Algunas formas de ganar dinero de forma Indie

11 Jul

Para los que están fuera de la industria de videojuegos, muchas veces el empezar en la industria parece ser una tarea titanica, y se ademas se está planteando crear su proprio estudio, esta dificuldade parece que se multiplica por el infinito.

Pero esto no exactamente asi, y muchas veces empezar puede resultar mas facil, si se sabe por donde intentar, y se es el suficientemente seguro de lo que se quiere hacer, y de la forma por donde se puede empezar.

No hay formas correctas de hacerlo, pero una plataforma que parece ser un buen punto de inicio es …. No, no es la appstore y su milliones de applicaciones, pero mas bien la XBLIG, o se la Xbox Live Indie Games, y la PSN de Sony.

La plataforma independiente de Microsoft tiene dos ventajas: La primera es que no está massificada de juegos, y muchos de los que se pueden encontrar son muchas veces de calidad mediana; La segunda, es que existen muchos casos documentados de como pequeños estudios independientes consiguen hacer los numeros cuadrar al utilizar la XBLIG, lo que siempre es de grande ayuda para empezar. Existe una tercera ventaje, pero que no incluyo porque no depende exclusivamente del desarrollador pero mas bien de Microsoft también: Algunos juegos de exito de la XBLIG tubieron su momento de gloria y promovidos a la Xbox Live Arcade, un sitio donde muy pocos pueden entrar hoy sin un editor que promueva el juego.

Cual la diferencia entre la XBLIG y la PSN de Sony? La plataforma de Sony se divide en dos, los Minis, en que para desarrollar un juego no se necesita una consola, pero que está limitada a juegos hasta un tamaño de 100Mb. Para la PSN de la PS3 o PSP es necesario ser un desarrollador oficial de Sony y comprar los kits de desarrollo que puede ser caros. Con la XBLIG lo unico que se necesita es el XNA, un consola XBOX360 y una subscripción de 99$ al creator’s club.

🙂 Después se necesita un buen juego original y bien desarrollado.

Un ejemplo de un business case XBLIG puede ser encontrado el siguiente Link (Ingles) de un estudio independiente llamado Arkedo Studios, en la pagina de un site con mucha información de negocio sobre la industria de los videojuegos, y una fuente de referencias muy interesantes.

Arkedo Studios – XBLIG Sales

Posted on 31 December 2010

Arkedo Studios – XBLIG Sales

In the following article Arkedo Studios discuss the Xbox Live Indie Games service, the development and the sales.

The Costs

Each piece of the Arkedo series took approximately 4-6 weeks for a team of 2 guys (or girl, for 02-SWAP!). So depending on where you are located, cost of labor and such it can vary quite a lot, but let’s say that in France it was something around €10K in wages and taxes per Arkedo Series title. A little more for 03-PIXEL!, but you get the idea.

The Revenue

Here are the raw numbers:

01-JUMP, (launched 09/09, take that, Dreamcast 2!)
– Trials: 42,974
– Purchases: 4,990
– Purchase/Trial Ratio: 11.61%

02-SWAP, (launched 10/09)
– Trials: 20 278
– Purchases: 4 369
– Purchase/Trial Ratio: 21.55%

During September ’10 SWAP was featured for as a deal of the week for 80MSP instead of 240MSP. For that month these were the statistics:
– Trials: 3987
– Purchases: 2334
– Purchase/Trial Ratio: 58.54%

It sold more during this single week, when it was featured much higher in the dashboard, than rest of its lifetime combined. We got the same cut on sales as usual (70%), but as the game went from 240MSP to 8MSP our share was a third of what we usually get.

Also, half of the people who tried the game bought it during this period. It is very interesting to see such price elasticity when the game is showcased to a broader audience like that. But again, happy problem. The game was selling just a few units per week, being a year from launch and all, then it got ataste of XBLA.

03-PIXEL, (launched 11/09)
– Trials: 62 636
– Purchases: 11 432
– Purchase/Trial Ratio: 18.25 %

Revenue Earned

The Arkedo Series are priced 240 MS moints, which are approx $3, same in Euros (haha). Microsoft takes around 30% off the 240 MS Points, so 2 Eurodollars left!

But wait! If you are a non-US studio and your country has a tax treaty with the US, there is an additional minigame for you if you want: try and not pay taxes twice (once in the US, once in your own country).

If you don’t do this, another 30% is deducted from your royalties, so you have got a pretty good incentive to use the proposed workaround. It looks quite horrible (I… have to fill all these forms, call the IRS and enroll on something and maybe be wrong and then get US Tax Ninja fly to my home?) but in the end it’s a simple form, and the IRS is pretty friendly after all, at least when you call from abroad with a horrible French accent and you have blatantly no idea what you are talking about.

So Arkedo made between €1.50 – 2.00 per Arkedo Series. Approximately 20,000 Arkedo Series were sold on the Indie Games. So we made between €30K and €40K. ($40K to $50K USD). Profit!

The Continuation Of The Arkedo Series

The original plan was to create a fourth Arkedo Series title – 04-SLASH!, but has since been postponed sine die. We want to do it, and will — there will be soon some news about the Arkedo Series. No new Series yet, but new platforms to play them!

But we are on something else right now, it is taking all our time and mojo, and there is nothing on Earth we would rather do than what we are currently doing (more on this in a year I guess). Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

The XNA Experience

I’ll try and explain why using XNA for a small studio can be a smart move, even if the direct sales first look weak. Because you know, it’s important. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, PEOPLE LOVE YOU.

In a nutshell, it’s all about having your studio being noticed by gamers, and help it appear on the industry radar.

Back to the initial statement: The 3 Arkedo Series cost approx $50K altogether to make and XNA sales went approx. $50K combined. Costs and revenue are comparable in this example. So having 3 games on the Xbox, even on the Indie Games section (which must be less than 1% of the general traffic) does help you get noticed. Note that “noticed” does not necessarily mean “liked”, it just means more people will react to your game. Good or bad.

What the REAL winnings were

The first batch of Arkedo Series gave us a chance to:

– Get another paid deal with Microsoft Games Studios for the launch of Windows Phone 7, with OMG – Our Manic Game.
– To convince a very nice Japanese Publisher we could make their new installment for XBLA and PSN (that was pretty awesome, actually)
-To convince Intel that the Arkedo Series could be a nice addition to their AppUp platform (basically, an Appstore/Steam for PC notebooks, launching in France next week)
– To seriously consider being ported to PC in general. More in a in a few weeks!
– To seriously consider being ported to PSN, too. More in a in a (small) couple of months!
– To dramatically push our own -quite expensive- XBLA/PSN project. We are now finishing the “first third” phase for this project.

So in a nutshell, what looked like “only” $50K turned out in the end being a few hundred thousand eurodollars in indirect -yet closely related- sales, and built some hype around our current “big” game.

So thank you Indie Games on Xbox, thank you XNA, and more importantly, thank you A LOT to everyone who tried our games. There have been some rather grim times for us in 2009 (this badge was a bitch to get), but the rather consistent flow of incoming love mail we got helped us keep a big smile on our faces and just STFU and go back to work.

I really recommend XNA for everyone. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it allows you to have a new audience while getting some attention from the industry. It’s awesome. As soon as we can resume our Series, we will. Hopefully you’ll agree next year that we had to focus almost exclusively on our current “big” project.

Hopefully, a new game by us, done for others, will be revealed shortly now (we are just putting the final touch to the reference build right now, then there are ports planned for XBLA, PSN, and PC).


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