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Is it worth it to make DLC? Indies share their DLC attach rates

August 4, 2017 | By Alex Wawro

"It's hard to have any expectations at all about what a DLC's gonna do, general, there's not a lot of data out there on attach rate and things like that."

- Brace Yourself Games' Ryan Clark

You did it. You shipped your game! Sales are going okay, support is going swimmingly, and so eventually you have to ask yourself...what next?

Does it make sense, financially, develop additional downloadable content to sell to some fraction of the game's playerbase, or should you look into something new? It would help to have a sense of how well DLC sells, but as longtime developer Ryan Clark points out in a recent episode of his "Shark Tank" series of game dev livestreams, it's very hard to get that data.

"If you can get a rough estimate for what is a reasonable attach rate, then you can make much better decisions," said Clark.

He went on to note that the Amplified prequel DLC Brace Yourself Games released this year for its 2015 hit Crypt of the NecroDancer currently has an attach rate of ~6 percent, a bit higher than the 5 percent he'd predicted, and he expects it to climb a bit further still.

"I do think well-known games are going to get a higher attach rate," he cautioned. "We got featured on the front page, we had a daily deal and stuf like that, when Amplified came out, and that certainly helped to spread awareness of the DLC. If your game is not selling well enough to justify getting daily deal slots and stuff like that, it's going to be harder."

But what makes this particular segment (embedded above) of Clark's livestream so interesting is that a few other indie devs chimed in during the stream and shared their own DLC attach rates.

Matt Viglione of SomaSim estimated that the studio's first expansion for its Project Highrise skyscraper sim, Project Highrise: Las Vegas, had a roughly 7 percent attach rate after its release earlier this year. By comparison, Tyler Sigman popped into the same stream chat to say Red Hook's more recently-released Crimson Court DLC for its 2016 hit Darkest Dungeon had seen an attach rate of about 15 percent. 

You can get more details in the clip above, or tune into Clark's Twitch channel for the live version of his indie-centric biz chats.

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