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Realistic sales numbers for an unknown PC title
by Hugo Cardoso on 06/14/13 07:56:00 am   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Greetings everyone!

In this article I would like to share the sales numbers of my PC game Survivor Squad that launched one month ago (14th May)

I have always enjoyed reading other sales post mortems but one thing I find is that it's difficult to find sales numbers for games that aren't a massive success. Success stories are easy to find and for someone new to the industry it can be hard to figure out how much you can realistically expect to get from a new unknown title.
Everyone knows Minecraft has sold millions but for every Minecraft there's hundreds of unknown smaller indie titles, Survivor Squad is one such title.

I'd like to give thanks to David Galindo for his excellent sales articles about his game, The Oil Blue.


I have been developing Flash Games for the past 3 years and in December of last year I decided it was time to make the move to standalone PC titles.
Survivor Squad is a Strategy Action PC game that focuses on Squad management using true line of sight and highly randomized levels. The game was developed over the course of 6 months using Unity with C#.
Here's an interesting video that showcases the development process.

I did all the code (except for the A* Pathfinding) and art by myself and bought sound effects, music and voice acting.

The entire cost to develop the game was just below $350.

Marketing Plan

My marketing plan was quite simple, create videos and contact all the press I could find.

I started the promotional efforts on the 3rd of April with a Website, Facebook, Twitter, Greenlight and a Trailer. A few sites wrote about the game.

From the initial trailer I got a lot of people who thought the game was a 4 player co op shooter because it didn't show the control scheme very well so on the 25th of April I released a second video showcasing a full playthrough of the Death Lab game mode that better demonstrated how the game actually worked.

I also set up a simple mailing list on the website and by the time the game launched I had 320 emails of interested buyers.

When the game launched I sent review copies to about 85 websites/youtube channels. About 35 downloaded a review copy and about 8 did a review/video.

Survivor Squad Analytics


Game went live on the Website (through the Humble Widget) on May 14th, GamersGate on May 15th, Desura on June 7th. ($8.99, €6.99, £5.99)

There is a demo available which has been downloaded 2000 times.

Alrighty then, so how much did it sell so far? Let's look at an exciting chart!

Survivor Squad Sales


So that's it, I'm pretty pleased with the results and looking forward to what happens next. I'll make another article in about 5 months.

Hope this article has been helpful to someone just like reading about various sales post mortems has been helpful to me. Cheers!

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Sergio Rosa
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Hello, thanks a lot for the article! It would be interesting to see what you plan to do next to drive sales more.

Hugo Cardoso
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I'm not too sure yet. I guess I'll setup some 25/50/75% sales every once in a while and try to get into some bundles.

Kyle Redd
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That was fast.

Raymond Ortgiesen
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Thanks for sharing this! I'm glad more and more people are sharing these sales figures from smaller projects, not just huge break away games.

Hugo Cardoso
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Hopefully more and more people will do so, more public information is always helpful.

James Yee
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Yeah I have to admit I have no clue how this game plays based on the initial video. Good to know there's a second to look at. :)

Good numbers and information here. I guess the other half of the discussion would be, have you broken even yet?

Hugo Cardoso
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Well I'm not too sure what my break even point is heh. The expenses ($350) are already covered so it all depends on how I value my 6 months of work.
I've almost hit minimum wage ($4/hour in Portugal) for first month revenue on a first project so I guess I could say I've hit the break even point. :)

Robin Gould
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Thank you for sharing this :)
I'm curious what yielded you the most positive results marketing-wise.

What would your advise be to a fellow indie looking to do a release in a similar fashion in the near future?
(dos and don'ts)

Hugo Cardoso
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My simple marketing plan worked pretty nicely, only advice I have is make sure your first trailer is a very good one. As you can see from the graph, the second video I posted didn't get much coverage compared to the initial announcement.
For a site like RPS they will usually cover just about every game at least once, so do your best to make that one article count.

Other than that just contact everyone you can possibly find. Google "indie games" and go nuts.
Very useful website/list:

Best of luck with your game!

Joaquim Guerreiro
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I wish the best of luck with sales. It's not easy to make a company grow in the old seaside country.

Carlos Cruz
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I really like your game! I voted it for Greenlight and I'm going to buy it right now, keep up the good work!


TC Weidner
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I enjoyed this article, its a very interesting and open recap.

Joy Zimba
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Thanks for this article- I really liked seeing the chart- Especially what you highlighted in terms of the effects of the sale and the Desura Launch. Brief but packed with info. Wishing you the best of luck with Survivor Squad in the future. :)

David Galindo
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I think it's great when indies open their sales info like this, really helps everyone. Thanks and you've got a sale from me! (thanks for the shout out too, good luck on your current and future projects!)

Daniel Spruce
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How did you go about using the Humble Widget for sales? I couldn't find anything on their site about it.

Paul Turbett
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I was going to ask the same question....I'd be interested to know.

Hugo Cardoso
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I simply sent them an email asking about it, the service is still in beta but I believe they're pretty open.

Nathan Whitehead
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Thanks for sharing the numbers, this is great info.

Rachel Presser
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This was an excellent read, thanks so much for posting! Very concisely shown data and how things happened. Got a good return on your dev costs to date, to boot. :)

Also interesting to note that your demo was downloaded 2,000 times and 343 copies of the game sold-- so your conversion rate was 17.5%, which is above average for PC games by indies: (search "conversion" on this page)

Best of luck!

Stephen Calender
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Well, how does this compare to some of your Flash games?

Hugo Cardoso
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It's quite a lot better in terms of revenue, especially in terms of revenue per each player.

My last Flash Game, Game Corp, was played over 1.3 million times and I received in total around $1000.
So compare that to 343 sales giving $2.4k and it's quite a nice difference.

Chris Gottron
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Any chance you could post the e-mail you sent out to the various news sources/reviewers? Was it a link to a press kit or just like a link to the trailer with a description of the game or something?

Klaus Pfeiffer
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Thanks for your numbers! Could you provide any more information on how the sales continued?


EDIT: nevermind, just found the second article from october ;-)