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Can You Be A Fulltime Solo Indie Game Developer? (Steam Sale Numbers)

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9K views|3 years ago
💫 Short Summary

Can you be a full-time solo indie developer and make a living from creating games? A post by Carl from Video Game Insights examines the statistics from Steam games, revealing that over 50% of games on Steam have never made more than $5,000, and only 23% have made over $50,000. However, it's important to note that many games on Steam are hobby projects, free games, or low-quality copy-paste games. The earning potential for a full-time solo developer is further discussed, with a focus on self-published indie games that are good and playable, priced between $5 to $20, and released after 2018. The video discusses the earnings of indie game developers, revealing that the bottom quartile of games make less than $5,000, while the median is $13,000 per game and the top 15% earn more than $108,000, with the top 5% making over $555,000. However, after factoring in discounts, chargebacks, and platform cuts, the actual earnings can be significantly lower. The video emphasizes the importance of business and marketing efforts for solo developers to succeed, along with building their own audience. In this video, the speaker discusses how indie game developers can increase their chances of success by building a YouTube channel and cultivating an audience. They mention that growing a channel to 100k subscribers is achievable and can help drive sales for their game, with only a small percentage of their viewers needing to make a purchase to reach significant revenue. The speaker also emphasizes the importance of marketing and smart decision-making in this process.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Can you be a full-time solo indie game developer?
00:00
The video discusses whether it is possible to make a living as a solo indie game developer.
Statistics from Steam show that over 50% of games on the platform have never made more than $5,000.
Only 23% of games have made over $50,000, which is not promising for full-time game developers.
Many games on Steam are hobby projects, copy-paste games, or free games, making the market competitive.
Indie game earnings
08:00
Bottom quartile of indie games make less than $5,000
Median earnings for indie games is $13,000
Top 15% of indie games earn more than $108,000
Top 5% of indie games earn more than $555,000
Factors affecting indie game earnings
09:00
Earnings depend on where you live and your game's quality and appeal
Solo developers need to be skilled in art, coding, marketing, and business
Luck also plays a role in indie game success
Revenue for solo indie developers
12:00
After discounts, returns, and chargebacks, the net revenue is around 77.8% of the earnings
Steam takes a 30% cut, leaving solo developers with 54.4% of the earnings
Successful solo developers need to focus on business and marketing strategies to improve their chances
Maximizing indie game sales
14:00
Solo developers can increase their chances by making the right pricing decisions and devoting time to marketing
Building your own audience is crucial for indie game success
Start promoting the game before it's even finished to build an audience
In order to earn $100,000 from a game that sells for $20, you need to sell 5,000 copies.
16:00
Selling 5,000 copies at $20 each would result in $100,000 in revenue.
Having a YouTube channel with 100k subscribers can help promote and sell your game to a portion of your audience.
💫 FAQs about This YouTube Video

1. Can a solo indie developer make a living creating games?

The majority of games on Steam are hobby projects, with over 50% making no more than $5,000. Only 23% of games have made over $50,000, making it challenging for solo indie developers to make a living solely from game development.

2. What is the earnings potential for a full-time solo indie developer?

The earnings potential for a full-time solo indie developer can be limited, with the majority of games on Steam being hobby projects and a significant number of games being free or low-earning. It's challenging to make a sustainable living solely from game development.

3. What factors contribute to the challenges faced by solo indie developers in making a living from game development?

The saturation of the market with hobby projects and low-earning games, as well as the competitive nature of the industry, contribute to the challenges faced by solo indie developers in making a living from game development. Creating a game that stands out and generates significant revenue is a difficult task.

4. How do the revenue numbers and statistics on Steam reflect the difficulty for solo indie developers to make a living?

The revenue numbers and statistics on Steam showcase the tough reality for solo indie developers, with over 50% of games making no more than $5,000 and only 23% of games earning over $50,000. This reflects the challenge of making a sustainable living solely from game development.

5. What is the key takeaway for aspiring solo indie developers from the Steam game market statistics?

Aspiring solo indie developers should be aware of the tough competition, saturation of the market with low-earning games, and the difficulty of making a substantial income solely from game development. It's important to approach game development as a challenging and competitive industry.

6. What are the earnings of indie games compared to AAA games?

Indie games can earn varying amounts, with the bottom quartile making less than $5,000 and the top 15 percent earning more than $108,000 on a yearly basis.

7. How much of the game's revenue do indie developers typically take home?

After factoring in discounts, returns, and platform cuts, an indie developer may take home around half of the game's revenue on average.

8. What is emphasized as crucial for indie developers to succeed financially?

It is crucial for indie developers to focus on business and marketing efforts, make the right pricing decisions, and build their audience to improve their chances of financial success.

9. What potential earnings can indie developers achieve with the right business and marketing strategies?

With the right business and marketing strategies, indie developers can potentially sell games at higher prices, such as $20, and achieve greater financial success by building a loyal audience.

10. How can creating a YouTube channel help in promoting a game and increasing sales?

Creating a YouTube channel can help promote a game and increase sales by building an audience. With a dedicated fan base, developers can easily reach potential customers and convert views into game sales.

11. What is the potential revenue from a game that reaches the top 15% and grosses over $100,000?

The potential revenue from a game that reaches the top 15% and grosses over $100,000 is significant. This level of success can be achieved by selling 5,000 copies of the game at $20 each.

12. In what way can a YouTube channel with 100k subscribers contribute to the success of a game?

A YouTube channel with 100k subscribers can significantly contribute to the success of a game by serving as a platform to promote the game to a large audience. With the ability to convert a small percentage of viewers into customers, the channel can help drive game sales.

13. How can building an audience on a YouTube channel help with game sales?

Building an audience on a YouTube channel can directly impact game sales by providing a ready-made customer base. Engaging with the audience through content related to the game can drive interest and ultimately lead to more sales.

14. What role does marketing play in selling a game to a YouTube audience?

Marketing plays a crucial role in selling a game to a YouTube audience. By effectively promoting the game through the channel and utilizing smart marketing strategies, developers can attract viewers and convert them into customers, resulting in increased game sales.