I know, I’m as stunned as you are. But apparently not only can you make money, you can make good money doing it:
As a case study, Wardell released sales statistics of Stardock’s latest products as proof that the market for hardcore PC games can be a profitable one.
Galactic Civilizations II
- $1.2 million budget (original plus two expansions)
- $500,000 marketing
- $500,000 distribution
- $10 million revenue
"I’ll go out on a limb and say a ten-to-one ratio of investment to earnings is good," joked Wardell, who added that the marketing/distribution budgets include bribes and bonuses. "My jet fuel isn’t cheap."
Sins of a Solar Empire
- $1 million budget (original and one expansion)
- $600,000 marketing
- $800,000 distribution
- $8 million in revenue so far
"Half of our revenue has come from Impulse," he said of Stardock’s digital distribution application. Sins of a Solar Empire sold more copies at retail, but Stardock makes significantly less money on each sale as compared to copies sold through its own digital service.
Dear god man. EA would kill for ratios like that. Ubisoft actually tried to sacrifice animals to get returns like that. Sony doesn’t really understand profitability, but if they did, they’d be impressed.
Of course, EA and the like might not like my part of the title that talks about good games. What do both Valve and Stardock do that makes a huge difference? They release stable, fun games. How do they do that? They take the time in beta to get it right. Where as many companies use beta like a demo, these two bad boys, and especially Stardock, use their betas to completely reshape the game. It’s pretty impressive and extremely necessary. And, sometimes takes awhile. It’s weird, sometimes quality just can’t be rushed. Huh.
So, Maybe, just maybe, PC gaming can make it. Maybe the likes of Wardell and his ilk (Valve and the like) can not only save PC gaming, they can bring it into the future. For a long time now I just assumed the industry would die out at some point. Now I’m not only thinking that’s not the case, I’m pretty sure it has a pretty big upside. Maybe even a potentiial for a long term competitor or merging with console gaming at some point. Maybe.
Whatever the case, it’s good to see not just Valve doing well in the PC gaming industry. The more Impulse/Steam services we get, the more PC developers we get, the more interest and money generated by PC gaming, the better.
I’d miss my RTS/RPG/FPS games were they to disappear or morph into their slightly retarded console cousins permanently.
What Would Matt Do: I’d read the rest of that article to. It’s not just about how much money they are making, but more of a State of the PC Gaming nation. Side note, if you’re STILL doing crunch time at your company, you must hate your company. And history. And most imporantly, your employees.