What it's like to follow your hit indie game (2M+ sold!) with a 6K sales 'bomb'
"This is not news. The so-called 'Indie Apocalypse' has been a thing for a while."
- Mark Morris of Introversion, speaking about the disappointing launch of the studio's latest game.
UK-based Introversion Software published a video on YouTube today which includes some very upfront chatter about how well the launch of the studio's latest game, Scanner Sombre, has gone.
Notably, it doesn't sound like it's gone very well at all; developers Mark Morris and Chris DeLay speak very frankly about being surprised to find the game has sold roughly 6,000 copies in the two months since launch.
"It's bombed," said DeLay. "I didn't think that was possible. It's not that I arrogantly believe we're the best people in the world or anything, it's that our last game [Prison Architect] sold over 2 million. So I kind of wrongly assumed that would just give us a minimum number of people looking at our game. So that numbers like [6k] would be impossible."
It's a fair point, one that fellow devs should be well aware of when estimating sales for their next game. Morris goes on to point out that even if you ignore the success Introversion had with its last game (Prison Architect), you could mistakenly assume that there are enough people "floating around on Steam" to ensure a decent game gets more than a modicum of sales.
He goes on to acknowledge that the "Indie Apocalypse" has long been a thing (especially since 2015, though there are many arguments for or against it as a new or meaningful trend) but admits he is still surprised given how well Scanner Sombre seemed to do in the Steam charts at launch.
The full video is well worth watching if you're an indie dev, as the pair talk through what it means for a (short, admittedly odd-looking) game to sell under 10k units despite earning a spot in Steam's chart of top sellers (how much much the rest of that chart have been earning, then?) and pulling in lots of great Steam user reviews.
Of course, they also talk hopefully about the future of the game and discuss plans to support it with new features like VR support.