By: Adrian Bardan | 3/1/17
Hello, fans and fellow indie devs!
My game Grim Dragons has been on Steam’s Early Access for 1 month. In this post I’ll talk about what I learned about having a game in Early Access so far and how much revenue I earned in month one of Early Access.
There are plenty of post mortems published from games released in previous years. Now, we’re in 2017 and the landscape of the Steam market keeps changing. The amount of games getting Greenlit and released on Steam is growing exponentially.
Plenty of devs complain about the Indiepocalypse these days. And stats published for games released between 2012 to 2015 are probably not an accurate representation of what you should expect for your releases anymore. It’s certainly not in my case… So, here is specific info about my Early Access game: Grim Dragons.
Note to devs: when comparing my experience to yours, it’s important to understand both the state of the market and the maturity of your company. This is my first game. 95% of the game I make by myself. I had no existing community or attention before release. I’m learning a lot of things for the first time. I’m sure I’m making plenty of mistakes and doing some things all out of order. But, there’s no textbook about indie dev and publishing a game on Steam. If there was, I would have followed it and be making some real income: Four Figures Baby! $,$$$...
So far, I’ve been working on Grim Dragons for 1.5 years. The game is about 25% complete. (The rest of the game should be completed this year.) This means that the Early Access release was less than half baked… and the resulting revenues were quite underwhelming. So, why did I even do it if it was half-baked? Because I didn't have any prior experience of my own. I needed to get experience and exposure to the release process and find out what my initial stats would be. Instead of speculation, I now have real data and something to improve.
Without further ado, the stats for month 1 on Steam were:
Some sites were also gracious to help me promote with 2 contests and 1 giveaway. This resulted in an increased community.
Contest #1 results:
Contest #2 results: Around 300 new likes on Facebook
Orlygift giveaway results: 2300 new likes on Facebook.
I also ended up with 926 twitter followers from these promos. I never even use twitter. I'd better change that, ASAP! (... now that I have an audience there too!) :P
First off, thank you much to everyone that is supportive of this game! It's my first commercial game and there are already some people that really love it! This is awesome motivation for me to continue.
During this month, I found that Steam’s own promotion system is pretty cool. There's a lot of organic Steam traffic that I wouldn't get otherwise. For people completely new to selling their game, it's pretty encouraging that Steam offers some kind of visibility, where other online stores (like mobile stores) wouldn't. However, with my limited knowledge about marketing, I also feel like I'm not maximizing the promos Steam gives. I'm learning that this should be done by stacking multiple promotions together. Basically, build relationships with various promoters and market influencers and attempt to get a larger wave of attention during key release milestones. I'll have to do that in the future.
While these initial revenues are insignificant for 1.5 years of work, this is more than the $0 I had before. I'll have to figure out how to increase this in parallel to actually finishing the game. This also serves as a reminder why proper bootstrapping is key for any new business where most challenges will be completely new ones, and the hardest thing to learn is how to actually make income!