ibb & obb launched on Steam May 26th 2014. So what are our numbers like after the first seven months?
(click images for full size versions)
Wooo spikes! But what does it mean?
Daily revenue is heavily influenced by two things: visibility and discounts. All the noticeable spikes in the graph correspond to a special Steam promotion. Let’s look at those in more detail.
We were quite happy with our first weeks on Steam. Especially as the game got far less press coverage than with our earlier PlayStation3 launch.
For three days ibb & obb was in the main banner on the front page, then moved to the smaller ‘Featured’ section underneath, where it stayed for a few more days. The graph shows a drop in sales after the first week which corresponds with the end of the 20% launch discount. The next two weeks without discounts or special store visibility we sold on average 77 copies each day.
First three weeks:
5800 copies / $72,600 revenue
(Earlier I wrote in more detail about our launch week here)
Steam’s summer sale is a big thing and ideally we would have launched a bit earlier, giving us some time between launch and the first big sale, but only three weeks in, Summer Sale started.
We set the discount to 20%. The same as the launch discount. Otherwise it felt unfair to our early buyers.
The sale lasted for 11 days. There’s a first peak on Saturday (night in Europe, day in North America) as most people are online then. There’s a second peak on the last day of the sale because people tend to wait until the last day to be sure that games don’t get a higher discount, which they do when they get featured by Steam.
We didn’t get featured. So the increase in sales is caused by people actively looking for discounted games and notifications sent out to people with ibb & obb on their wish list.
During the summer sale we had an average daily revenue of $1550, compared to $870 in the week before.
Summer Sale (11 days):
1700 copies / $20,200 revenue
Steam decided not to feature us during Summer Sale, but offered to schedule us for a Daily Deal promotion. The Daily Deal gets you a small banner spot on the front page of Steam for one day. We went for a 50% discount and scheduled the promotion for July 23, roughly a month after Summer Sale had ended.
The Daily Deal actually lasts for two days. The first day you have the front page banner, the second day the banner is gone, but the discount is still valid. Probably to make sure all time zones have a fair chance of noticing the deal.
The month in between promotions we had an average daily revenue of $350. The first day of the deal we sold for $32,050. The second day, without the banner, still did $10,090.
That’s $43,140 in just two days.
Daily Deal (2 days):
6000 copies / $43,140 revenue
The next four months were quite unspectacular. No special promotions or features. It told us more about how our ‘default’ sales look like.
Sales gradually slowed down from a daily average of 31 copies / $440 to 17 / $220. Even though sales went down by 50% it felt quite stable and players still managed to find ibb & obb without additional visibility.
Slow months (4 months):
2800 copies / $39,500 revenue
Humble Weekly IndieCade Bundle
In October we were part of a pay-what-you-want bundle for the first time. This Humble Weekly bundle celebrated previous award winners and new nominees of the IndieCade festival. We liked the idea especially because our IndieCade nomination in 2008 was a big push for us to get the game in production.
The bundle featured seven games in total and to get ibb & obb you’d have pay more than the average, which ended up being surprisingly high at around $7.
That week around 22,000 bundles got sold at an average of $7 for a total of over $150,000. A part goes to Humble and to charity. The rest is divided among the developers. After taxes and payment fees this resulted in $12,945 for us.
Looking at our Steam activations that month, about 50% percent of the bundle buyers activated their Steam key for ibb & obb.
Humble Weekly Bundle (7 days):
22,000 copies (11,000 activated) / $12,945 revenue
At the end of the year two more Steam sales were scheduled. One at the end of November and the second starting December 18, covering the Christmas holiday. As there was only two weeks time between the two sales we kept the discount for both at 50%. We didn’t get featured in these sales either, but still revenue was up compared to normal days.
During the November sale we had a daily average of 175 copies / $1170.
The December sale showed a very similar result: 172 copies / $1130.
Holiday Sales (23 days):
4,000 copies / $26,500 revenue
Overall results for 2014
All revenue numbers mentioned above are gross Steam sales. Of that Steam takes 30%. Our 2014 net revenue is $148,000 + $12,000 (Humble Bundle Weekly) = $160,000.
This gets split between the different parties that produced the game. Sparpweed gets 41% of that. So of each dollar made on Steam around $0.28 goes to us. Sparpweed’s Steam revenue amounts to $65,000.
Simply put, being on sale brings in extra revenue.
We offered discounts during both Summer Sale and the Holiday Sales. We didn’t get featured, but still had an increase in revenue. And it did not seem to negatively influence our default sales.
It’s scary how revenue is so dependent on promotions. We could have easily not been offered a Daily Deal and have missed $30,000 net revenue. That’s almost 20% of our revenue so far. In two days.
If we ignore the first few launch weeks, as I’m not sure how much sales during launch are influenced by the discount, Steam front page visibility, press and others spreading the news, around 68% of our revenue is from special promotions.
In contrast to that it is quite reassuring to see a reasonable long tail. At the time of writing it’s mid February and without any promotions sales have been pretty consistent at around 25 copies per day. That’s slightly more than before the Holiday sales and it covers quite a bit of our monthly costs.
I wish the numbers were less dependent on promotions and it feels weird to have to join the discount circus to be able to survive. At the same time it’s comforting to see that every day people find out about our game, decide not to wait for discounts and just buy it. If sales don’t dry up and we manage to be in a few decent promotions we’ll be able to survive for another year working on new games. In the end that’s all we really want.
66% of the Steam units sold are the double pack version selling at $13.99 (single pack is $11.99).
Roughly 22,000 people have ibb & obb on their Steam wish list.
The Steam version is Windows only. We’ll release Linux and Mac versions this year.
ibb & obb is also available on PlayStation3. We can’t disclose those numbers.
by Richard Boeser