RETRO CITY RAMPAGE SALES ANALYSIS
TWO YEARS OUT, 2012-2014
After revealing that Retro City Rampage had sold over 400,000 paid units (and an additional 270,000 PS+ units) a little while back, I've received many requests for more detailed information... so here it is!
HUGE NOTE: Keep in mind that what you read here is primarily one data point per platform. Results vary based on game, genre and other circumstances. Don't take this as the golden rule, but simply as takeaways from a single game released on many platforms.
PLATFORM SUMMARY (8 TOTAL)
- PC (direct, Steam, GOG, Humble Store)
- Mac (direct, Steam, GOG, Humble Store, Mac App Store)
- PS4 (digital, limited edition retail blu-ray)
- PS3, PS VITA, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS (digital)
- Press coverage is vital to building a fanbase and hype leading up to launch.
- Store placement and store promotions are the most important factor during and post launch.
Steam has become a discount-driven ecosystem. However, despite a devaluation of game prices, revenue is still high. The ecosystem is still at risk if developers continue to do deeper and deeper discounts, but at the moment it's still healthy. A stark contrast shown in the chart above: the revenue is lower than PlayStation but the actual units significantly higher, clearly demonstrating just how much of a discount-driven market it is.
Steam composes the bulk of PC sales followed by direct sales (Humble Widget), then GOG and Humble Store which are comparable. Humble Store is already comparable to GOG despite its modest storefront.
GOG sales relative to Steam seem to vary widely for developers. Some games move a small fraction of their units on GOG while others move a very worthwhile percentage. Store promotion surprisingly doesn't seem to be the strongest factor here, but rather that the GOG customer base is more akin to certain types of games and genres. In RCR's case, GOG accounts for 6.7% of its PC sales, with Steam being 80.5%.
PS VITA has been a very healthy market which is completely counter to the misappropriated console's stigma as a failure. With less AAA competition, it's easier to get store placement and store placement is what sells games. Over the past two years, sales on PS VITA have become proportionately higher than PS3. PS4 proves healthy as well. PlayStation developers releasing games in 2015 should prioritize PS4 followed by PS VITA.
Nintendo 3DS has the healthiest tail of all platforms. Released nearly 10 months ago, it has never been discounted and still boasts a strong weekly tail. It was a great fit for the platform and market and received great promotion from Nintendo at launch. RCR released on 3DS 15 months later, but had it been released simultaneously with the others it's possible that it could've become the best selling out of all eight platforms (or at least toe to toe). Again, this would vary widely on the type of game, but RCR was a perfect match for 3DS.
Xbox 360 was a prime example of how important store placement and promotion is. It's one of the weakest platforms sales-wise. Comparing it to its direct competitor (PS3), it's clear that the placement and repeated promotions on PS3 and lack thereof on Xbox 360 made all the difference. The potential for success existed on Xbox 360, but it's no joke that Mountain Dew is a direct competitor on there. Getting featured on Xbox is far more difficult than on other platforms (unless you're willing to pay for advertising in hard cash).
Luckily I didn't have all my eggs in one basket. This is a clear example of why developers should be cautious of uncompensated platform exclusivity and release parity bottlenecks. Additionally, Xbox 360 still requires a publisher (ID@Xbox self-publishing is Xbox One-only), making the net revenue that much lower.
Although the game was released on PlayStation in North America slightly before Xbox, it released on PlayStation in Europe and on 3DS afterwards. Both were more profitable. Additionally, discounted sales on PlayStation and Steam after the Xbox launch alone eclipsed the LTD sales on Xbox 360, meaning that its delay was not a major factor. Additionally, due to an error, it actually launched on Xbox for $5 less than the other platforms, but that didn't give it a leg up either. Many factors at play, but and the end of the day the lack of store promotions on Xbox were the root of its lower sales.
Steam competition is tighter now than when RCR originally launched in 2012 and the average discounts developers place on games during holiday sales are trending much deeper than in the past. It's a double edged sword -- in the past, many developers raised issue that it was difficult to get a game onto Steam, but now that it's much easier, there aren't enough store placement opportunities for every game. Without solid store promotion at launch, you will sell a fraction of the potential units that you could otherwise which significantly jeopardizes recouping development costs.
The Mac version just launched last month. It was profitable and I'm glad that the fans are enjoying it, but accounts for only 0.1% of the game's units. That number would change if it received placement on the Mac App Store, but as it stands the vast majority of units were sold on Steam.
There were other ports in the works which I never finished and never plan to release. For example, PSP and Nintendo DS ports were under development way back in 2009, but due to the poor health of those markets (primarily due to piracy), I never finished or released them. Videos: here, here, here
The experiment releasing the limited edition PS4 blu-ray disc was a huge success. It was sold out the day after sales opened despite receiving no major coverage (2,000 units @ $25/pc). Word spread primarily through the PlayStation Blog, social media and forums such as reddit. In the future, it will be interesting to see how large the market is for a console retail indie release with proper press coverage. For more information on the retail release, click here.
NEWS: The *NEW* Retro City Rampage 'DX' is out now!
PS4+PS3+VITA (Cross Buy) • PC+Mac (Cross Buy) • Xbox 360 • Wii • Nintendo 3DS
RETRO CITY RAMPAGE, the game, characters and all related elements are trademarks of Vblank Entertainment Inc. ©2012 All Rights Reserved.
“PlayStation” and the “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks and “PS3”‚ "PS Vita" and the PlayStation Network logo are trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
Nintendo trademarks used under license. WiiWare is available only through the Wii console.
Steam and the Steam logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Valve Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.
MANDATORY LEGIBLE ESRB GAME RATING.