The initial sales figures are in for Legend of the Rune Lords and they look a little something like this:
Total trials and purchases from 6/11/2010 to 6/23/2010
Purchase/Trial Ratio: 17.94 %
In pretty chart form, the data looks like this:
These curves are pretty typical of most XBLIG games. New XBLIG start off with a high visibility placement on the New Arrivals section of the Xbox Marketplace (see the pic below) which coincides with relatively large initial numbers. As newer games come in, older titles are pushed off the graphical list until they end up in a slow-to-browse text-only list of titles. At that point, trial download counts drop dramatically as it now takes real dedication to find your game in the pile. Legend of the Rune Lords managed to stay on the New Arrivals list for about 5 days before it fell off the list and into the rabble. Looking at the Trials curve, you can almost see LotRL moving more and more towards the right end of the list everyday before falling away on the 17th.
The Sales chart follows a pattern similar to Trials with an ever-thinning long-tail. It’ll be interesting to see if, over the long-term, sales will eventually settle at some (small) number of consistent daily sales or if they’ll just waste away to zero.
So, at this point, my free ride is over. If I want to have a chance at breaking even on this project (I’m about 100 sales short of breaking even, although even that is with some creative book-keeping and paying myself nothing), I’ll have to roll up my sleeves and do some marketing. Wish me luck!
A few additional notes:
- The trailer for Legend of the Rune Lords showed up on GameTrailers.com’s frontpage on the 24th and has been viewed almost 1000 times. I’ll be anxious to get the sales figures for that day and see what sort of effect the exposure has had.
- I noticed that my conversion rate seems to be a tad higher than similarly performing XBLIG games. One potentially clever thing I did was to make my game extremely easy to buy. Almost anywhere during the trial mode, you can press the X button to bring up the purchase dialog and buy the game. My goal was that a player should be able to buy the game right at the moment he gets even an inkling that he wants to buy the game. A lot of games only allow you to purchase them at the title screen or, worse yet, rely on the 7 minute trial timer to prompt the player for a purchase. By the time a player returns to the title screen after playing, they may no longer be in a buying mood. Impulse purchasing is the name of the game.
- Also compared to similarly performing games, my trials numbers were a bit low. There are probably several causes for this, but one is almost definitely the boxart. Your game’s boxart is its first attempt to lure someone to download your game and give it a spin. As something I quickly threw together with the Gimp, the boxart of Legend of the Rune Lords is hardly high art. For future projects, getting a real graphic designer to take a swing at the boxart is almost a no-brainer. Even for a game like Legend of the Rune Lords, an additional 1000 trials brought in by better boxart would be worth at least $100 (assuming a ~15% conversion rate.)