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I've track a lot of data about my indie business in a giant spreadsheet and recently I did an analysis of 3 games to see the breakdown in sales per platform. I had a gut feeling that PC way outperformed Mac and mobile but I wanted to 100% confirm that.
Just in case it's not clear from the image here's the percentage split:
- PC 91%
- Mac 6%
- Mobile 3%
- Console 0%
3 games = $160,800
I analysed the sales of the following 3 games:
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Released Nov 2006 Total revenue = $55,800
- Holiday Bonus. Released Dec 2006. Total revenue = $54,000
- Spring Bonus: Released April 2011. Total revenue = $51,000
Those three games have been released in the following places:
- Direct sales via my site on PC/Mac
- Mac App Store
- Numerous casual portals including Big Fish Games, iWin, Real, Oberon, Amazon etc. Mostly PC but some have taken Mac versions.
- Google Play/Kindle/Nook
- XBLIG (only for Holiday Bonus)
It should be noted that the Mac versions of Holiday Bonus and Oz came out about 1 year after the PC version, so they have not has as long to catch up with PC sales.
Also it should be noted that Holiday Bonus mobile was released in Dec 2011, and Spring Bonus mobile was released in April 2012. There is currently no mobile version of Oz.
So yes, obviously my pie chart is skewed in favour of PC, although Mac has had a pretty good chance to compete.
Only one game was released on XBLIG as an experiment and clearly that market isn't interested in casual games judging by the poor revenue, which is fair enough. Conversion rate is actually pretty good (>20%), so many people who play it do actually buy it, but downloads are just super-low.
Of course my mobile games haven't been on sale for as long as the PC/Mac versions, so haven't had a fair shot. However comparing the launch of my mobile games to the PC version, there is still a huge difference in revenue.
I've self-published one mobile game and used a publisher for another one. The published game definitely did better, so that's useful information. Even though it's nice to self-publish and track your own sales stats and have complete control etc, I believe you are more likely to make money by using a good publisher - unless you have a great game that can garner tons of press attention. My games are "just" casual games and so the press is basically not interested.
I do have an Oz mobile port on the way and Holiday Bonus GOLD was just self-published on mobile (it was a last minute thing so not enough time to get a publisher), plus I've got something in the pipeline for Spring Bonus. So I've not given up on mobile yet and I expect my mobile revenue to grow, but still I don't think it'll touch the PC revenue.
Spring Bonus (last 19 months)
I produced a revenue by platform pie chart just for Spring Bonus because it's a much more recent game than the other two so presents a more accurate picture. Here it is:
You can see that mobile revenue is higher than Mac but still less than 10%.
Well the article title says it all: PC is not dead and mobile is shit.
Of course I make a certain type of game and the market is more geared up to sell PC copies of those, and indies releasing PC games on Steam certainly find they can do pretty well on there too compared to other platforms. Other developers are having great success on mobile - good for them. But I would urge caution in the mobile market. It's HUGELY over-saturated and hard to get noticed. I got my existing games ported to mobile as a low-risk approach, but there are teams of developers out there spending 6-12 months on mobile games and I personally think that's a recipe for disaster in most cases.
Looking at my numbers, perhaps I'd be best sticking to PC only? Putting all my energy into that and not buying expensive Macs (and constantly upgrading the OS and Xcode, and farting around with provisioning profiles and certificates) and not buying an ever growing army of mobile devices to test on. Most devs have a PC anyway, even if they just play games on it! For me anyway, PC is the clear winner.
If you are a cross-platform dev and want to share your numbers in the comments, that would be awesome. Thanks!