The developer behind indie title Dustforce has explained the importance of digital sales promotions to the eventual success of the title.
Hitbox launched the game in January 2012. It admits in its very thorough report that it had no idea what kind of sales performance it ought to expect. But its first 24 hours on Steam were great – 4,796 copies were sold generating revenue of just over $44k.
By day seven the game was down to 1,079 sales per day, with the total revenue generated by that point reaching $144,866. By day 30 sales had slowed to 101 per day and by day 60 they stood at 35 per day.
Over half of the game’s first two month’s sales occurred in its first three days of availability.
Then in May that all changed.
Dustforce featured as part of Steam’s Midweek Madness promotion at the beginning of that month, with 50 per cent slashed off its RRP. The result? 17,462 sales in three days and almost $100k in revenue. Even taking into account the price drop, the promotion boosted the game’s lifetime revenue by 37 per cent.
There was a downside, though, The spike enjoyed thanks to Steam’s Midweek Madness was short-lived. After just a few days sales were back down to April levels.
More success was just around the corner, though. In September Dustforce starred in Humble Bundle 6. The promotion ran from September 18th to October 2nd, in which time an incredible 138,725 copies were activated on Steam, generating $178,235 in revenue.
Furthermore, the spike persisted a little with sales levelling off at around 50 or 60 per day.
At the time of writing Dustforce has grossed revenues of $668,490, from which the developers saw $489,404 worth of income. After the expense of running a business is taken into account the Hitbox team were left with around $295k salary to split between them.