A detailed look at ibb & obb’s PC sales results for 2014


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)

daily revenue in USD, launch til end of year

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.

Launch

hourly revenue in USD, launch period

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)

Summer Sale

hourly revenue in USD, Summer Sale

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

Daily Deal

hourly revenue in USD, Daily Deal

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.
Nice.

Daily Deal (2 days):
6000 copies / $43,140 revenue

Slower months

daily revenue in USD, slow months

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

games in Humble Weekly Bundle: IndieCade 2

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

Holiday Sales

hourly revenue in USD, Holiday Sales

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


In total we sold 21,000 copies on Steam. That results in almost $212,000 gross revenue.

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.

Conclusion


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.

Side notes

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

  1. #1 by Jhony - February 12th, 2015 at 09:11

    Very interesting data. I would be included in the group that buy the game anyway it’s in promotion or not, and I think it’s because I already played the game in my cousin’s PS3 and liked it very much. Besides, I think the regular price is fair enough for such original and fun game. Maybe the people that buy the game just in promotion don’t even know the game, just buy it anyway because it’s cheap to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I’m a Mac/PS4 user so I guess I’ll have to wait for the Mac version. I don’t know the complexity of doing that, but if you did port the PS3 version to PS4, that would certainly be my preferred version to play with some friends =)

  2. #2 by Sjoerd - February 13th, 2015 at 04:09

    Thank you very much for sharing! This is very insightful and helpful for a lot of people in the industry. :)

  3. #3 by Jesse - February 13th, 2015 at 20:58

    I second Jhony!! PS4 port PLEASE!!!

  4. #4 by Daniel - February 15th, 2015 at 20:32

    As one that usually buys games only on discounts, my excuse is that I have already a long backlog and it’s hard to buy a game full price when I know there are already a few hundred waiting to be played. Unless I know I am going to play the game now, it makes more sense to buy it later, unless I think it’s an opportunity I cannot lose. In that topic, if a game I really wanted to play was to be removed from Steam/GoG/Places where I can buy it, I would probably buy it, even at full price, because I wouldn’t have the opportunity later.

  5. #5 by Timlagor - February 16th, 2015 at 00:40

    Very interesting. Brings up unanswerable questions though:
    - what would it look like if people didn’t have an expectation of discounts later?
    - how much is due to the discount and how much to the exposure?

    ..and some answerable ones:
    Did you consider the impact of discounts when you set your original price? Did you expect it to be such a huge effect? If you knew then what you know now would you have done otherwise?

    Also.. did this and the RPS link to it today produce another spike?

  6. #6 by admin - February 16th, 2015 at 01:40

    Hi Timlagor, I’m also curious about those unanswerable questions. What did surprise me was that revenue went up during all discounts also the ones were we didn’t get featured and therefor were not much more visible.

    We didn’t adjust the original price for future discounts. We wanted to keep the price quite low as this is our first game and we prefer more people playing the game and maybe getting to know our studio like that, than having maximum revenue per sale.

    I knew sales were very important, but didn’t expect them to weigh in so heavily. Which makes it more difficult for me to think we should try a next release without doing discounts.

    We haven’t had a spike in sales the last few days. It seems that especially a lot of other developers find it very useful, which was what I mostly wrote it for.

    Cheers
    ~
    Richard

  7. #7 by admin - February 16th, 2015 at 01:42

    As for a PS4 release. We haven’t decided on that yet. It’s tempting, but the engine we use is not suitable for PS4 so it would mean quite some work on the technical side.

    Currently we focus on getting the Mac and Linux versions ready.

    ~
    Richard

  8. #8 by smisk - February 16th, 2015 at 07:26

    Really interesting stuff! It’s so rare to see such concrete sales data about games, so it’s nice to see exactly how much money was made.
    What surprised me the most is that you guys only end up getting 28% of the revenue! But I assume some of that goes to other developers who contributed, and the composers/sound designers.
    Those sales numbers seem pretty solid for an indie game though, and I imagine you could see another spike when the mac/linux ports are released.

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