Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - Mobile - PDA - RSS Headlines  RSS Headlines   Twitter  Twitter
Customize
User Settings
Styles:
LAN Parties
Upcoming one-time events:

Regularly scheduled events

Geneforge 4 Sales Figures

The Bottom Feeder: So Here's How Many Games I Sell is a post by Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software, who offers a frank discussion of their sales figures. He offers specifics on sales of Geneforge 4, saying this was "very much an average performer for us." He says the game earned $111,412 through last year, warning young developers: "Even the numbers you are about to see are difficult to attain." He offers further insights into the existence of an indie developer, offering a humorous perspective: "It's worthwhile at this point to go to the web site and look at the screenshots. Some of you might ask, 'Why would anyone pay money for a game that looks like that?' The answer is, 'I don't know, but they do'."

View
26 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 2 ] Older >

26. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 24, 2010, 03:40 Jerykk
 
If I drop Democracy 2 to $14.99 it sell less COPIES than at $19.95. I tried it,. it's a fact, with nothing else changing over the course of a price experiment.

Was this a consistent trend amongst all your games or all games in general? Everything I've seen says no.

1) People have limited money.
2) Games are not a necessary expense.
3) People have to choose between spending their money on games or on necessary expenses.
4) The cheaper a game is, the easier the choice is.

When games sell poorly, their price gets dropped. This is because, in general, things are more likely to sell when they are cheaper.

One could argue that the perceived value is more important than the actual price. Of course, when values are set by heavily-marketed games with AAA budgets, that doesn't bode well for indie games. Because of Geneforge's atrocious graphics, its perceived value is not $28 to most potential customers. It may still be a deep, engrossing game but you don't know that until you've played it. If it was priced at $5-15 dollars, that would match with its perceived value for most people.
 
Avatar 20715
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
25. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 23:47 Silicon Avatar
 
He actually had a discount sale a while back.

I doubt he saw a 3000% sales increase though.

Maybe he would see those numbers if he could have a sale AND get on Steam. Getting your game seen by a million people seems to be the key here. That's more in line with what you'd expect.

 
Avatar 18037
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
24. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 14:56 JohnnyRotten
 
Creston wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 13:44:
Steam has proven time and time again that people will buy a 5 dollar game on an absolute whim

I'm one of those - I bought the everquest 18 pack or whatever it was for $5 not because I thought I'd be playing the game anytime soon, but liked the thought of having it around for a rainy day.

I've tried the demo's of his games. Pretty cool. I'd buy em all for $5 each. Not $28 though.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
23. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 13:47 Creston
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 05:37:
Baldurs Gate 1 and the Infinity Engine showed how to do it properly too. It always befuddles me that Indy devs think RPG Maker style graphics are acceptable.

To be fair, BG1 had a metric FUCKTON of high talent artists working on it, because every single one of those screens had to be drawn. Those artists cost a lot of money.

RPG Maker graphics are far easier to develop.

Creston
 
Avatar 15604
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
22. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 13:44 Creston
 
Zyrxil wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 01:55:
#1 This article is one year old. March 17, 2009

#2 It's easy to armchair theorize, "Oh, sell it to me for $5, I promise you you'll triple your profits." He's a 1 man and 2 part timer operation, and if he lowers his price and it doesn't work, he's out $100k.

#3 He already addressed the price issue:
http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-many-games-i-sell-part-two.html

A lot of people have commented that I should lower the game's price to $10. The idea that this would increase my profits is, I feel, purest nonsense. Bearing in mind that the percentage cost of credit card processing increases as the price goes down, and, to make the same profits from Geneforge 4, I would have had to triple my sales. Triple! As in, go from a conversation rate of about 1.5% to almost 5%. This is just not realistic.

Or, to put it another way, Geneforge 4 was the game where we raised our prices to $28. Our sales did not go down from Geneforge 3 (which was $25). They went up. A lot. And Avernum 5 ($28) sold a lot more than Avernum 4 ($25).

The Indie games market seems, pricewise, to be on a full speed race to the bottom. I will deal with this in more depth in a later post, but take this one thing away: I charge a fair price. I write big, good games (with 30-40 hours of gameplay, easy), and they easily provide enough fun to more than justify the $28. I will not be shamed into charging less, not when my dollars and cents bottom line is telling me that it's working.


It's peculiar that he's talking about being "shamed" into lowering his price. Nobody is trying to shame the guy. If he feels his games are worth 500 dollars, then charge 500 dollars for them.

Here's the thing though. There have been plenty of indy game developers who started off selling their game for 20 bucks, and sold an x amount of numbers. Then they dropped the price to 5 or 10 bucks, and they sold VASTLY more numbers.

Steam has proven time and time again that people will buy a 5 dollar game on an absolute whim. There have been quite a few examples of games that made MORE MONEY when sold for less. Hell, if you want to make an analogy, Dungeons and Dragons online is making far better profits now that they've gone FREE TO PLAY.

This idea that "If I lower my price, I reduce my profits" is such old-school economics, and it's simply not true in a lot of cases.

In any case, why not try it? He's already made money off his games, so anything else is gravy. Drop the price on your games to 5 bucks, see how much they sell. I'd hazard a guess that he'd sell far more copies than he did at the 28 dollar price point.

Edit : cliffski makes a very apt point that this is partially because of the huge boost in publicity of Steam sales, and that without a huge ad campaign (basically), a small drop in price doesn't make a difference. I'm sure this is true.

However, why WOULDN'T you advertise the fact that you've dropped your price? If there's one thing that makes people buy shit, it's a sale. Black Friday is the ultimate example. People will buy crap they don't need, at inflated prices from a week before, just because they're being told it's a great deal.

In any case, hey, if the guy's happy with 110K in sales, more power to him. He doesn't SOUND very happy about it, though...


Creston

This comment was edited on Mar 23, 2010, 13:53.
 
Avatar 15604
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
21. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 13:13 Kxmode
 
cliffski wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 05:47:
People use the price as an 'anchor' to set expetctations for a product. This is why if you offer people wine in a blind test against an 'open' test where you try expensive wines against cheap (for example), you can trick people into actually thinking wine tastes better than it does, because ist expensive.

Video games should be marketed and sold like wine!
 
Avatar 18786
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
20. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 11:48 Silicon Avatar
 
Aganazer wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 08:46:
I would be willing to bet that even if they were $5, most of the people scoffing at the price and offering armchair advice as facts still wouldn't want to play it.

This.

I don't understand why people in this thread are so concerned with how many games Spiderweb sells. Obviously Jeff makes enough to make him happy and keep him going.

All I can get out of this thread is that a handful of people are saying that the graphics aren't good enough at any price and another handful of people are saying that they'd buy a copy for $5.

Maybe it works on Steam for casual games, but Jeff doesn't sell through Steam and he doesn't make casual games.

 
Avatar 18037
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
19. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 11:14  cliffski 
 
Prez wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 06:12:

A lot depends on how well known the property is to start with, and how well advertised the sale is. A Steam sale will always get my attention, while I'm sorry to say that I didn't even know about any sales for any of your games, Cliffski.

This is the factor that gets totally ignored. Steam sales generate huge boosts in revenue because they get HUGE publicity. Its not a matter of the price, as much as the eyeballs. If you do real, serious, genuine price experiments (I've done loads) then you don't announce them or trumpet them. You cahnage the price quietly and observe the effect. Otherwise the data is massively skewed by a boost in publicity.
Obviously if you are doing a big sale to get more attention, thats different, but in terms of deriving the optimum long term product price, you can't deduce that from short term sales.
 
http://www.positech.co.uk
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
18. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 10:18 Prez
 
Reading what I wrote in your quote made me realize that I am coming across more harsh and critical than I intended to. (That's what happens when you work nights and enjoy that lovely cocktail of stress and sleep deprivation... )

My original point was that I totally consider myself a potential fan of the series, but the games just don't have the look of $25 games. The graphics would be easier to swallow for me at a lower price point. I have a lot of respect for Jeff Vogel - I enjoyed his grumpy gamer column in Computer Games Magazine - and wish him the best in his endeavors.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
17. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 09:39 Verno
 
Prez wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 05:17:
I'm sorry - to say "my graphics are crap because I'm an indie" is a cop-out. Cliffski is a one man operation indie developer, and his games look infinitely better than the mess that I'm supposed to fork over $28 for from Spiderweb. You can sound all artsy and hip by saying things like "Gameplay is all that matters", but that's crap if you ask me. I have a hard time playing a game so ugly that it looks like something some first-year coder turded out during a meth binge, and it's impossible for me to see myself paying $28 bucks for something so ugly. I'm not a graphics whore - I still play X-COM and Syndicate for Pete's sake - but if you can't bother doing anything better than that, make text adventures. At least they don't make your eyes bleed.

There's something to be said for quality sprites actually. I can still enjoy 15 year old games from the SNES because they've aged a lot more gracefully than PSX or many older PC titles. $28 for a game isn't unreasonable and if you're basing the majority of your purchase decision on looks alone then obviously we're at an impasse here. I've played horrible looking Nintendo DS games that had more depth than the shiniest eye candy 20mil budget game at full AA and so on.
 
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Dark Souls 2
Watching: Korengal, Legends, Intruders
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
16. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 08:46 Aganazer
 
To all you guys bitching about $28, maybe you should consider that these games are better than you think they are. I would be willing to bet that even if they were $5, most of the people scoffing at the price and offering armchair advice as facts still wouldn't want to play it.

If you like deep, interesting, long RPG's then its not like we are drowning in options and $28 starts to look like a great deal. Knights of the Chalice, Eschalon, and Spiderweb's wonderful games are really all there is.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
15. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 06:12 Prez
 
If I drop Democracy 2 to $14.99 it sell less COPIES than at $19.95. I tried it,. it's a fact, with nothing else changing over the course of a price experiment.

Going back to the Valve data I mentioned (bear in mind, we are not talking specifically Valve games here, but many games that are available on Steam), Newell stated that small discounts did not account for any appreciable increases in revenue, while deep cuts (of the 50% variety) actually increased revenue. In L4D's case the increase in sales was 3000%!!

A lot depends on how well known the property is to start with, and how well advertised the sale is. A Steam sale will always get my attention, while I'm sorry to say that I didn't even know about any sales for any of your games, Cliffski.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
14. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 05:47  cliffski 
 
Jerykk wrote on Mar 23, 2010, 02:59:
I don't think that makes for much of a correlation. Charging more for your game doesn't make it sell more.

Actually it can do. Everyone assumes that all products sell in a simplistic way with a nice easy-to-grasp indifference curve for the customer, but that just isn't true. Sometimes low prices puts people off and high pricing attracts. If I drop Democracy 2 to $14.99 it sell less COPIES than at $19.95. I tried it,. it's a fact, with nothing else changing over the course of a price experiment.

People use the price as an 'anchor' to set expetctations for a product. This is why if you offer people wine in a blind test against an 'open' test where you try expensive wines against cheap (for example), you can trick people into actually thinking wine tastes better than it does, because ist expensive.
There have even been large scale, peer-reviewed experiments where making people taste a drink from a yellow can convinces them its more lemony...

Anyway, it is just NOT TRUE that dropping a price automatically raises revenue. It's true in many cases but not all. Jeff has been around decades, if anyone knows his exact market, it's him.
 
http://www.positech.co.uk
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
13. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 05:37 eRe4s3r
 
Baldurs Gate 1 and the Infinity Engine showed how to do it properly too. It always befuddles me that Indy devs think RPG Maker style graphics are acceptable.  
Avatar 54727
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
12. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 05:17 Prez
 
" It's easy to armchair theorize, "Oh, sell it to me for $5, I promise you you'll triple your profits." He's a 1 man and 2 part timer operation, and if he lowers his price and it doesn't work, he's out $100k."

It's not a theory from an armchair - it's a fact proven by hard data. Gabe Newell went into just how much more revenue he would bring in during sales, and used graphs to illustrate proportionality between the amount of discount and the amount of increase in revenue over the same period.

I'm sorry - to say "my graphics are crap because I'm an indie" is a cop-out. Cliffski is a one man operation indie developer, and his games look infinitely better than the mess that I'm supposed to fork over $28 for from Spiderweb. You can sound all artsy and hip by saying things like "Gameplay is all that matters", but that's crap if you ask me. I have a hard time playing a game so ugly that it looks like something some first-year coder turded out during a meth binge, and it's impossible for me to see myself paying $28 bucks for something so ugly. I'm not a graphics whore - I still play X-COM and Syndicate for Pete's sake - but if you can't bother doing anything better than that, make text adventures. At least they don't make your eyes bleed.

This comment was edited on Mar 23, 2010, 05:27.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
11. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 03:42 everyone
 
The middle ground would be putting some of his titles on-sale for a limited time, or permanently dropping the price on his older titles. Both strategies would most likely expand his fan base without too much impact on the sales of his full price products.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
10. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 03:32 D4rkKnight
 
The problem is that he reuses the same graphics from his games that came out 10 years ago, an overhaul is long overdue. I agree about the price, he's playing it safe so the games will never rise above what they are right now, but I guess he is happy with that.

My favorite was Avernum 1-3, I haven't touched the series since then. Once he merged Avernum with the Geneforge games, removing the tile movement, I lost all interest.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
9. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 02:59 Jerykk
 
Or, to put it another way, Geneforge 4 was the game where we raised our prices to $28. Our sales did not go down from Geneforge 3 (which was $25). They went up. A lot. And Avernum 5 ($28) sold a lot more than Avernum 4 ($25).

I don't think that makes for much of a correlation. Charging more for your game doesn't make it sell more. The later sequels sold more because the fanbases had grown. They bought the sequels in spite of the increased cost. However, to people who haven't played Geneforge 1-3 or Avernum 1-4, will raising the price make them more likely to do so?

Logic dictates that people are more likely to buy something when it is cheaper. That is why Steam sales are so successful and why piracy (free is the cheapest you can get) is so prominent these days. If Vogel lowered the prices of his games to $10-15, I don't think it would be too surprising to see his sales triple or more.

Big budget games will ALWAYS look better. I can't compete there, there's no hope, so I don't try very hard.

Nobody is going to compare an indie game to a big budget game. However, even amongst indie games, Geneforge and Avernum have awful graphics.
 
Avatar 20715
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
8. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 01:55 Zyrxil
 
#1 This article is one year old. March 17, 2009

#2 It's easy to armchair theorize, "Oh, sell it to me for $5, I promise you you'll triple your profits." He's a 1 man and 2 part timer operation, and if he lowers his price and it doesn't work, he's out $100k.

#3 He already addressed the price issue:
http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-many-games-i-sell-part-two.html

A lot of people have commented that I should lower the game's price to $10. The idea that this would increase my profits is, I feel, purest nonsense. Bearing in mind that the percentage cost of credit card processing increases as the price goes down, and, to make the same profits from Geneforge 4, I would have had to triple my sales. Triple! As in, go from a conversation rate of about 1.5% to almost 5%. This is just not realistic.

Or, to put it another way, Geneforge 4 was the game where we raised our prices to $28. Our sales did not go down from Geneforge 3 (which was $25). They went up. A lot. And Avernum 5 ($28) sold a lot more than Avernum 4 ($25).

The Indie games market seems, pricewise, to be on a full speed race to the bottom. I will deal with this in more depth in a later post, but take this one thing away: I charge a fair price. I write big, good games (with 30-40 hours of gameplay, easy), and they easily provide enough fun to more than justify the $28. I will not be shamed into charging less, not when my dollars and cents bottom line is telling me that it's working.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
7. Re: Geneforge 4 Sales Figures Mar 23, 2010, 00:36 Prez
 
I'd be willing to bet that they'd triple their profits after being on Steam at $5 a piece for a year.

"Even the numbers you are about to see are difficult to attain."

Of course they are, when you charge such high prices for a game with graphics from the mid '80's. I've always been interested in the series, but the games are way over-priced in my opinion.

This comment was edited on Mar 23, 2010, 00:42.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
26 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 2 ] Older >


footer

Blue's News logo