Pure Sudoku sales stats

12 03 2009

Sales stats are always interesting to watch. This time I decided to repost sales stats of Pure Sudoku from Mochek (he posted them on Indiegamer Forums). Highlights are mine. Comments below.

Pure Sudoku was released in January 2006. Initially it was a completely free game, I added functionality and then I made a deluxe version for sale (the old school shareware model!). Simultaneously I have made improvements to the free version, maybe this has harmed overall sales but I think it made marketing easier.

I’ve made several versions over the years, the latest being released in December 2008.

It’s sold 640 copies over it’s life, mostly at the price point of $9.99. For the next few weeks I’m experimenting with a $5.99 price point.

The Free Version of the game has been downloaded around 250,000 times over the years (mostly from download.com where I host the file, and another 50,000 from various download sites and the early days when I hosted the game on my site.) Currently it is downloaded about 2000 times a week.

The original version took me about 1 month to make part time with Game Maker. Add another month, maybe 2 months of part time development work for improvements over the years.

My marketing efforts have included putting the game on as many download sites as possible and sending so many emails to get the game reviewed or linked to it’s unbelievable. On Google.com if you search for Free Sudoku I’m in the top 10. Add another 2 or 3 months (part time) for this marketing effort.

Of those who download the free version about 2000 to 2200 appear on the deluxe (purchased version) information page. Hence the price reduction experiment.

In January the game sold 21 copies and February 27 copies. It generally hovers between 20 to 25 copies each month at this point and seems pretty consistent for a while now. I guess this consistency is an advantage of being popular for a half decent search term.

I also make a little extra money using Google Adsense – worth maybe the equivalent of 2 or 3 extra sales each month.

And finally if any body wants to exchange links please email. I’ve learned that marketing efforts never really end.

The most important thing in the whole post I marked red. Marketing never ends and if you continue to do it your game will continue to sell. His post also shows that it’s better to have something small finished then something big in production forever.

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How hot is your game genre?

21 04 2008

On April 15th 2008, Big Fish Games released Runes of Avalon 2 (RoA 2). This event led me to watch the top 100 chart even more closely than I did before and brought me to a few interesting conclusions. Now I am sure that whether you “get in the top 10 or die” is even less correlated with how high the production values of your game are or how polished it is. It is strongly correlated with… game genre.

Stoneloops! of Jurassica launched one day before Runes of Avalon 2. This game was developed by my friends at Codeminion so I watched both releases very closely.

Both Stoneloops! and RoA 2 have very high production values and are very polished. RoA 2 was put in the match-3 category, Stoneloops! in the marble poppers category.

Runes of Avalon 2Stoneloops

The top 100 chart is updated daily. Stoneloops! debuted on 81st place. The next day RoA 2 debuted on 73rd place, but Stoneloops! fell out of the top 100 chart. After another day RoA dropped 8 spots to 81st place, but Stoneloops! made it back into the top 100 chart with a climb of 27 places (ranked at #90). One day later RoA 2 made it back to position #73 and Stoneloops! peaked to #81.

While I was happy that we stayed in top 100, I was wondering how high both games are ranked in assigned genres. To my surprise… they ranked quite highly. Stoneloops! is the #3 game amongst marble poppers. RoA 2 was #7 amongst match-3 games, then #10, and then #6. That was quite a shock to me. Games ranked at #3 in the marble poppers category can sell worse than games ranked at #7 or even #10 in the match-3 game category.

The top 3 marble games are (as of April 16):

game title actual rank best position
DragonStone #21 #7
Tumblebugs 2 #50 #18
Stoneloops! of Jurassica #90 #81

The top 10 match-3 games (as of April 16):

game title actual rank best position
Hoyle Enchanted Puzzles #20 #16
Hidden Wonders of the Depth #24 #7
Rainbow Web II #36 #12
Cradle of Persia #54 #7
Magic Match Adventures #66 #6
Cradle of Rome #72 #5
Big Kahuna Reef 2 #75 #2
Amazonia #77 #5
Around the World in 80 days #80 #10
Runes of Avalon 2 #81 #73

While the #1 marble popper and #1 match-3 games are ranked on very similar positions, the #2 marble popper sells a lot worse than the second and third highest ranked match-3 games. Its potential is close to the fourth place match-3 game. The #3 marble popper sales are even worse… its sales potential is about equal to the #13 match-3 game. To make things look even worse, Stoneloops was the #3 marble popper on April 15, but was not even in the top 100 chart.

So lets check some other genres. The #1 brain-teaser game (IQ: Identity Quest) is ranked at just #51 on the top 100 (peak at #35), the second (JigSaw365) is at #65 (peak at #6), and #3 is… not on the top 100 chart.

Are you working on the best platformer game right now? I’ve got bad news for you. The #1 platformer game – Supercow – is not on the top 100 chart. #2 (Super Granny 4, which I have heard was a successful game) is not on this list either…

Hottest genres?
Read the rest of this entry »

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Get in Top 10 or die!

14 04 2008

When you go to the Big Fish Games website don’t you feel depressed? Almost every game there is a hidden-object game… at least that’s the first impression. But I bet you’ll be surprised when I tell you that hidden-object games state only 35% of top 100 games. Still, it is the largest group. Here’s a full break down of top 100 games on Big Fish Games.

Top 100 break down by genre

I put all action, strategy, RPG and other games that doesn’t fit into 4 major categories categories.

There are also two interesting colums on the list: peak and weeks in. I was very curious what is the lowest peak for a game to get into top 100. If you are aiming to make an average game you better give up before you become disappointed… or change your thinking and aim higher.

Wonder what is average peak position for games in top 100? Try to guess… Read the rest of this entry »

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Cross-selling statistics from www.ANAWIKI.com

19 11 2007

Cross-selling is one of the easiest way to maximize your revenue per order. Cross-selling is not only the easiest, it’s also effective technique. I started using this technique in August 2007 and I wish I have started using it earlier. Here are stats from www.ANAWIKI.com from August till mid November.

I created 7 cross-selling groups. I’ve selected suplementary games that are similar to primary item (the first one that visitor puts into the shopping cart). Here is the list of groups and their effectiveness:

Maggie X – 13.6% effectiveness.
Runes X – 0% effectiveness!
Maggie X – 14.3% effectiveness.
Runes and Path of Magic – Windows – 50% effectiveness.
Path of Magic and Runes of Avalon – Windows – 13.8% effectiveness.
Runes and Path of Magic – Linux – 90% effectiveness.
Path of Magic and Runes of Avalon – Mac – 14.81% effectiveness.

Thanks to this technique I made $577.92 more than I would without using it (before I started cross-selling I had only 1 or 2 orders with multiple products). The best thing about it is that I didn’t have to pay a penny for it to get this extra revunue.

Effectivenes depends on suplementary game. It is a great way to sell sequels or level packs. It doesn’t work if you sell game for kids with puzzle game (that’s why Rune X had 0% efficiency). It works better if primary game is more expensive than supplementary game (50% of Runes of Avalon ($19.99) customers ordered Path of Magic, but only 14% of Path of Magic ($9.99) customers ordered Runes of Avalon).

Now, while I was writing this article I found out that Runes of Avalon for Mac was set up with wrong cross-sell group (Runes X). That mistake probably cost me around $200. Remember, always test your sales machine. If it is not set the way you want it to be set you will most probably lose money.

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