Monday, 3 October 2011

Proun sales data revealed: Proun is a big success! Pay What You Want is not!

When I launched Proun three months ago, I promised to release the numbers on how the Pay What You Want model would do. Not that many games are released as Pay What You Want, so a lot of people were curious to see how Proun would do!

This post is a big wall of text. Just skim through the tables and graphs if you feel too lazy to read my explanations and analysis... ;)

It is extremely rare for game developers to release their complete revenue statistics like this. Not many people outside the industry realize that this secrecy that is usually around sales is actually quite problematic. How can you know what the best platform for your game is, if everyone keeps their sales statistics a secret? For small indie companies, knowing where to release your game and for what price is incredibly valuable information! Contracts forbid telling what you sell on XBLA, PSN or Steam, but since Proun is only sold on my own website, I can actually give you this information for Proun!

Before I start with the statistics, though, let me start with something a reviewer wrote. I made Proun purely because I wanted to make something awesome, for the fun of creating games. Obviously, part of that fun is showing the game to people and hearing their reactions. This quote from the Eurogamer review (which scored Proun a 9) is so incredible, knowing that this is what someone thought after playing Proun is enough to make this whole project a tremendous success to me:

"Your role in the proceedings is as a visual conductor, commanding your own hypnosis, sucked into a maelstrom of motion quite unlike anything you've ever experienced."



Wow.

Incredible that they are really talking about my little game there!

So, let's get to the numbers:

Units sold per price point

Proun was sold as Pay What You Want, so people could set their own price. So what prices did paying folks choose?



The official minimum price to get the bonus track was $2, so the largest group of people chose the minimum. The other peaks are at $5 and $10, the obvious round numbers. But why is $6 also a peak? I checked the complete statistics, and it turns out that these people mostly also chose $5, but the shop system I used added taxes after typing the price, which is why a lot of $5 people ended up paying $6.

Since $10 or $2 is such a big difference in price, the peaks are actually quite different when we look at the total revenue per price point. Now $10 has the biggest peak, and even $20 pops up, despite only a small number of units there:



Finally, the big question: how many people chose not to pay anything? Unlike many other Pay What You Want games, I chose to actually make 'free' an official option on the home page and even offered a Torrent. As you can see here, way more people chose to get Proun for free than to pay:



The $0 price point here is people who used the same store as the paying folks but filled in $0. They didn't have to fill in there Credit Card details as a result. I cannot know the exact number of Torrent downloads, but since every install of the game contacted my server, I do know the total number of installs, so I can estimate how many people got the game from something other than my server.

As you can also see here, 5 people paid $30 or more. That is incredibly generous for this very small game and I thank them for that! The same of course goes for all the other people who paid me something for Proun: thank you very much! The game was also available for free, so this is pure generosity and niceness! Thank you! ^_^

Overview

So, let's add these numbers, shall we? Here is a single list of all the general numbers of Proun:



There are quite a few remarkable numbers here. The obvious one is my actual income from the game: €14,105. I count this in euros, because I live in the Netherlands, so that is the kind of money that I can actually spend.

I have not counted how many hours I actually worked on the game, but I estimate if I would have worked on it full-time, it would have taken me 9 months to make Proun. That makes an income of €1567 per month, which is definitely not high, but enough to live from. So if Proun were not made as a hobby project on the side, it would not have killed me. It would not have given me a good buffer for a future project either, though.

However, for a hobby project, this is an enormous amount of money. I already make a living through the games we make at Ronimo Games (like Swords & Soldiers and Awesomenauts), so any money I make through Proun is an extra. Getting €14,105 is one whopping big extra!

From revenue to actual income we go down from $23,043 to $19,947. Where did that money go? There are three groups here: transaction costs (paying with a Credit Card costs a fixed amount of money, for example), taxes (VAT) and the Fastspring fee. Fastspring is the company that manages the actual shop, transactions and downloads for Proun, so obviously they get some money for that as well. All together these make 13% of the revenue. This may sound like a lot, but this is actually very nice. I am not allowed to give any numbers, but let's just say that this is a very good score compared to most other downloadable platforms.

Proun featured a bonus track for those who paid for the game. However, there are quite a few more people who played that track than who paid, so that means that even this Pay What You Want game faced piracy. Not that much, though: 40.78%. This is really low in comparison to the 90% and higher that is supposedly common amongst PC games.

Those who paid, were willing to pay a nice amount though: on average they paid $5.23. That is a price I can totally agree with. Just don't mention that if free players are included, the average price plummets to $0.09...

Sales over time

Next up: is there a so-called long tale for Proun? At a first glance, it would seem like Proun sold all it could in the first few days and stopped after that:



The big drop on day three is because my server went down when so many people were playing Proun. Important lesson learned: always make sure you get a scalable server before launching a game! My new host for the website and highscores (Byte.nl) just scales to a more expensive plan if there is too much traffic. That is way better than the previous host (the really cheap and really lame Hosting2Go), which just closed down the site entirely when it got too much traffic...

Anyway, back to the long tail. The image above seems the move to $0 quickly, but this is actually not true. This graph shows the daily revenue after the initial peak:



As you can see, Proun actually keeps making a little bit of money every day. It seems to have dropped to an average of around $10 per day at the moment, which still makes for $300 per month. That is some nice money for an individual! Also, this blogpost you are reading now will probably generate some renewed interest in Proun, so writing this might generate some extra revenue as well. That alone would be a good reason to write this blogpost... ;)

Sound

There is one more money topic that needs discussing, and this money topic is called Arno Landsbergen. Arno made the sound effects for Proun. He also arranged, produced and generally improved the songs I wrote for Proun. Arno wants me to link to his Facebook when I mention him, but I think his solo album is awesome and since it is available online for free, more people should listen to it. So I am going to like to that instead: Dirty Rock (great free MP3 album!).

Arno is the only person besides myself who worked on the game, and obviously he got a slice of the pie as well. When Arno joined me to work on Proun, I had already been working on the game for five years and was not planning to do anything commercial with it. So Arno got on board just for the fun of it. However, we did sign a little contract that said that if Proun was ever going to generate any money, Arno was going to get 7% of it. So of the €14,105 that I made, €987 went to Arno. A nice bonus for something he did without expecting any money from it! :)

Also, Arno did a great job. He surprised me several times by going in a different direction than I expected, like adding lots of keys (pianos, organs, etc.) to the soundtrack. And each time the direction he chose was way better than what I had in mind, so to me this was one very fruitful collaboration!

Now what was this 7% we agreed to based on? As far as I know, in media 8% of the budget is usually spent on sound and music. I have no idea whether this is true, but this is a number I have heard from various sources. Since the songs had already been written by me, but still needed a lot of work, we settled on slightly less: 7%.

Why do I claim Pay What You Want was not a success?

The title of this blogpost sais that Pay What You Want did not do well for Proun. But didn't I make a lot of money with Proun? More than ten thousand euros, isn't that a lot of money? Yes and no. To me personally, Proun did incredibly well. That is a lot of money to make with a side-project, and since I get to keep most of it myself... wow! That's a lot! Thank you, everyone who paid for Proun!

However, over 250,000 people played Proun. Reviewers loved Proun and the game got lots and lots of media attention. Major PC gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun (gotta love that name) even wrote an extra post saying that even though they already covered Proun before, they just wanted to remind everyone once more that they should really be playing it: Public Service Announcement: Play Proun.

Through Ronimo and through my connections to indie developers all over the world, I know what kind of money a game that achieves that kind of success can make. If I would not have done the Pay What You Want model and would have done a fixed price on Steam instead, I think I may have made 5 to 10 times as much money. That is while even taking into consideration that without the Pay What You Want model, the game would have generated a lot less buzz and much fewer people would have played it. Of course, this is a "What if" scenario, so I can never know for sure. Yet I dare claim that for the amount of success Proun had, it made a very meagre amount of money.

So there you have it: to me personally, Proun is a tremendous success and made an enormous amount of money! But compared to what a game with this kind of success can make, it did pretty badly.

Lessons learned

So, tons of numbers, and what did I learn?

For starters, Pay What You Want is a tremendous marketing tool. The number of sites that wrote about it is incredible, and both gamers and press love it.

The second lesson I learned is that there are a couple of really good services available for managing payments and downloads. Plimus, BMT Micro and Fastspring all offer excelent services in these regards, and their fees are low enough percentages that it is worth it to use them. I used Fastspring and they did a great job. Even when the Proun website went down due to too much traffic, the Fastspring shop and download system always keps functioning. So no one who paid for the game had to wait for the crashed site to get back up to be able to download it!

And then to the big question: why did only 1.76% of the players pay for Proun? This is definitely not because of the quality, since both press and gamers were almost unanimously positive. The amount of content may have been a factor, though: Proun is a very small game, with only five tracks. IGN said it like this in its review:

"Despite being incredibly thin on content, this one-man indie side project is heart-pounding, euphoric, and very addictive."

Incredibly thin on content. That's true. There is no lesson to be learned for me here, though: Proun is a hobby project and making a lot more content on my own would have cost too much time and would have become a boring crunch. I made Proun for the fun of it. If I had known then what I know now, I would still not have made it any larger.

To seduce people to pay for Proun, I added a bonus track. I think the bonus track was a good idea, but I would have done this differently if I had known these numbers at launch.

I think the main reason why so few people chose to pay for Proun is this: the free version did not require a Credit Card transaction and was thus way easier to download.

People are lazy. Systems that remember your payment details and thus don't require you to fill in anything each time you buy something are tremendously successful. Think Amazon, think Steam.

So I think if I had set a minimum price of $1, way more people would have decided to pay a couple of dollars for Proun. Simply because they already had their Credit Card out for the $1 and figured the game was actually worth a bit more. Fewer people would have played Proun, but I think more people would have paid, making Proun a bigger succes financially. Note the emphasis on financially: my main goal was to get as many people as possible to play my game, and the scheme I used was definitely a good choice for that!

So from today on, I am starting a new experiment:



Proun is still Pay What You Want, though, just starting from $1 now. I realise that most of the buzz around Proun has disappeared now, but Proun is still making some money every day, so let's see whether this increases or decreases the revenue! Just like today, I will post the results of this experiment in a couple of months.

Other Pay What You Want games

This post is already way too long, so I am not going to do long comparison with other Pay What You Want games. Instead, I am just going to link to other articles that mention sales numbers of these kinds of models. I only found three similar games, and none of these are a 'regular' game being Pay What You Want at launch. They were either bundles, or short Pay What You Want sales months after launch, so none of these are really similar cases, in my opinion.



Conclusion

So, has Proun been a success? Yes it has! Proun was made as a hobby project, for the fun of making something unique and showing it to the world. It also made me quite a bit of money, but that is not what Proun is about. Proun is about my personal vision of just one way in which games can be more than what they already are. I am glad that the unique and innovative graphical style of Proun really worked for a lot of people. Many games these days look and feel the same, but Proun is part of class of games that does something different. (In this case graphics, but of course gameplay, narrative and sound are equally interesting.)

However, purely financially, I think Proun could have made way more money if it had been sold in a different way. Yet to me personally, it did make a lot of money!

Let me conclude this longest blogpost I have ever written with a quote from Ars Technica's review of Proun. This and other reactions to my game make me feel all warm inside.

"What's striking about Proun is how it makes you feel. The game is epic without being loud, it's sleek without being cold, and it's joyful without being cute. It's a happy game that's not afraid to bloody your nose if you're not paying attention. The tracks feel both expertly designed and effortless."

Thank you.


PS: another, later blogpost with sales data from after this post can be found here:
Proun's sales statistics after removing the free version

57 comments:

  1. I guess that no free downloads just increase the piracy... :/

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  2. I've played around with pay what you like a little. In terms of amounts paid, my numbers are similarly spread (more sales a roughly 2, 6 and 10 dollars). I set a minimum price of $1 though.

    Cheers
    Charlie

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  3. @Jirka

    We'll see if that is true in a few months. It's interesting that Proun checks the server even with free/pirated EXEs.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. You were really kind to share this valuable informations with us. Thank you! :)

    But honestly, I think removing the free version is not a good idea. I think you would lose the number-one benefit of pay what you want model, that is low piracy ratio.
    That's because, as jirka said, piracy is definitely going to increase this way.

    But it's just a personal opinion, of course :)

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  5. The game looks great, I definitely would have shelled out a few dollars if I could play it on my mac, however since this was only a hobby/ side-project I can understand why you didn't bother.

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  6. @Ologon

    If he currently has a high ratio of users playing for free, what does it matter if /some/ of that ratio turns to piracy and /some/ of it turns to a paying customer? He is still benefiting from switching the model.

    The increase in piracy will not affect his business negatively since they were people who were downloading it for free anyway. This just increases the chance that a person who might have downloaded it for free will give a dollar instead.

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  7. I chose the free torrent because there was no demo and I wanted to test the game before paying for it. (Then I never got around to actually trying it. Maybe I'll remember tomorrow.)

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  8. Thank you so much for releasing this information! One thing I would like to point out is that game downloads don't necessarily equate on a 1:1 basis to happy gamers. It's difficult to say whether you would have made more money with a fixed price model, but I think it's clear that any future games you make will have a broader interest because a quarter million people played Proun. I will be very interested in how you price in the future.

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  9. >Through Ronimo and through my connections to indie developers all over the world, I know what kind of money a game that achieves that kind of success can make. If I would not have done the Pay What You Want model and would have done a fixed price on Steam instead, I think I may have made 5 to 10 times as much money. That is while even taking into consideration that without the Pay What You Want model, the game would have generated a lot less buzz and much fewer people would have played it.

    I call bullshit. Plain and simple. You cannot say Proun would have even become any popular if it weren't available for free. It's infinitely more difficult to get someone to try a game they have to pay for (by credit card no less) than to get them to try a game they can get for free. You strongly base a conclusion on an unproven assumption, that Proun would have gotten a significant amount of attention if it wasn't free.

    I like the game (I was one of the people who paid for it), but I simply can't agree with such a conclusion. It's just like those people saying 'If there weren't any piracy, all of those people who pirated the game would've bought it instead! We lost a lot of money from piracy!' The effects of a game being free on its popularity is not to be underestimated. There's a reason the Freemium business model is so popular, you know.

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  10. If you're going with the pay what you want model, I'd stick with a minimum of just one penny. I know you make no money on that but to me personally, it feels like at a dollar, you're not willing to take a risk. It really is just a $1 game with a $2 special edition.

    At one penny, because I know you're taking a risk of not making anything, I won't hesitate to chip in more money. I won't give you less than $1 because that's where you at least make something after all the fees are taken out.

    At the same point, like you said, if the game is free I'd likely just go with that one because I just have to finish clicking a few links.

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  11. Congrats guy, you did it very well!

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  12. I've been watching the project for a while to see if a Linux port would surface. I'd pay $20 easily.

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  13. I doubt 250,000 people would have heard about Proun if there had not been the PWYW model. The total number of people playing the game would have dropped for sure. Even the total number of people paying for the game might have dropped: less people would have heard of your game, and remember some people paid to support the PWYW model too, which shows a great state of mind.

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  14. Thank you for sharing your data and your thoughts. Well done for remaining positive and for identifying your personal goals and focussing on how they were realised. It's human nature to wonder "what if", and this blog post is the healthiest public wondering I've read for a while.

    I'm sure you'll get more traffic/buzz and hopefully thanks for this open sharing.

    From a player, a fellow hobby developer and someone interested in marketing, thank you!

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  15. I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion that pay-what-you-want failed. The game is really small, and although it IS quite amazing at what it does, it doesn't feel like a huge value from the outset (until you play it anyway). I'm not saying it isn't worth paying for, or that you didn't get a ton of publicity, but it's impossible to predict how many payed sales you would have received. So basing any conclusion on that is shaky at best.

    I think your other conclusion is correct though. You DID make it too easy to download for free if you were actually trying to make money. You really had two events going at the same time. A pay-what-you-want sale, and a freebie download release. You should have made them gone through the pay to download dialog, but allowed them to select free. That would have leveled the playing field. But since you just provided a straight up link, most people are just going to click it and download a free game, even if they never play at all (which I suspect happened a great deal).

    I dunno.

    You are clearly a smart guy, and I really like proun. So I guess we can all agree that you did good.

    And thanks for the inspiration. I too plan to release my own side project someday and this information is completely invaluable to that end.

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  16. How much is worth your name, though? 250k people played *your* game. When you make your next game and state "From the makers of Proun!", how much do you think this will be worth?

    Just a thought.

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  17. Hi.

    1) I was living in a cave because this is the first time I heard about this game. And EVERYBODY know about it!

    2) Looks great. Want to pay and play.

    (this is where I get to the subject of this post...)

    3) To buy it, you HAVE to provide a lot of unneeded info. Name? Street Address? Postal Code? When the buyer pay with paypal, you don't even need to ask for the email address as paypal will ask and provide it for you. Just a paypal button would do for that method of payment.

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  18. What I meant was that it should be easier to buy it, not harder to get it for (almost) free.

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  19. I downloaded for free because I considered that "the demo".

    It wasn't my cup of tea, so I didn't pay and I haven't played it since.

    How does that figure in the statistics? How many people simply tried out the game?

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  20. I hate to have to point this out, but the numbers you're talking about aren't a huge success.

    Consider three sides to selling your game: Discovery, Capture and Value.

    Discovery is the marketing, and getting people to take a look.

    Capture is getting people to want to buy the game.

    Value is the part where you're having trouble. People will only part with their cash if they feel they're getting a good deal, or gaining some serious karma points - this is why charity-based PWYW promotions do really well. It's not just the bargain price, it's the fact that people are actually pretty selfish, and that works both ways: Paying to easy your conscience is just as selfish as piracy. Weird huh, but there you have it.

    The other thing about Value though, is that old motto "you get what you pay for". People are not very good at evaluating value for themselves...they'll almost always underrate it.

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  21. (Coming over from the Gamasutra article)

    I'd like to thank Van Dongen for sharing this information with us. Lots to think about.

    I'm also very interested on how the $1 minimum works out.

    BTW: I wish you used PayPal. Lazy/Paranoid people like me have no problem clicking on the 'pay' button, but start to think twice when they have to reach into their pocket for a credit card. ;)

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  22. Actually I would have paid for it, but the payment method won't work for me, so I have paypal or my bank account, but i don't have any credit card :/
    It's the main reason why I stick to steam, because I don't have to put money on paypal each time I want to buy a game ( it's 4 days before the money is accounted on paypal ... )
    I have a huge library of games, but i'm not going to get a Credit card just to buy games.

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  23. put it on steam now! you'll reach a whole new set of peeps.

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  24. I guess it makes sense that not everyone agrees to my conclusions. They are hypothetical, of course, since I cannot launch Proun again with a different payment model, so I might as well be wrong in guesses of what would have worked better.

    For those who claim that less people would have played the game if there weren't a free version: of course! Massively so! But if five times as few people would have played it and half of those who are left were pirates, then Proun would still have made way more money than it did now.

    I think without the free version Proun have gotten nearly the same amount of press coverage. Remember that the game is still Pay What You Want, and most press wrote about that, much less about there also being a free version.

    Also, Steam is incredibly good at reaching large numbers of players through their sales and discounts. Not as good as a free game, but it would definitely have gotten Proun more than 5000 paying gamers. I know the details of Steam through Swords & Soldiers and through talking to other devs and I am convinced that Proun would have done way better on Steam than with any form of Pay What You Want.

    As for payment methods: Proun DOES support Paypal. And I'm afraid I cannot make the shop any simpler, because Fastspring won't allow me to...

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  25. I think an interesting experiment, and not sure how easy this would be to do, would be to ask for money upon completion of the free version. As in at game completion a little screen pops up that says, hope you enjoyed my game would you care to donate and get an extra track?

    Somehow Proun managed to escape my radar entirely, but looking at it now I know I would be hard pressed to decide what I want to give you to play it. Would I be willing to give a dollar to check it out? Sure, but maybe I will love it and would happily pay 10$ for it but I am lazy and I already gave you a dollar so oh well, I'll be sure to make it up to you next time you sell a game (If I personally loved it I would give you the other 9$ because I want more, and without[or maybe with] the extra cash you may never make another game; but i digress).

    So rather than saying, "hey I got this great original, innovative, different title how much you want to give me for it?" You could say, "Didn't you love my great innovative, different title, how much was your play through worth to you? Please pay on your way out."

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  26. ...and of course include the a payment system right there before they have even left the game.

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  27. Surely your stats actually show that around 60% of people did play it (not torrented), but didn't like it enough to buy the full version? I would say that IS a problem with quality, myself.

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  28. IGN gave the game an 8.0, Eurogamer gave it a 9, the Metacritic is an 8.1. Of course, the game could definitely be a lot better, and it isn't for everyone in the first place, but isn't saying that the quality isn't high enough a bit weird with such high review scores?

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  29. You have:
    1) A short game
    2) No demo version
    3) No Linux version
    4) No OS X version

    More money on Steam? In what parallel universe? You do realize that some people who don't
    mind the first four points mind Steam? And please don't give in to the insane notion that "every copy pirated is a sale lost".
    I have around 20 GiB of free (yes, really free, not "free") music on my computer.
    I've listened to all those albums maybe once, maybe zero times. Do you think I would have bought all that music? Nope. I have it because it's free. That's all. It costs me nothing to forget about it and nothing to listen to it.
    That's why you should have put a minimum in the first place, seeing as how you have an quality product and you're sure of its success.

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  30. FairPay, a radically improved variation on Pay What You Want, might be of interest to you and other game developers/distributors.

    Instead of having little ability to ensure one-time buyers price fairly, FairPay works over an ongoing customer relationship, for a developer/distributor with many games to offer.

    FairPay works through a very simple balancing dynamic:

    1. Selectively offer to let the buyer set any price the buyer considers fair -- after the sale (Fair Pay What You Want, post-sale).

    2. Track that price and determine whether the seller agrees that is fair, and use that information to let the seller decide whether to make further offers of that kind to that buyer in the future.

    More on how this works is at http://teleshuttle.com/FairPay/.

    A blog post on how FairPay can change game distribution is at http://www.fairpayzone.com/2011/07/how-indies-can-disrupt-disruptor.html.

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  31. >But if five times as few people would have played it
    And that's where I disagree with your assumptions. It's not a simple division. Popularity growth is exponential.

    Let's say person X downloads the game and likes it. He tells 10 friends, of which 5 download the game and play it. Then those 5 players tell their friends, who in turn tell their friends, and so on.

    Now let's say the game isn't free. Person X buys the game and likes it. He tells X friends, of which a couple show some interest but none of them want to directly buy the game. One person can at least be assed to pirate the game, but the others don't play. Now you have only that one new player spreading the word. Maybe he'll manage to convince two people instead of one, but even then, the growth of the fanbase is very slow.

    A game being easy to obtain is of extreme importance to popularity spread. I won't randomly recommend a high-budget $60 game to someone just because I thought it was just 'fun', I'm more likely (but still unlikely) to randomly recommend normal indie games I thought were just 'fun', I am somewhat likely to recommend a game that's downloadable for free on the maker's website that I thought was just 'fun', and if the game can be directly played from the website without any questions asked just makes me immediately link to the game in IRC channels and conversations if I think it's just 'fun'. I love the new Rhythm Tengoku game (only released in Japan so far), but you don't see me yelling around that people should buy it when it's released here. I have talked about how fun Terraria is with people on IRC. I actively tried to get people to play free MMO Haven & Hearth. I simply link Every Day the Same Dream whenever it's slightly relevant in a discussion.

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  32. I bought your game for $1. I heard about this blog post and game from PCGamer.com.

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  33. Today's coverage of the blog is the only time I've heard about Proun. Like, ever. It's not PWYW that's failing you, it's your lack of marketing!

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  34. Howzit Joost

    excellent past and I look forward to seeing what comes of the next part of the experiment!

    cheers

    Peter

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  35. I think $1 is too low for this game. $4.99 or $5.99 even!

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  36. I'm proud to be one of the 1.76% who actually paid, although I only paid $2.50. :) I was inspired by the press you got in PC Gamer during development, and the advance trailer. Good game, although I was done with playing after trying each map a few times; maybe 3 playing hours total. Good luck on future projects, I will be looking out for your next game! -G

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  37. I wonder how many of the pirates or none-payers are just kids who don't have CCs and can't get their folks to pay for every game they want. For them, it's just a free game, and they have no real understanding of what income means to a small developer.

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  38. Note that "pirates" in this case are only those who played the paid bonus track without paying! Most of the 250.000 people who played without paying are not pirates, since the game was available for free. :)

    "Good game, although I was done with playing after trying each map a few times; maybe 3 playing hours total."
    That's actually a very good duration from my point of view: Proun wasn't intended to be a big game. A couple of hours of something good was the goal. :)

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  39. I paid 0$. Played it for 5 minutes and deleted it.

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  40. I also got it when it was free and I think the fact it's short is actually a good thing. If it had 20 or 30 tracks like the 5 included, It would soon get very boring.

    In fact, I think the game biggest defect is lack of variety. The tracks look too similiar and the gameplay is fun for the first minutes, but soon becomes repetitive.

    What I liked most are the nice use of shaders you made, but I think you could have added some variety on graphics instead of sticking with a bunch of primitive shapes with baked AO,
    more or less as the user tracks did.

    I don't really know anything about marketing but for a small game like proun, 20.000 dollars look like an enourmous amount of money to me.

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  41. Okay, I believe the sales could increase if it was even easier to buy. Why does the shop ask me for a mailing address, as it's just a digitally delivered game?

    Let's see... Humble Bundle doesn't require an address, and makes it extremely easy to buy/donate bundles. I've just checked, and GOG.com doesn't require an address either.

    Then, why would I trust that FastSpring company and give them my address? Maybe that company is trustworthy, but I've never heard of it before, and people on Internet should be always cautious about scams.

    Steam requires a physical address (due to legal reasons, I believe), but it already has a good reputation, and people give the address anyway (which is saved for future purchases).

    I have another point: why I can't see the payment options before filing my personal information? The page seems to really want my information, so it almost feels like a scam (even though I kinda believe when you say it is not, but unfortunately that's just your word anyway).

    So, in conclusion, even though that shop might be "okay", it's not the best, and I believe that hurts sales a bit.


    P.S.: And then I think I will need to manually download and install and keep the game updated... And I remember why I like the Steam service: because it handles all of that boring work for me.

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  42. Oh, just to make clear: I'm not calling you a scammer, nor your shop. But I'm extra cautious about these sensitive information, specially when money is involved. And I believe many people also behave like that.

    Not just it, but when you think about "impulse buy", if the process is too long or requires too much info, then that impulse fades away and a sale is lost.

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  43. @Denilson: Payment services like paypal, steam and fast spring all ask you for personal information due to legal reasons. You don't have to provide an adress etc. when you pay with paypal or steam because you already did when you registered the account, even if you may not remember it.

    However I do understand that maybe people don't trust fast spring because it's not so well known, even being an absolutely reliable company, so it's always a good idea to provide another payment method like your paypal account or steam.

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  44. Shitty game = Shitty sales. I don't see what all the fussing is about.

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  45. I totally agree that a simpler shop would have been better, but Fastspring didn't want to remove anything and I don't know enough about internet security to handle the credit card transactions and such myself.

    The weird thing is that Fastspring wants your address information even if you use Paypal. That is totally unnecessary.

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  46. Proun is still available for free, via the backup site

    http://www2.hku.nl/~joost1/Proun/Buy.html

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  47. Thanks for pointing that out, I had totally forgot about that one! Fixed it now! :)

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  48. Didn't heard of your game before. Seems fun, thought. Make a linux and macosx version, maybe a demo too,and talk to humblebundle team.
    And why not add tools for modders, make your own tracks ?
    Anyways, thank you for those information and good luck to you !

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  49. Interesting. I can't wait to see the results of this experiment. My next game might be Pay What You Want when it's finished, if I can figure out a way around the pesky US business laws. What, they never though a minor would be developing video games?!

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  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  51. Any update on what happened to sales after removing the free version?

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  52. Good point, will post about that soon! I have to gather data for that first, though, so takes some time to write...

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  53. Well......
    BAD, BAD experiment. PWYW does not mean you should put a free version! Really, that's just self explanatory!

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  54. Just wanted to say that Proun is by far one of the most phenomenal games I have played in some time. I love the fast paced nature of it, I love the simplicity, I love the sense of the speed... I love everything about it barring it's modest length.

    Thank you.

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  55. wow there are lot of nasty comments here. what drives people to be so rude unprovoked? I pity their existence.

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