One thing that I was missing before deciding to start independent games development, was some solid data describing what to expect from this business in terms of income. There are a lot of posts on this topic, but none of them is answering the question thoroughly. Please do not understand me wrong – I am not trying to create games purely for money, but I wanted to know if it can be profitable enough to support myself, so I can create games full-time, not sacrificing my family life on the altar of a hobby.
Most indie developers state, that a statistical game will earn nothing at all. Jeff Tunnell has written, that you should expect anything between no income at all and what a best selling hit game can give. Koen Witters’ short article explains that with a hard work you may expect to earn at least a few thousand dollars from the first game.
I agree with them – you have to put a lot of effort in developing your game first, so it is fun and it looks nice, and next even more effort in marketing and distribution to let the world find out about it. But let’s assume that you already have a fine game and you do your work regarding distribution part. What to expect then? You may find specific games sales stats, be it hit games or those that don’t sell well. Grey Alien Games has listed some of them in his article, if you are interested.
Example sales is not enough
Such data might be helpful, but there’s one problem with it. They are all case studies only. Case studies won’t give you an overview of the market. I have however found out several informations apart from listed above. They might seem just minor tidbits at a glance, but combined together can become a basis to estimate expected income from the Big Fish Games casual games portal.