Thursday, June 14, 2018

Our Revenues and Downloads

Our latest original game Dyna Knight was released about 10 months ago. We've traditionally not been very keen to share any info on our numbers but I've been thinking that needs to change. We are starting a new game project in August after our current stint of contract work ends so it's a good time to share some numbers from our past. I respect openness and as we are a two-man indie game studio that's currently making ends meet (not much more though) it should probably be interesting. I also want it to contrast the super success stories the industry seems to be so fond of.

Go! Go! Meatball was our first game as Parta Games. It was originally self-published as a premium game with a 1.99$/€ price tag on iOS & Android, but we quickly learned it was not selling at all. Probably some friends bought it and that was pretty much it. We scrambled to make a free version which also didn't do so well, but got a bit more downloads in the end. The game was also distributed for free in a UK Starbucks promotion in actual stores. The end result was most likely a combination of the game looking like an easy game but actually being really hard, it lacked polish and class and our lack of any experience in how to get Apple's and Google's attention for the game probably played a part too. We didn't give up however, and especially the Starbucks thing was pretty motivating. Looking back, it was pretty crazy to bet your savings on such a game, but it was an important step in getting where we are now.

Go! Go! Meatball

  • Development costs until launch: Difficult to estimate, we already developed it on the side for months before going full time.
  • Total downloads: 23 000
    • iOS: 14 500
    • Android: 8 500
  • Total revenue (4 yrs): 600€ give or take
    • iOS: 450€
    • Android: 150€


Our most popular game so far is Choppa. It got 'Best New Games' feature from Apple and 'New & Updated Games' feature from Google Play. It also has had many 'Best New Updates' features on iOS and similar 'New & Updated Games' features on Google Play. Choppa has over 3 million downloads as of today which is pretty equally divided between iOS and Android. The game made some money and kept us afloat for a year and a half at least, if not more.

  • Development costs until launch: 10 000€ (Estimate)
  • Total downloads: 3 100 000 and counting
  • Total revenue (2 yrs): 65 000€
    • iOS: 80%
    • Android: 17-18%
    • Steam and Apple TV: 2-3%
  • Around 80-85% of total revenue comes from mobile ads, the rest is basically In App Purchases

Dyna Knight!

Our next and third game Dyna Knight didn't do so well, was not featured by Apple but got a "last slot" 'New and Updated Games' feature by Google. It was a bit of a kick in the groin for us after Choppa, especially because we'd spent a lot of money doing unnecessary and badly performing ports of Choppa for Apple TV and Steam. Dyna Knight was our first 3D game and has been downloaded around 30 000 times, which is divided in favor of Google Play with its 28K downloads. It's got pretty great user reviews, but it was not good enough to get better featuring and it also had a pretty crappy conversion rate compared to Choppa (number of downloads per store page view). I personally think we couldn't execute our vision as well as we should've. We could've tried to salvage the game, improve it and get featured later, but to avoid any sunken costs we abandoned the game pretty much immediately after a couple of bugfix updates. Don't hold your breath for content updates.
  • Development costs until launch: 15 000€ (Estimate)
  • Total downloads 30 000
  • Total revenue (~1 year): 600€
    • iOS: 120€
    • Android: 480€
  • The ad/iap revenue ratio is about the same as in Choppa
So what you get from this is that after 3 years of our small studio existing, we've probably made about 50% of our money from our own games. The other 50% is from contract work to other game companies and some random IT contract work stuff. There's some other stuff too, like Unity Plugins that have small-but-growing revenues. It's not an ideal situation because we'd like to dedicate our time to our own games 100% but currently it's around 50%. Our situation is good though, we're debt-free and can pay our salaries monthly, the company has also been "profitable" every year. We've got some money in the bank and a small government grant for the next game so our situation is stable. It's of course a bit terrifying to think what happens if we run out of funds again, but we're still 100% self-funded and self-published our games so far and even had mild success so that's kind of how we do things :) We're also pretty fortunate to be able to live where we want instead of bigger cities so that's also a big plus. Let's see what future brings, I'm pretty excited about August when we start our next project full time.