May 12, 2012

Fruits of labour

It's about a year we released our Family Farm (April 2011). We spent a good portion of the last year bug fixing, porting, supporting, localizing, shipping to portals and publishers, etc. It was an unexpected amount of work. We had also started working on Android and iOS port, which turned to be rather a brand new title and no longer a simple 'port'. Maybe we will regret this decision soon as we see the sheer amount of work ahead of us. I will share details about the new title soon...

Party at Anifilm festival was a blast! :)

This week we received Czech Game of the Year 2011 award from our national game developer association in 'The Best Game in Czech Language' category. I had a traditional postmortem presentation on the same event (GameDay at Anifilm 03 festival) and I think it's the right time to sum up results of our work and share some numbers with you...

Project summary:
Budget submitted to MEDIA Programme (47% funding): 51 532 EUR
Units sold to date (all channels): 20 000+
Total installs (incl. demo and illegal): 220 000+ 
Boxed release: Iceberg Interactive, Rondomedia, IQ Publishing, Legacy Interactive (TBA)
Portals: Gamers Gate, Impulse, Desura, D2D, Mac App Store, Ubuntu SW Centre and others
Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux


So far we have been able to recoup our investment against the final budget. In terms of profitability we are not a huge success, but some channels are still providing us with revenue. Mac App Store is good, our dedicated website is getting stable traffic in a few hundreds per day, some portals are doing OK too. Demo conversion ratio on our website is 4,4% which is nice for only one worldwide payment method (PayPal). Mac App Store and our website drive most of the revenue in online distribution (about 80% for 2011). We were featured and spent a short time in top 20. I think the problem with download portals like Gamers Gate, Impulse, D2D, etc. is in a more hard-core oriented audience and fact that we were featured only in a few cases. We are not a typical casual game either so this was not the best marketing strategy. Working with publishers on box releases was mostly smooth as we just delivered finished product and they packaged it. PC market is nowdays viable only in some territories. Advances had provided us with some liquidity at the end of development. We were aware of the fact that we are rather a long tail title than long-awaited indie hit, so hopefully it would work for us (or at least with the next title ;). 


We are supporting all major PC OSs with our own code base. OGRE3D and other libraries help in platform independence, but if you are using C++, it's your responsibility, if the app works right on even various versions of OS. OS X has some incompatibilities, we needed to use different sound lib for 64 bit Linux, Linux distros, etc. Speaking about headaches... I will not pick any platform, but everyone knows how messy X Window system is. Writing such glue code and building packages takes lots of time if you are not experienced on the platform. If we were excluding Mac App Store, Linux port would be second in terms of revenue. Only a few customers were purchasing for the Mac and it would nearly not justify the effort. ROI of Linux port is positive because this community has found us. Ubuntu SW Centre is new and had some glitches. It looks promising, but sales are lower than expected. Regular Linux users probably don't spend on content much, which contradicts with generosity seen with pay-what-you-want bundles.

OS market share by website downloads

Here is OS share according to our website downloads. If you buy from us, you get all platforms bundle so I couldn't make a chart based on sales. Mac could be little skewed by App Store link, but this sample is better than overall view. Portals and publishers usually deliver only Windows or Windows/Mac games which would portray Linux as marginal. 


We are not using any DRM, but monitor play sessions when you play connected and collect this data. Because of various releases and languages it's possible to discover which sessions came from pirated copies. There are regions with almost no piracy like German speaking countries, where difference between our data and publisher's sales report is lower than statistical error (need to account more installs per copy, not everyone is connected, etc.). Overall piracy rate is cca 90%. Russia and Asia countries were a sort of 'one copy' regions because of public file sharing services on the web. People are even lazy to search for torrents. Ironically, these services are solving the discovery problem. Game industry is heading to Free2Play anyway and no wonder why.

Unofficial box on file sharing service in Russia


That's it. To celebrate the award we run a 85% sale for a week on our website and Mac App Store. You can pick up the game for 1.99 Euro coins and even less on App Store.
Offer ends May 18th