We’re excited to share some amazing news! A major milestone! Our quest to a million copies sold is complete! In December 2015, Shovel Knight surpassed one million copies sold total, and as of this February, Shovel Knight passed a million copies sold only digitally! Thank you everyone for your unending support. We couldn’t be happier that Shovel Knight is still loved and played years after its release. To celebrate it crossing a million, we’ll be discounting Shovel Knight at 33% off for a week at various times this month on every store it’s released on (Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Sony PS4, Sony PS3, PlayStation Vita, Steam, GOG, Humble Store, and Amazon Fire TV) . If you haven’t picked it up, now’s the time! We’re also launching some new PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo 3DS themes to join in the celebration! It’s like a whole new suit of armor for your system.
We hope to share a little bit of what we’ve learned over the past couple years of both making a game like Shovel Knight and maintaining it after release. As we’ve done in the past, below you’ll find a breakdown of Shovel Knights sales. Hopefully players and developers alike can find something to learn from this info!
(For the historians, all info on this page is as of April 1st, 2016.)
Shovel Knight has sold 1.2 million units total! 200,000 of those units are physical retail sales. We’re still in a bit of shock here! Previously, a successful game in our portfolio would barely break 50k copies sold. Want to know the platform breakdown? Here’s a graph!
Before you save the graph above for your next platform vs platform discussion, there’s a few key items that are worth keeping in mind:
Our Sony and Microsoft versions did not come out until April 2015, 9 months after our initial release on PC and Nintendo systems. The Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Sony PS4 are also naturally higher in sales as they received full retail releases in October 2015. Every platform except Sony’s systems have gone on sale during some major holidays, but none of them have ever been sold for more than a 33% discount. Keeping our game at full price has been a major part of our strategy as we believe players will be more invested in the game and therefore hopefully, enjoy it more if it isn’t bought at a bargain bin price. Although Amazon Fire TV does not have enough sales to appear on the graph, it’s a bit tricky to measure because Shovel Knight was packed in with 50,000 consoles, and those sales are not accounted for in the graph. The Amazon Fire TV also released in September of 2015 – which is rather late when compared to everything else and a tall order to catch up to. Also of note, we have still not released the game in Asian territories. We plan to release in Japan in June on Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U.
Some interesting facts about our sales trends:
Our big push last year was getting Shovel Knight at retail with the game and the amiibo figure. We’ve learned a lot of crazy things about retail: how small the margins are, how long and arduous the process is of creating and shipping discs/carts, how difficult and finicky retailers can be to work with, and much, much more. Although it was a huge pain, at the end of the day, we think our game benefits from being available at retail. Hopefully, it is bringing more kids, families, and an all around wider audience to our game that otherwise wouldn’t have considered it. So far at retail, we’ve sold more than 200,000 units:
A few items to note here. Tracking data for physical sales is extremely hard and not nearly as accurate as digital sales. In Europe, we get very little information due to all the distributors and retailers involved. In North America, we only get information for Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Gamestop, Toys R US, Wal-Mart, and Canadian retailers. Here’s even more detail with a breakdown of our North American sales per store:
Note, not all the stores carry all platforms of the game. For example, Target sells only Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions in stores. Also, some stores have an advantage due to time sold. Toys”R”Us started selling Shovel Knight late in December, and unlike most the other stores, did not have pre-orders available.
Some facts we noticed here:
Being a retail publisher of the game also comes with additional costs. We had to take out a very expensive insurance policy, get the game rated at retail in every territory (much more expensive than digital), create packaged versions for every language, system, and rating, and much more.
One area we still have a lot of room for improvement in is reaching more regions. We’re still heavily bought in North America vs Europe. Typically about 63-77% of our games are bought in North America depending on the platform. PC is the low end of that spectrum where Wii U is on the higher end. Keep in mind Shovel Knight is still only available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French. So we definitely have room to grow, and hope to continue introducing new languages as the ongoing game updates begin to finalize. Here’s the breakdown by region for Steam:
Here are some fun game stats based on our Steam users:
When we set out to make our first expansion for Shovel Knight, Plague of Shadows, we knew that we’d be putting it out for free. We really wanted to make a great campaign that felt new and exciting, and would draw new players in! We also wanted to make players of the original game feel like they got their money’s worth, in the hopes of keeping our reputation as sterling as possible. For instance, many players feel great about supporting Blizzard because they know that every Blizzard game will be updated and improved for many years in the future (in fact, a new patch for the 16 year old Diablo II was just released!). Our plan was ambitious… but could we make it work?
You may remember our magic formula for how to simply calculate game production costs. Plague of Shadows was no exception – we went all out in its development just as if we were starting on a new game. We had 8 people full time on the project for about a year – meaning we effectively spent roughly a million dollars creating FREE update content for the game. Is that ridiculous?! Yes, most definitely. Was it worth it? We think so! We really love what we created and we think the fans who gave it a shot did too. That said, by traditional publishing standards, it would probably be perceived as a catastrophic failure!
Here are some facts about it:
After hearing all that, you might be thinking…”Wait. you weren’t kidding! Isn’t Yacht Club currently developing two more campaigns just like Plague of Shadows!?”. The answer is…yes! From the very beginning, way back when in Kickstarter land, we’ve always done our best to scale up Shovel Knight to exceed the amazing level of support the game has received and we plan to continue doing so with the major game updates too. In the end, we just want to make great content for our fans. We hope that everyone tries Plague of Shadows sometime and sees how much love we squeezed into every pixel! Seriously, go play it. Next time we do a sales article, we want to see Plague of Shadows higher than 6%!!
We hope to provide a very in-depth article about how the Shovel Knight amiibo was made soon. So stay tuned for that! In the meantime, here’s a bit about its sales so far. Believe it or not, we actually ordered over 200,000 units to be manufactured and shipped all over the world. We’ve currently sold through 180,000 of those units since the amiibo figure launched January 8th. 60,000 of those going to Europe and the rest going to North America. The sales for the amiibo figure are still strong, enough so that our North American distribution branch decided to order 30,000 more units! Here’s a breakdown of US amiibo figures per major retailer:
Some facts worth noting:
Here’s some stuff you may or may not want to know:
We’re still working away on the rest of the Kickstarter Stretch goals. King Knight’s campaign, Specter Knight’s campaign, Body Swap, and 4 Player Battle Mode are all being worked on at the moment. Also in production is the final Kickstarter reward: the Shovel Knight art book (lots of great stuff on the way in that department!). We hope to finally conclude Shovel Knight’s long development journey at the end of this year. It’s been a really fun few years, and we couldn’t be more grateful that you’ve all supported us through this time. We never though we’d be doing things like this, from making a game so beloved, getting to revisit and re-imagine it from another character’s point of view, releasing an amiibo figure, even to making a crazy awesome plush collection!!
Thank you again for your amazing support! We are so, so humbled. Thank you!
We hope everyone is looking forward to the upcoming Shovel Knight updates, and everything from Yacht Club Games! Congrats on making it through this very long article, here's a summary!
For now, here’s a tiny glimpse at playable Specter Knight’s run animation. As is the tradition! Now get excited, haha! Now and forever!