For me, setting goals has always been vital to measuring success and having something to constantly work towards. Having massive long-term bigger picture goals on the horizon is always useful, but it’s also critical to set smaller short-term goals that are closer within reach.
Nothing I’ve ever done or created has been a 100% runaway success out of the starting gates. But by amassing small wins and building momentum over time, I’ve always been able to eventually get to where I wanted to be, both professionally and creatively, through hard work and sheer determination. Now that my latest game Missile Cards is out on iOS and seems to be doing pretty well-er-ish, it’s a good time to bring back my original goal for this project: The Quest To Break Even
LOOK I made a janky info-graphic! Wheee! It’s not the prettiest thing (actually it’s kind of awful looking, hah).
THE QUEST TO BREAK EVEN (PART II)
I’ve blogged at length about how Missile Cards was originally designed to be a short project to minimize risk and hit the finish line quickly while making something neat I could be proud of. My original goal with the Steam launch was to sell 5000 copies, which (at the $4.99 Steam price) would have basically paid for the six months of time it took to develop and launch the game.
That, as you may also recall, didn’t happen. I sold less than 300 copies in the first month (though we’re now closer to almost 500 copies sold on Steam several months out, so…woo?!)
The newly launched iOS version of Missile Cards, on the other hand, has been doing PRETTY DARN WELL. So far, at least. In roughly four days, I’ve sold over 2,000 copies. Now we’re talking, right? WOO!
Getting positive review coverage and landing a much-coveted slot in the App Store feature lineup has been GREAT. Checking the numbers today (sales data is a day behind in the store backend), I’m starting to see the positive impact of Friday’s feature, and I’m REALLY hoping this continues into next week.
Things are going great, but I’m not out of the frying pan just yet.
BY THE SKIN OF MY TEETH (or 8,000 sales)
My quest to “break even” on development, if I’m being honest, is really only the first hurdle to reaching my long-term goals. Missile Cards may not ever earn enough to let me shift gears and make my next few games on a paid FT basis (that’d be ideal), but I’m hoping that it can at least pay me back for the time I took to make it.
So now that the game is actually selling on iOS, I’m back on the saddle of my quest to pay for the game’s six month dev cycle (not including an added month or so to port the iOS version and orchestrate this launch craziness).
At the lower $2.99 price point, I need to hit 8,000 sales to break even.
That sounds like a lot of sales (and a lot of money if you do the math), but in reality — I get $2 per copy sold, roughly, and after taxes (33 ish percent), my actual take home put-it-in-the-bank from 8,000 copies sold technically wouldn’t even knock out the smallest chunk of debt I’ve got right now, much less allow me to work on Missile Cards updates or my next games on a paid basis.
But it’d make a good dent in it, so that’s what I’m aiming for right now.
To REALLY start to be in a good spot where I can knock out some serious bills, get caught up, and finally be able to carve out paid time making games, I’d have to sell closer to 20-30,000 copies. Which…is possible, but going to be a challenge even with this good initial momentum.
WHY SETTING GOALS IS KEY
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Why should you care? I’m not sure, other than it gives me something tangible, a target to shoot for. Whether you’re interested in cheering me on and helping me succeed or are just curious to grab some popcorn, pull up a chair, and see what happens next, this puts some visibility (and a nice reality check) to what this process is REALLY like for a small indie developer struggling to get traction in the industry while juggling debt, a day job, and the ups and downs of the creative life.
So. That’s where I’m at! Optimistic, but still anxious, determined, and in need of any support I can get. I realize that’s asking a lot, but folks who know me, know that I’m more than happy to pay it forward and help others as I’m able to. That’s been a core part of my professional career over the past 15 years and something I genuinely enjoy doing. It’s also why I’ve been so transparent throughout this messy, challenging process.
And hey, I got to make an info-graphic, right? Wasn’t that fun?
Top 3 ways to help me out right now if you want to (the TL:DR version):
- Buy the game
- If you dig it, please leave an App Store review
- Tell your peeps and maybe spread the link around on social media if you can!
Here’s the link, BTW:
Thanks again! Appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement this past week (and going forward). It’s been a wild, exciting, and challenging month, and there’s still a lot of work to do ahead.
Cheers and have a great (and safe) July 4 holidays!