Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Thoughts about sales volume

When I was on holiday, i was flying over some big city, looking down at all the tens of thousands of buildings, and thinking  “This is just one city, in one state, in one country, in one part of the world, and yet if I could sell a game to just one person in every street in this city, I’d be doing much better than I am”.

Of course, it’s not as easy as that. But That’s how I think. I hear that Fable II sold 800,000 copies last month. That’s pretty awesome, and that’s at a higher price, and just one month. Surely overall, the game will shift 1.5 million copies, maybe 3 million in total. Equating it to copies of Kudos 2, it’s like maybe 5 million copies. (huge congrats to everyone I know back at LH working on that game btw)

Now obviously I haven’t sold 5 million copies, and obviously I only need to sell maybe half of one percent of Fables II’s sales to make the same ROI (which would be very nice) , given that it’s mainly just me. But even taking this into account, it occurs to me that it would be entirely feasible to sell double or four times the number of copies I’ve sold so far.

Some people assume I sell hardly any copies of my games. A lot of the people who admitted to piracy who emailed me gave me helpful hints on how to sell a few copies a month if I did X. Thanks guys! Some other people assume I sell a LOT more than I do. These tend to be people who see my games on sites like Stardock and yahoo, and assume all games on such platforms make people rich. My Mother is convinced I drive a Ferrari, because I gave her a boxed copy of one of my games. All things that get into shops make people rich according to her. (no they don’t).

So I’m curious. How many copies of Kudos 2 do you think I’ve sold so far? How many copies of Democracy 2? (It’s been out a year).

New monitor. Tempted, but why?

I haven’t treated myself to any geek purchases for as long as I can remember. i was waiting till I finished Kudos 2, and then combining that with my recently passed birthday, I think I can justify splashing out.

The thing is, I am a man of simple needs. The only things I want to buy are

  • A new house
  • A Prius
  • Maybe a new monitor

the first two are out of the question because they cost tons of money and I don’t have much, but the monitor is a possibility. The problem is, there really is nothing much wrong with my current one (a  19″ iiyama one)

So there is the option if buying a newer, bigger one, probably a 24″ widescreen one like a mate of mine got recently. This would mean a bigger screen res and desktop, which could in theory be handy for coding, and could in theory make games look mroe awesome. But Do I really NEED it? Is it not a bit gratuitous to buy one when I already have a working one sat here on my desk.

A new monitor is about £260 here. And it’s a business expense, and I’d claim the VAT back, so it’s slightly cheaper than that. On the one hand, it’s not a lot of money, on the other hand it’s profits from over 26 games!

Anyone here gone from a 19″ monitor to a 24″ widescreen one and gone OMFGZ! TEH AWESOME!?

talk me into/out of it…

82% of World Of Goo players are pirates?

According to World Of Goo makers 2DBoy:

And yet, despite this, I’ve been reading comments on the web where people are hurling abuse at them. These are likely from people who pirated the game anyway.

So these guys worked hard over 2 years (AFAIK) to make one of the best original indie games of the year, released it with a demo and no DRM at a good price, and then happened to mention in a comments thread once that 82% of the players stole their hard work, and yet they get insulted and abused for mentioning it.

I’m sick of the attitude of some PC Gamers. Carry on pirating if you insist, but don’t have the cheek to hurl abuse at the people you are stealing from. As usual for daring to suggest something be done about piracy, I got a load of sarcastic insults and abuse from internet trolls today too.

Seriously kids, grow up and get a job, then see how you feel when people take your work for free…


I’ve spent part of today tweaking the upsell for Kudos 2 today. The ‘Upsell’ is the efforts the demo makes to get you to buy the full copy. The original demo was pretty lacklustre in that there was a nag screen that had a default background with some screenshots from the game, and it basically said “please buy it”.

I figured I could do better than that, and in a flash of inspiration I replaced the default avatar on the upsell screen with the players actual avatar they used in the demo. Then, instead of the text saying ‘would your character have done well?” it uses their name, so it’s ‘would bill have done well?’ etc.

I also added a quote from a review of the game that was massively positive, to remind people how great the game is :D and I enclosed the upsell text in a nicer formatted white window so it looks much more polished.

Then I ditched the default, fixed screenshots and replaced them with 3 dynamic ones, where they constantly cycle through a total of 9 upsell screenshots, cross fading between them and thus adding some minor movement and animation (in some ways) to an otherwise boring upsell screen.

It won’t double conversion rates, but it can’t do any harm.

Also, I replied to an email about a potentially important deal for the game today. You have to make some pretty big guesses in my job. When people say “how much for the rights to X” you have to really stroke your chin and think about the right figure. At the end of the day, it’s a bit of a guess…