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Average sales...

07-26-2009, 01:10 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 9
Average sales...

I was wondering if some devs with AppStore experience could discuss average sales made on their iPhone games? Nothing too specific, just a general average based on experience.

For all questions below, let's assume "the game" that is referred to is a nicely polished game like Zombieville.

For example, we all know that a largely successful game can sell a million plus copies, but what about a game that isn't incredibly successful? What if your game is a complete flop? Approx. how many copies can you expect to sell?

With all the iPhone/iPod Touch owners browsing the AppStore, I would think it would be difficult for a game to sell fewer than 2,000-3,000 copies (unless it looks horrible or has a bad review average). How close to or far from the truth am I on that? Would an app that sells ~5,000 copies be considered a failure? A marginal success?

If a dev had to pay licensing fees or had to invest $1,000 or $2,000 or even $3,000 into their game (for whatever reason), would that be a huge risk? If you made a polished and fun game, with clean graphics/animation that was well received by reviewers, how confident would you be that you would make your money back or turn a profit?

Sorry for the long-winded post, this is just a topic that I've been interested in since the dawn of the AppStore
07-26-2009, 02:30 PM
#2
Somewhere between 0 and a million. Really, it varies so much from game to game, there's no way you can say "You can expect to earn x dollars." Lots of games earn little or nothing. Some of those are nicely polished. It all just depends. It's actually very easy, in fact typical, to sell fewer than 2-3 thousand. I guess you could say that's what you should expect, but you never know. My sales apparently put me in the top 3% (I think 5K sales would be in the top 5%), but I never would have predicted that. How well a game is reviewed has little bearing on sales.

--Eric

Realmaze3D on the App Store
Realmaze3Free: 3 free mazes (a taste of Realmaze3D)

Last edited by Eric5h5; 07-26-2009 at 02:32 PM.

07-26-2009, 02:55 PM
#3
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Boston, mass
Posts: 39
Quite a bit less than 2000 is pretty normal, actually. Unless you get reviewed here or featured by apple, expect to sell a few hundred copies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glomgold View Post
I was wondering if some devs with AppStore experience could discuss average sales made on their iPhone games? Nothing too specific, just a general average based on experience.

For all questions below, let's assume "the game" that is referred to is a nicely polished game like Zombieville.

For example, we all know that a largely successful game can sell a million plus copies, but what about a game that isn't incredibly successful? What if your game is a complete flop? Approx. how many copies can you expect to sell?

With all the iPhone/iPod Touch owners browsing the AppStore, I would think it would be difficult for a game to sell fewer than 2,000-3,000 copies (unless it looks horrible or has a bad review average). How close to or far from the truth am I on that? Would an app that sells ~5,000 copies be considered a failure? A marginal success?

If a dev had to pay licensing fees or had to invest $1,000 or $2,000 or even $3,000 into their game (for whatever reason), would that be a huge risk? If you made a polished and fun game, with clean graphics/animation that was well received by reviewers, how confident would you be that you would make your money back or turn a profit?

Sorry for the long-winded post, this is just a topic that I've been interested in since the dawn of the AppStore

__________________________________
Splat; shoot stuff and make art, what more could you ask for? Currently sporting a 4.78 rating in the app store!
07-26-2009, 02:57 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 546
My game, Tides of War, sold about 500 copies with a 3-3.5 star rating. I didn't do a whole lot of advertising, it was never featured anywhere, and it probably could have used a bit more polish. Game launched at .99 and stayed there.

I think my figure is probably average for a lot of games that don't hit it big. Because of how Apple pays you (must get over 250 sales in each territory to get any money from that territory), I only ever got paid for the US, which gave me like $190 (after Apple tax). Not really worth it in terms of money, but it was a fun project.
07-26-2009, 03:01 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
You could try searching on google for iphone game sales.

This is a good source of data points to start.

http://cavalcadegames.com/blog/iphon...p-1st-half-09/
07-26-2009, 03:23 PM
#6
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Posts: 106
$2 a day on average, trending towards $0 per day the last month or so. I've sold about $300 worth since February. Monthly updates are the only exposure I get that drives sales, but even then it's only 25-30 copies in the few days around an update - and that window of sales is getting smaller each month, because the volume of app submissions is just out of control. Once I get bumped off that recent releases front page, I cease to exist. Also, people avoid my game like the plague Damaged goods I guess.

Air Master 3D - Retro 3D Air Combat (App Store & Lite Version)
Straight Aces - Puzzle Poker (App Store & Free Version)
07-26-2009, 03:34 PM
#7
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Boston, mass
Posts: 39
also, apple has started alphabetizing the new release list, so unless your game starts with the letter a it never appears at the top of the list, and can actually start on the second or third page now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexN View Post
$2 a day on average, trending towards $0 per day the last month or so. I've sold about $300 worth since February. Monthly updates are the only exposure I get that drives sales, but even then it's only 25-30 copies in the few days around an update - and that window of sales is getting smaller each month, because the volume of app submissions is just out of control. Once I get bumped off that recent releases front page, I cease to exist. Also, people avoid my game like the plague Damaged goods I guess.

__________________________________
Splat; shoot stuff and make art, what more could you ask for? Currently sporting a 4.78 rating in the app store!
07-26-2009, 05:35 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glomgold View Post
Would an app that sells ~5,000 copies be considered a failure? A marginal success?
It depends on what you're expecting to get out of it, and how well your previous apps did. I'd imagine 95% of the devs would kill for 5,000 copies, but the other 5% would consider it a complete and utter failure to sell so few.
07-26-2009, 05:56 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little White Bear Studios View Post
It depends on what you're expecting to get out of it, and how well your previous apps did. I'd imagine 95% of the devs would kill for 5,000 copies, but the other 5% would consider it a complete and utter failure to sell so few.
There was a talk on iPhone game sales stats at the GDC (think it was one of the independent game festival talks). They mentioned the same numbers: 95% of the games stay below 5000 downloads (or was it even 5000$?). With Radio Flare we barely made it above 5000 (but we did), though we got featured, reviewed, nominated for the IGF etc. OTOH it's still selling. It's too early to say anything about Zombies vs. Sheep.

But I have to agree: It is very hard to predict sales. You possibly shouldn't rely to much on the sales of a single title. At least that's what we're aiming for.

formerly studio radiolaris, now Broken Rules. Follow me on twitter: twitter/@martinpi

ON THE IPAD: Radio Flare REDUX HD & Globetrotters
ON Mac App Store, Steam & WiiWare: And Yet It Moves
07-26-2009, 06:19 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by martinpi View Post
But I have to agree: It is very hard to predict sales. You possibly shouldn't rely to much on the sales of a single title. At least that's what we're aiming for.
Exactly. Anyone with the plan of retiring on one app is going to be very disappointed. I only expect an app to sell for two months, and then assume its days are over. Luckily, I've gone past that mark on all my apps so far, but I'm still going in with that assumption on new apps.