Mac App Store Sales Results from Hard Rock Racing

Discussion in 'Unity Gossip' started by Martin Schultz, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Martin Schultz

    Martin Schultz

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    I'd like to share my experiences and sales data of my latest game Hard Rock Racing on the Mac App Store.

    After a quite launch and nearly no sales the game got featured by Apple on the front page for one week and went up to #3 of all paid games in the US store.

    (Click on the screenshot for larger version)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    After that week with front page featuring the game went down to the front page of the games sub-page and at that time also received an own graphics badge. It seemed like a last-minute decision Apple made as I got the request for promotional art assets only 2 days before the game got featured on the games page.

    [​IMG]

    Now to the interesting part - sales data. I was quite astonished that a #3 game in the US (the most important market in terms of sales volume) does not make more sales than 743 on one day. Shocking! From the beginning of the Mac App Store (MAS) in january I knew from friend developers sales volumes of 3x and more of my sales and I would have expected that these numbers have grown, not sunken. Reason _might_ be that the overall sales volume on the MAS is currently quite low compared to the launch months. Will be interesting to see what effect OSX Lion will have on the overall usage of the Mac App Store once it comes out in july.

    Also, I think pricing could not have been the cause because otherwise it would have never gotten to #3. It might have received a bit more momentum to stay longer in the top if I would have lowered the price at that time, but I don't think the price was any issue.

    At least it shows that the MAS is far, really far away from sales volumes like we know it from the iOS store. But nevertheless a good and nice sales channel the MAS is anyways. A very positive thing is that the tail seems to flatten out way smoother and longer than it does on the iOS store.

    Oh, and in a few days the iPad 2 version of Hard Rock Racing comes out and I'm already curious how that curve will look like. The game will be free and uses IAP for unlocking more tracks. So stay tuned! :)
    (Update: The iPad 2 version is meanwhile available)

    (Click on the screenshot for larger version)
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  2. MikeHergaarden

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    Awesome, thanks for sharing Martin! Nice figures :)!
  3. hippocoder

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    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing :)
  4. JRavey

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    Thanks for sharing, I think 4,000 copies in that time frame is pretty good for the Mac App Store. The OSX App Store just isn't getting the promotion it needs from Apple, but I think soon it will be a race to the bottom like the iOS App Store and then they'll support as a matter of bulk transactions.
  5. sawfish

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    Congratulations, man! :)
  6. lbjorseth

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    Thanks for sharing! Im a bit surprised that the #3 spot in the US is not higher. Think maybe the "hype" when the MAS got launched helped the sales numbers the first months. Hope the OSX Lion will help pushing it a bit.
  7. JRavey

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    I'd like to add that as a hobbyist, I'd love those kind of sales. If this were my full time job, then I would not bet the house on the OSX App Store.
  8. Martin Schultz

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    Yepp, you nailed the point. Since beginning of this year I'm living from my games sales, so MAS as single publishing channel is a no-go. The key is to get your game out to multiple channels. Next week HRR starts also at MacGameStore.com. The iPad 2 version is coming out also quite soon and I plan to bring out more race games based on HRR, which are produced then quicker than the 3-4 months I worked on HRR. (post mortem coming in June issue of the Unity Creative Magazine btw!). A free web version of the game is being published in a few months on MTV's shockwave.com, Wooglie.com, Shockwave3d.com and other online portals. I'm also talking to some company about licensing the source of HRR, another income source. But not yet contracts signed and until then, hot air... :)

    If all of those channels work out, then the game was a success. Until today the numbers are ok, but did not cover my development costs so far.
  9. Jessy

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    Thanks very much for sharing.

    P.S. Emerald City Confidential is amazing, and I'd be honored to be featured with it. ;)
  10. GiusCo

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    Many thanks for sharing, Martin, really. And good luck for your decision to go all the way.

    The experience you are sharing with us help to put things frankly into perspective in so many ways: up to date data, single developer, one hot game licensed, good hype, widespread deployment, sensible comparation among vending channels.


    I think you already know that one other source of income may be acting as a contractor in the niche you are proficient already. You may also think about teaching, that is put up some unity course in your city and try expanding your structure.



    In every case, it is a very nice story and I hope you can reach the break even (and much more) very soon.
  11. benthroop

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    Martin - thanks a ton for sharing man.
  12. Jessy

    Jessy

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  13. ProjectOne

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    Thanks for sharing, hopefully it will keep growing from here.
  14. Yorick2

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    thanks for sharing
  15. Dreamora

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    Thanks for sharing Martin
  16. marty

    marty

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    Martin rules. Thanks for the insightful info!
  17. Brady

    Brady

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    Nice work, Martin! Ironically, I found this via MacRumors rather than the Unity forum. Great work. BTW, the game is very nice! I had to force myself to stop playing it. :)
  18. artrev

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    why the "peak oil" label?
  19. Martin Schultz

    Martin Schultz

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    Thanks for the nice words guys!

    Will be interesting to see if the Macrumors article makes a spike in the sales. I'll post it here! :)

    Perfect timing that the iPad 2 version of the game was released last night!!
    http://itunes.apple.com/en/app/hard-rock-racing/id444455003?mt=8

    @Jessy: Is Emerald City Confidential a game you made? Looks great!
  20. Eagle

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    Great work Martin! Makes me even more excited about developing with this engine~

    Eagle~
  21. NomadKing

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    Nice post Martin, interesting information. I think several of the comments on the Macrumours article touched on some of the reasons behind lower sales in comparisson to iOS, one of the main ones being the smaller user base in comparrison to iOS or PC markets. Another good point was about how people treat downloading content for their home/desktop system in comparisson to an iOS device - they seem to be more cautious when choosing what to download/install at home than on a mobile device.

    I agree with what you said about price, lowering it at the peak of your sales probably wouldn't have had much of an effect, not to meantion that a race-to-zero on the Mac App Store would probably be very bad for the market.

    Thanks for being so open about your numbers, it's very useful to see this kind of data :)
  22. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    Thanks for sharing the figure with us! :)

    I think you are doing very very well - 120 sales a day average at $5.99 if this keeps up for a whole year you are looking at $262,362 ! Oh, and minus the Apple tax - you get the net profit of $183,653.
  23. Martin Schultz

    Martin Schultz

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  24. Martin Schultz

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    hehe it won't stay like that. The tail will be at around 0-10 copies per day I guess. At least that is what my own data says so far and what I heard from other devs. And it is a 4.99, not 5.99, so already a dollar lost. ;-)
  25. dogzerx2

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    You are the man!

    Personally as I never sold anything I have no idea how real figures look like, haha. My biggest fear is that sales get to be just a flat zero, or perhaps, like...2 sales and that's it, y'know?

    You're very selfless for doing this, those figures are very interesting indeed, thanks!
  26. stimarco

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    Very interesting data. Thanks for that! The more hard information we get, the easier it is to make sound business judgements.

    I'm surprised that making $14K-ish in less than a month isn't considered a good thing given that these results appear to be US-only; it'll be interesting to see how sales vary in different territories, where the psychological pricing threshold levels can vary quite a bit. The EU is a bigger market than the US, so you could see quite a bit of money from there too. Add in all the other territories, and it's quite possible the game will earn out its costs and make a profit well within the year. Of course, much of this depends on how much localisation effort you're willing to put in, but not every country is averse to an English-only version. One reason for Angry Birds' success is because it relies very little on spoken and written text, making it very cheap and easy to localise. (It's the same reason you'll find "Mr. Bean" and "The Benny Hill Show" still broadcast worldwide, even in the most obscure countries: there's rarely any dialogue to translate!)

    Also, most countries are still in a recession and will take a while to drag themselves out of it, while others have cultural biases that can affect sales. For example, Greece and Ireland are pretty much bankrupt, with massive unemployment, so lots of spare time, but not much money to spend. Compare with the French, who have legally mandated shorter working hours, (39.5 / week, I think), so they also have quite a lot of free time, but also more money to spend. I'd expect good sales in France at $4.99, but next to nothing in the first two countries (not that Ireland is a huge market, but you get my point). So $4.99 may well be well beyond the limits of the impulse purchasing threshold for many countries at the moment.

    Also, considering the game's genre, I would guess that your target market will be about 30 years of age or younger. That includes an awful lot of students and school-kids, for whom $4.99 is actually a psychologically large amount of money and likely makes it difficult to justify as an impulse buy.

    Make entry to your game's world cheap enough that even a 10-year-old child can easily convince mater- or paterfamilias to let them buy it, and your sales should rise quite a lot. As you plan on having in-game purchases, this won't be your only source of revenue either, so the up-front hit should more than balance out. The trick, obviously, is finding that sweet spot. (I'd go for $1.79, or thereabouts.)
  27. hippocoder

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    $14k wouldn't be enough for me to survive on my own, no. But remember game dev is risky, if you make $200,000 you still can't spend anything because your next 10 games might not break even with cost of living.

    There is no security, so $14,000 looks "ok" but its really not if you are having to live and pay bills. Hopefully ipad2 version will sell well :)
  28. Pedro Afonso

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    you need $14k to live for a month?

    I live with $1k a month including for game development. 14k is a lot for me
  29. JRavey

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    14K is the peak of the revenue graph in this. As Martin has already said, it will decline over time and then turn into an occasional purchase. That's how these things work. You spend a lot of time making a project, then make most of the money in a short period of time. When it settles into 100 units per day, that is $500 on the Apple side and $350 per day for the developer at this price.

    Prior to be put on the featured list, he was moving 10 units per day, which is only about $35. You could probably live off of that if you can pay your bills and live on $1,000 per month AND the game continued to sell steadily.
  30. hippocoder

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    14k is the peak. in the end it'll be something like 20k for the year, or it could be 40k for the year. And what if all your next games bomb? then it works out very dangerous a sole living.

    After two years, it will look like 800 a month, could you survive it?
  31. GiusCo

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    Not everyone is here to afford the risk of releasing games.

    Many players want to be 3rd party providers and earn a tiny but reliable crust. Some others do not want to release games at all, simply aiming at a contractor role (programmers, modellers). Business is as hard as you can get.

    The accolade to Martin here is in the fact he is showing business for what it is: a way to recoup the investment and make a living. We are all learning his lesson for free. Monumental.
  32. Martin Schultz

    Martin Schultz

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    Well, may I ask you if you're living from making games? :) I do and also have a family to feed. 14 k sounds at first read a lot, but let me try to explain why it is not so much as you might think.

    First of, the sales data were global, but the charts were from the USA as this is the most important market in terms of sales volume. Now to the 14k$.

    I worked for a total of roughly 4 months on the game. So the game has not only to bring in the money I needed for the 4 month, it also needs to bring in future cash so that I can afford the development of the next game. So if you divide that by the months I spent on, it's not anymore such a huge amount.

    Further, this is money BEFORE taxes. If you deduct about 30-35% local income taxes (not the Apple cut). If we take 30% we suddenly talk about 9.800 $. Now, if you're a good business man you always put a but aside of your income for future investments. My dad always said: 33% aside for taxes, 33% for future investments (like hardware, software etc.) and 33% is for you to live. If you keep this method you always have enough money to survive and also keep growing your business.

    Even if I don't put aside the 33% for future investments, we talk about 9.800$ that is "for me", after taxes. Now, as I live in Germany (Euro Zone), the Dollar -> Euro conversion kicks in. That means by today's conversion rate you can roughly get 0.67 * the 9.800 $ in Euro, that means:

    6.566 Euro.

    For 4 months work.

    And for future investments.

    Not enough.

    That is the reason the game has to bring in a pile of cash more than it has today (it is meanwhile over 15k$ btw). You know now what I mean?


    This is wrong. I can prove from 45+ iOS games that the US is the biggest and most important market. Even the guys from Rovio (Peter Vesterbacka) said this for Angry Birds (I met Peter in Hamburg at the Casual Connect).

    This is true that a few countries struggle, but the price of the game was not a factor for this. Otherwise it would have never gotten up into the top 10. It would have struggled way below then.

    I agree that a few countries have low income, but I doubt this would be my customers anyway. If they are low on money, they usually don't have a Mac. Those are typical customers for the Web version of the game which will be released on a few major portals in some months. At least that is my experience and what the MTV guys told me (they own shockwave.com where I do publish).

    I decided against the race-to-bottom price of 0.99$. I don't think that a sustainable business can rely on 0.99$ prices. To make money with 1 dollar apps you need to get into the top 20 to receive any kind of recoup. On the Mac App Store this is possible, but with not so many sales at all, on iOS getting in the top 10 or 20 is... well... lottery. Mega damn hard. At least my experience.

    If HRR in the Mac App Store is going next week out of the 3 weeks promotion from Apple, it will settle somewhere at 5-25 copies per day. At 4.99$ a nice smooth income, at 0.99$ this would be next to nothing.

    You would be surprised what kind of people buy the game! :) I can tell you that the assumption is not correct. It is bought by all ages. I get a lot of mails btw. from "older" buyers, like dentists, Dads that buy for their kids, casual players and and and. All ages are in!

    I made an experiment with the iOS iPad 2 version of the game. It is free and uses In App Purchasing for unlocking more than the included 8 tracks. So far I can tell that the paid version runs way better (by an order of magnitude!).

    All this is of course my own and personal experience. You might have made other experiences. But I hope this explains a bit my decisions.

    Regards
    Martin
  33. ProjectOne

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    I think Martin made the right choices with his pricing with this specific title. And one can only learn from experience. The iPad2 free+InAppPurchases will be really interesting to see how it pans out... it can be hard at times to find the right spot between giving away too much (people do not feel like they need to purchase more content) and giving away too little... I hope all the best for Martin as he is trying to run a business and not just a low risk hobby where one can release for free or $0.99 and 'see what happens'.
  34. I am da bawss

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    I think $4.99 is a reasonable pricing for Mac App Store game. But on iPhone App Store it probably would seem unreasonable from consumer perspective because majority of the game are now at priced at $.99 to get any sort of sales, because the big name games are now price at same entry level point as the indie developers (Glu/Chillingo/Gameloft/EA) and the trend of racing to bottom continues .... now latest sales data says iphone games should be made "freemium" to get any sort of attention. Its a trend I think that needs to be watch and study carefully.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  35. rumblemonkey

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    Excellent, thanks so much for the post-mortem results, that's extremely helpful in terms of understanding what we're about to go through :)
  36. Padge

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    Out of curiosity, how did you market and promote your game? and is it only sold through the Mac App store?
  37. Martin Schultz

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    So far only sold through the MAS. Only promotion so far through Twitter and by Apple's promotion inside the MAS.

    @I am da Bawss: I've tried IAP for Hard Rock Racing on the iPad 2, but it went so terrible that I removed the game from sales and will re-release the game as 0.99$ paid version. Before I had in that you can buy 8 or 12 tracks (depending on race mode) for 0.99$, but I sold only 4 IAP's total for 4$ net. Whatever the reason was, it did not work for me for this game.
  38. Meltdown

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    Thanks for the info and sharing that with us Martin.
  39. Padge

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    Well Congratulations, It is very comforting to see the actual FACTS AND NUMBERS of a Unity games sales process.
  40. Martin Schultz

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    Here's some updated data showing now about 1 month of sales:

    (Click on the screenshot for larger version)
    [​IMG]
  41. Fidde

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    Thanks a bunch for sharing Martin, very interesting!
  42. Gigiwoo

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    Kudos for sharing btw. Very interesting to see your IOS results. Sorry that the IAP's didn't work.

    Gigiwoo.
  43. mas

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    Thanks for sharing Martin .. Really usefull info.