Commercial game in a month, first results

3 days ago, Lost Potato was released.

A game that was made in 1 month with a $400 budget.

I told you in a previous email that I would judge the success of this project based on two variables:

  1. The direct net revenue I’ll get from it (after Steam’s cut) over its lifetime: I’ll consider it a failure if it doesn’t even cover the costs of making it (< $400), a moderate success if I manage to recoup Steam’s fee (> $1000) and a great success if it nets me more than $2000.
  2. The percentage of positive reviews (less than 80% would mean the game needs more work, less than 70% would be really bad)

How are we doing there?

As of today, the game has sold 143 copies for a Steam revenue of $294.

Do note that this is not net revenue since Steam still needs to take its cut. (and I’ll need to pay taxes / bank fees on that money)

As far as reviews go, we’re currently at 17 reviews with a 100% positive score.

So, is it a success or a failure?

It’s still too early to make any conclusions. But we can already say a few things:

  • We’ve avoided the worst case scenario, which would have been a bad / buggy game with a bad review score.
  • I’m pretty sure the game sales will eventually at least cover the costs of making it. It means the project will likely fall somewhere around the moderate success category. 

Keep in mind the numbers I mentioned earlier are amounts earned over the game’s lifetime.

From now on, Lost Potato requires no more work except for the occasional patch and tasks like porting it to other platforms / stores.

Am I happy with those first results?

Well, considering that my first game sold around 12 copies in the first day and 24 copies in the first month…

This is a pretty big improvement. 

It shows that it really does get easier over time as you grow your audience, skills and reputation.

There are also a lot of secondary benefits I got from making this game: visibility for my other game, experience gained, improvements of my processes and tools etc.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with those initial results. 

I would say this has been a successful experiment no matter how many copies it sells from here on out.

What will I do now?

This experiment has really shown me the importance of having access to an audience that’s ready to buy if you want to have a successful launch.

When you’re sending emails to influencers, you’re basically trying to borrow their audience.

This can absolutely be a good strategy. 

In fact, I believe the relationships I cultivated over the past months with content creators are the sole reason Lost Potato didn’t get completely ignored on launch.

But there’s a big issue here…

…you don’t really have any control over it. 

Ultimately, they choose whether to make a video or not and when to publish it.

Same thing with using reddit or similar social media platforms. 

If your launch post goes viral, you’ll get a bunch of views. If not, you’re toast.

What’s the solution?

Building your own audience. 

This is the only reliable way to get eyes on your games when you need them.

And you don’t need millions of people. 

Just having a few hundreds of dedicated fans of your work can make a HUGE difference.

They’re the players who’ll push your game above the noise when you launch it.

They’re the ones who’ll leave reviews on day one and get you on the front page of Steam.

Anyway, that’s what I intend to focus on these next weeks and months.

I’m still not sure what that’ll look like though. But I’m pretty excited about it!