A new report from No More Robots’ Mike Rose says that indie devs need to charge more for their games, and that building communities around them while getting a better understanding of why people might choose to buy a game in the first place could help to turn things around.
The ‘things’ in question, which paint a grim picture of indie games sales in 2019, are detailed in Rose’s new report, “How well are PC games selling in 2019?” – not very well, he claims.
Covering 900-ish Steam sales from July 5th to August 6th this year, an “average game” sold 70% less than in 2018. Rose says this is in large part to growth in the market and subscription services, resulting in a 47% fall in revenue.
“The average, at least semi-marketed game on Steam currently makes roughly $16,000 revenue (across 1,500 units) in its first year on sale,” Rose wrote. “Games released in 2019, are making around half as much money as games released in 2018. Developers are pricing their games too low – higher prices are, on average, resulting in better sales, and much better revenues.
“It’s tricky to pin down exactly why this is happening, but: the average developer is pricing their game lower, which definitely isn’t helping them. You could argue more people are playing free games like Fortnite, LoL, and Apex Legends. The number of games coming out is still rising month by month, subscription services could be eroding perception of value in games, and player backlogs are filling up thanks in part to these services.”
Rose firmly encourages indie devs to have conviction in their game’s value going forward.
“Price your game appropriately!” Rose says. “Going for a lower price does not increase sales. Your game is worth more than you believe. Please stop thinking that your game is going to sell itself. Have a marketing plan, otherwise no-one will hear about your game.”
The full report is very much worth your time, and details the all the parameters Rose used to come to his conclusions.
Wireframe #22 is out now