Gamasutra: Simon Carless’s Blog-Quantifying the Soaring Sales of Video Games on Christmas Day

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[The GameDiscoverCo game discovery newsletter is written by ‘how people find your game’ expert & GameDiscoverCo founder Simon Carless, and is a regular look at how people discover and buy video games in the 2020s.]

And … we’re back in the room. I hope you all have a decent (thinking) holiday season and are happy to be back in the wider world of video games in 2021. It will be a year like 2020 where things are unlikely to get worse. The whole world … can they do it?

As you explore, you’ll find the first newsletter of this week’s GameDiscoverCo Game Discovery Newsletter. We’re starting with a subject that we couldn’t study before-what does Christmas Day mean for today’s game sales?

When a game developer opens a (sale) gift …

That’s why the history of video games and consoles has been centered around our art form, as Christmas presents. They are sitting under the Christmas tree, which will be unpacked with excitement on December 25th! (This is much more noticeable than other media such as movies and music albums.)

After all, there’s a reason E3 has historically been timed in June. This is to allow retail buyers to evaluate and order physical games in time for the holiday season. And you can still see this trace in the release calendar. For this reason, many AAA games will be released between September and December.

But in this digital download-centric world, does the average developer in 2020 see his games selling more digitally on holidays than at other times? I have been studying this! And it seems to be platform dependent.let’s start Watch PC games on Steam -The game portfolio for the past few weeks and Steam’s combined revenue are:

So the big problem with understanding what’s happening on Steam is that Christmas Day is in the midst of a Steam winter sale where everyone’s games are selling very well anyway for big discounts and promotions. It means that it is in. It’s hard to see a tree because of it.

But .. If you look at the Halloween and Winter sale curves in late November, you can clearly see the surge in earnings by December 25th. About 60% more than the peak of Halloween sale..In that spike, individual games are hit Approximately 8 times the basic non-sales income.. (But because of the sale, it will be quintupled anyway!)

Extra “bonus” Christmas spikes seem to be related to Christmas gifts and other holiday spending-the games given by Wishlist on Christmas Day are better than most other days I can see There are many, for example.

However, older or niche games that are unlikely to be explicitly gifted or purchased may have no effect from Steam’s Xmas Day. This is a portfolio game where winter sales increased sales, but Christmas day sales did not. Example:

Moving on to other platforms, what about Switch, PlayStation and Xbox consoles? We believe these hardware devices are much more likely to be left under the Christmas tree for smaller (and larger) Santa followers who are more excited than gaming PCs.

I don’t have a graph here, but when I ask around, it looks like this: Nintendo switch -It was the most easily available console of the current generation for this holiday anyway-is the most obvious example of “Christmas temporarily boosting digital sales.”

I have seen the number of sales on Christmas day It ’s 7 times more than normal daily sales., All the time from Christmas itself to New Year’s Day Stroll 2-3 times on a regular basis.. It will gradually drop during the New Year, but apparently there are many switch players active for a few days.

But again, it depends on whether your particular game is at the center of people’s radar. Older / legacy titles seem to reach 1.5 to 2 times normal daily sales in the three days before and after Christmas day., And that’s about it-they will return to normal almost immediately.

Similar story For PlayStation and XboxAs far as we’ve heard, whether it’s the present or the new generation.You can see the top titles of these platforms Soaring 5-7 times the normal daily sales on Christmas day, And with 2-3x bumps going on towards the New Year, legacy / low profile games seem to be less or less affected. And … now you know that Christmas is still a fun time for many developers. (However, if the results do not match, please ping.)

Follow-up on good publishing contracts

Assuming you’ve achieved that in your holiday email, you might have found an interesting newsletter about the release of the Raw Fury and White Thorn Games game publishing contracts-focusing on both the contract language and% recoup / cut. That’s a very interesting discussion-I wanted to present some follow-up:

First, Simon Boxer (I was asking about the contract with Raw Fury on Twitter at that time) Put out the thread About how he signed his game, Roguelike Card Crawler’s Ring Of Pain, with Humble. And he has a satisfying transparency about the process. Extraction:

“We had a solid demonstration of 5-10 minutes after a 1.5 year development period. This would not have been possible without savings, freelance and government funding. [from Film Victoria in Australia]…

Within a year of launch, we were a reasonable way to develop. I had a fairly modest indie standard for “questions”. About US $ 200,000 to hire a small team (and myself!). Marketing assistance; Testing assistance; Access to relevant audiences is a bonus. “

So that seems pretty easy. He continues: “Most of the deals I offered were around 40:60 (after collection). Some had better revenue sharing terms. One publisher offered them a favorable 60:40. When asked why the cut was so expensive, he replied, “It’s negotiable. Some indies just accept it.” Hmm …

Anyway, the game got a deal with Humble Games, but it wasn’t a very cheeky 60:40 publisher (laughs). And Simon B would be very complementary to Humble’s John Polson in the thread. (I am also a Polson fan!)

Simon B’s conclusion: “RingOfPain turned out to be a good investment for Humble and us. Without their support, it wouldn’t be the same game. Who could have succeeded without a partner? Who knows? But our needs are met and we are in a good place (and they are good crew members). “

In short, this is a perfect example of a symbiotic relationship with a publisher, where everyone feels like they’re heading in the right direction, the publisher and developer are highly fit, and the results are good for both. Based on that investment, the game is on track. (I know they don’t all go that way, but hey.)

It emphasizes that as a developer, if you know what you want and have a strong knowledge of the types of transactions offered, you are in a much better place. (((Read the entire Simon B thread For what I missed! )

Second, the WhiteThorn Games people follow up and Reply on Twitter Their “What do you get for your money?” Sheets they show to future developers (Note: 10-25% revenue sharing is total, not net):

One of the questions about publishers is definitely “Are they just giving you money, sending some press releases and waiting for your game to hit?” So White Thorn’s graphics I think they disprove Haha.

(But you also have to ask the Simon Boxer point above if you need everything they offer, and as a developer, there is the cost of the publisher being very “full service” anyway. , Intriguing.)

Summary of Game Discovery News ..

Now it’s time to take us out of here in style with a number of interesting platforms and discoveries links accumulated throughout the New Year.

Most of us were too busy sipping champagne * (* I had a glass and half, it was crazy) To check what the hell is going on on the internet. But … what was this:

  • Of course, I’m starting with Victoria Tran’s blog. It’s not really about it after she quickly made “Among Us” a 0 to 1 million Twitter follower. It’s about the playfulness of the account and the spirit behind reality. There’s a lot of great stuff here, but for high-traffic social media accounts, this is very interesting. “Don’t reply often and post often … Instead of spending a lot of time creating a lot of content, I decided to spend time on one good tweet and supplement it by replying to comments.”

  • “Game Development Influencer YouTube” is a really strange but interesting place, so I really keep an eye on it. And Jonas Tyroller’s “Is The Indie Game Dev Dream Real?” Is the latest example of an interview with Thomas Brush (Neversong). I think Jonas was really trying to get to the root of the problem. Thomas is a strange combination of talented developers, he is also a very “influencer” and also sells his own “How to Become a Game Developer” course. Check it out if you have the courage.

  • Does SteamDB always have a “Total Steam Follower Chart” that lists the number of followers for all games on Steam, including released games? I’m not sure, but I’m definitely doing it now. It’s interesting to see how top titles compare to the top gross games of 2020 we’re seeing recently (and we’ll do a more detailed analysis for GameDiscoverCo Plus subscribers!).

  • I like to move players to the top of the value chain (using DLC, deluxe versions, and carefully crafted cosmetics). But the distant / bad side is that the Gambling Health Alliance has recently been in the UK. “23% of 11-16 year olds said they paid to open the loot box, and 34% of all respondents said they made the first purchase by the age of 13.” EA and other publishers are pushing this in late, but it’s hard to overdo and undo because the FIFA Ultimate Team accounts for 27% of EA’s total revenue (!!!!). Wow.

  • Microlink: Round up some of the “best” round-ups so you know who you’re competing with: Like the Touch Arcade on the iOS side, Ars Technica’s top games in 2020 were good reading- However, Patreon’s decline in funding is very sad if someone can help. And Polygon’s most anticipated 2021 game (about half of which won’t be released in 2021, but it’s fun to dream) is worth a look.

Finally, ICO Thomas Bido Was kind We tracked the total number of Nintendo Switch releases in December 2020 and the previous year and actually increased that number.

As he says: “December 2020 was the second busiest month for the new release of Nintendo Switch. December 2019 was the quietest month. There is a change in seasonal wisdom to start the game during the holidays. Is it? “ Or is it just the beginning of a bigger ramp-up? I think we will see!

[We’re GameDiscoverCo, a new agency based around one simple issue: how do players find, buy and enjoy your premium PC or console game? You can now subscribe to GameDiscoverCo Plus to get access to exclusive newsletters, interactive daily rankings of every unreleased Steam game, and lots more besides.]

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