According to Mike Rose of No More Robots, Steam sale numbers are very low, and are perhaps being sold too cheaply. The amount of money that an average game developer earns from a brand new release is "terrifying," he says.
Rose has recently posted his analysis of the Steam sales data from last month, and discovered that the average new release sells around 1,500 units, making about $16,000 in the first year it's on sale. Depressingly, that number reduces by 47% year-over-year.
It's important to note that Rose's data set is slanted a fair bit. Namely, he based his findings on the analysis of the top 20% of games sold on Steam. That's because, as he puts it, the remaining 80%: "are barely making any money at all." He added that, had he included data from all games ever released on Steam, the numbers would've been way worse.
In accordance to these findings, Rose claims that devs are severely underpricing their games:
- The average $15 game currently makes $35,000 in year one
- The average $25 game makes $200,000 in year one
He discovered that games which are priced at $10 or less usually move about 1,000 copies, earning their developers a meager $6,000. On the other side, games priced at $21 or more usually move a median of 5,000 copies, earning a far more substantial $200,000.
Always a proponent of indie games, Rose also noted that developers taking an Epic exclusivity deal should be left alone. "Look at the sales numbers above, then genuinely tell me you wouldn't take a deal over running this gauntlet. Taking an Epic deal secures your future, so get off your high horses!"