://store.steampowered.com/app/797610/Subsideria/

    My answers though:
    2D, small game (arcade replay value though), decent (not great, but not bad) graphics

    And obviously, I haven't included my time in the expenses
     
  29. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Great achievment to publish your game :)

    It looks good 2D, however don't take it bad :
    1) it lacks content : too few bosses, no semi bosses, not enough enemies
    2) enemy design could be more elaborated, less simple
    3) only space empty levels can become boring while action could take place above planets or space stations.
    4) upgrade system ? loot ? shop to buy ship stuff or new ships ? to hook the player.
    5) story line and dialog ? for example like Starcraft.
    6) i don't like the HUD, the white color make it not sci fi, it's not paired with the game
    The HUD is too much distractive, it should be smaller and more compact to my taste.

    There is thousand of small good arcade games, your game needs lot more hooks to really stand out from others; perhaps this means lot more work to put on it.

    It's strange but some people only get attention to a game when the price is above 10$, below they think it's a very small production they won't enjoy.

    Perhaps i'm wrong on all that, but it's how i find it.
     
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  30. QFSW

    QFSW

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    1. I agree, currently there's 4 bosses, 6 asteroid types and 1 random events. I'm planning to add more events and enemies in updates

    4. You unlock new power ups and abilities, but no purchasable upgrade system

    5. There's some minimal story through the intro cutscene and during the bosses, but the majority of the lore is in the datalog (in game encyclopedia if you will) definitely not a selling point, but id never really play an arcade game for lore anyway

    6. Hud size was reduced by 25% post launch

    I'm not really complaining about how it did. I'm gonna keep working on improving it (with big content updates every now and again) but I definitely want to work on my next game too. Clean slate and all

    Thanks for your insight

    (would also like to finish my next game faster: dunno how realistic that is though)
     
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  31. QFSW

    QFSW

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    Also, I think I agree on the price thing. I'll probably go higher for my next game (still under or around 10 though, not sure)

    I will also obviously report on sale figures for the xb1 port, whenever that's done...
     
  32. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Interesting game background is also a good hook when it's done right.
    For example above Planet surface, above wrecked ships or above city or alien nature.
    Some levels more attractive, with some animations on background.


    This is what i really don' t like in small games : pages or blocks of text you need to read lol
    I prefer short and interesting audio dialog instead (with subtitles if necessary), it's lot more immersive.

    With more content, and lot of hooks,10$ is better, around 20$ is good.
     
  33. QFSW

    QFSW

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    As a solo dev with full time education to deal with too, I don't see myself making a game big enough to charge $20 for without people complaining
     
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  34. yoonitee

    yoonitee

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    I think $5 is fine for an indie game. TBH it averages out so that if you charge $10 you get approx half as much sales.
    Plus the cheaper it is the better reviews you will get.

    I just finished my second major Steam game. Which is doing better than the first.

    My profits are above the average wage in UK but below the profits necessary to purchase Unity Plus!

    So it proves you can make a decent living making indie games.
     
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  35. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    2D, 3D? What kind of game ?
     
  36. Asisvenia

    Asisvenia

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    Could you please share your game ?
     
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  37. nipoco

    nipoco

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  38. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Can you tell us what percentage you are making from sales in Japan? I see that the video by that Japanese youtuber got over half a million views. Did that move a lot of units? I've recently watched a GDC talk where a guy said big youtubers and streamers no longer shift significant amounts of units.
     
  39. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Charging twice the price won't magically lead to half the sales any more than charging half the price will lead to twice the sales. There are more factors at work than just price when it comes to people deciding to purchase a game.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
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  40. yoonitee

    yoonitee

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    True. Maybe it's just my experience of changing the price it didn't really alter the profits significantly. I'm sure if you change the price to something more dramatic like $1 or $50 then you will see more of a change. But yeah, it will be different for different games, it's hard to find the sweet spot of a price that will maximise sales.
    Also, I found that 25% during a sale is about right. You might think taking 75% off would lead to massive sales, but for me it was cancelled out by the big discount.

    Well in the first couple of weeks I got about 80% of sales from Japan! So, I think YouTubers help a lot. But the effect is short lived. Especially if they are making a video every day!
    Also it depends on the audience of the YouTuber and their ages and if the audience is interested in the game or the YouTuber personality themselves.
    Generally I think a YouTube "let's play" with say 200k views might boost your sales by 10-20% for a few days. I don't know what the long term effect is.

    But moral of the story: translate your game into Japanese! (Or get someone to do that for you). Also Chinese and Korean.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
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  41. yoonitee

    yoonitee

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    Dark chocolate, coffee, cola, tea and energy drinks might be the culprit??? How are you even alive?
     
  42. justanobody

    justanobody

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    I prefer water to any of those and I always have. How am I alive? People have offered a thought that I'm a robot.

    If I'm doing nothing, I'd rather be programming. If I'm playing a game, I'd rather be making a game. That's just the way I am. I haven't made any games in a few months after getting sour about everything outside the games. Making games is the fun part.

    Someone mentioned twice the price gets half the sales. Sure. You want reviews. I have noticed the past year or two $10 games go on 90% sale. They cultivate reviews and in time they stop doing the 90% sales. In the past, there were popular games that start out at $2 and then increase the price later on to $10 or so. Those games warrant it as they go on to fame and glory.
     
  43. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    -$30k. Yep. Minus.
     
  44. justanobody

    justanobody

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    I have to ask... is there a story? Like you spent it on programmers, artists and in the end the game just didn't sell well? Over what period of time did you spend the money? Did you at least make some money back? Like it cost $50k and you made $20k back?
     
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  45. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    I'm a professional developer, so I spent no money on that. I spent 30k on it, and I got back $0. Absolute 0, not rounded 0.

    You can read some more material here: https://forum.unity.com/threads/could-i-make-a-living-being-an-indie-game-dev.562096/

    Although I plan to post a more accurate story of mine later. Thank you for reading. :)
     
  46. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    12,042
    This came up in another thread, so I wanted to come back and thank you for sharing this.

    From what I gather, most people who try to make games commercially and don't find that success just quietly walk away, or quietly buckle down on their next project. The fact that you chose to share this is great, because you're not the only person this has happened to, but you're one of relatively few people willing to talk about it and to let other people know.

    Whatever happens next, I wish you luck and success!
     
    Rewaken, chelnok, Kiwasi and 3 others like this.
  47. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Posts:
    60
    I can guarantee you I planned on walking away and say nothing. But I feel I can't. I feel two things...

    1) I like to socialize and talk about things that can affect an individual deeply (which it did for me) - talking about it with open minded individuals - I had my reservations about this since I do expect people to trash me further, kicking me while I'm down, have trolls make fun of my failure - especially people who think I deserve to lose the money because they think I can afford it (even though we all know I can't - I never saw a penny of it, but I am responsible to pay it back to the bank).

    2) I don't plan on giving up - I still plan to make more games.

    Edit: I probably am a stubborn guy... :) as my wife often tells me...
     
    Rewaken, Billy4184, Martin_H and 3 others like this.
  48. justanobody

    justanobody

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Posts:
    72
    People need to hear stories of failure. Not everyone was destine for money.
     
    Martin_H and Ony like this.
  49. eatsleepindie

    eatsleepindie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2012
    Posts:
    348
    My games = $0 from 0 releases. My clients game recently released and they took in more than 10 months of my salary in the first month. That doesn't account for other investments they made, but I'm happy earning a nice salary and doing what I enjoy.
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  50. Smart-hawk1

    Smart-hawk1

    Joined:
    May 23, 2017
    Posts:
    294
    I Invested 0 so far only time, but at the end i'll have to pay for 1- steam publishing 2- photon fees 3- maybe unity plus sooo

    but the experience is good