Thomas Altenburger, founder of Flying Oak Games, produced a thread comparing launch revenues from the studio’s two biggest hits across different timelines and platforms.
He specifically looked at PC and the Nintendo Switch and found that over the last three years, Switch has become less attractive for indies.
When NeuroVoider launched in 2017, 91 percent of its revenue in the first 60 days came from Switch. When ScourgeBringer came out in 2020, Switch only accounted for 14 percent of its revenue over the same period of time.
The stats might sound a little too dramatic. After all, NeuroVoider came out at a time when Nintendo’s eShop was a much lonelier place. Plus, it didn’t perform all that well on PC. ScourgeBringer, on the other hand, launched during the platform’s most crowed month, while showing very strongs sales on PC. “ScourgeBringer did 4 times less [revenue] than NeuroVoider on Switch, while doing 10 times more on Steam,” the developer adds.
Still, the point is solid. Sales are not what they used to be on Switch. In fact, if you are not self-porting for Switch, Altenburger cautions against spending resources on a port for the platform.
While PC in this context is becoming an increasingly attractive platform, especially thanks to deals like Game Pass, the piracy rate is very high, according to Altenburger.
Altenburger suggests that this split is the “industry standard” for indies. “My interpretation is that piracy is cultural,” he writes. “People who pirate are going to do it anyway and have no intention to convert.” So called “ethical pirates” who do convert are anly 0.01 percent which is negligible in the big picture.