Hello all. Does anyone have any literature or stats on how many games must one sell before it is considered a success? Or should it be considered a success if one person, other than yourself, has interest in your game?
... you can find some helpful ideas :
That depends on your point of view. From a business standpoint a game must make enough money to justify the effort to be a success.
As a designer I have a game that have sold relatively few copies by industry standards but has diehard fans so would consider that a success.
Awesome article. Thanks.
Very true. I appreciate the feedback.
Nice article. Hadn't read that in a while. Wolfgang Kramer is the man, obviously.
As to what makes a game a commercial success. It depends. I think a publisher has the following goals and levels of success:
1) Recoup the initial investment
2) Make some profit on the game
3) Sell out the first run of the game
4) Print another run of the game if demand is there
5) Repeat step 4 until demand runs out
I think a game that makes it to step 2 will already be considered a success by the publisher. Step 3 is what they will generally aim for. Step 4 is what they hope for.
ReneWiersma is right on the mark from the perspective of a producer. And for those of us who wear multiple hats, we can never lose sight of the bottomline. Ultimately, it's hard to make really good games if they don't sell, hard to work with great people if you can't pay them and hard to disagree that the marketplace is oftentimes the best judge of whether a game is good or not.
But, some games are difficult to market, regardless of how good they are. An abstract game is difficult because it has a lot of competition from well established games that people would rather play 1m & 1 times than try a new game per se. (backgammon, chess, bridge). And, of course, two player games restrict the circumstances under which you will play them... so, they sell well for couples but not typically well for hobby gamers.
But, from a design standpoint, if a game does what you want it to do, doesn't have any degenerate/optimal strategies and people like playing it, I call it a success. Games can be complete without necessarily being produced. And, published games can be good without turning a profit. And, neither one of these commercial imperfections prohibit the game from being hugely successful in the future. Abstract games are, in fact, hugely popular as digital games right now... tetris, bejeweled, tower command.
As a designer, you have a different audience and list of competitors than a game publisher has. You are really dealing with the entire history of mankind, where originality and replayability count far more in the long term than style and trends. Long after the publisher goes out of business or is acquired, and long after your game runs out of its patent protection or copyright, people may be playing your game or be using its mechanics to solve problems in their world. They may never know who made it, but they could be playing it nonetheless.
So, each of us has our own role to play in the enrichment of society. And, the metric of success depends upon your perspective.