iAndrew Stewart, founder of one-man studio Triplevision Games, has opened up about the commercial results of his game Mable & The Wood. How did it manage to generate over $500k despite mixed reviews and what do platform deals have to do with it?
Steward shared a postmortem for Mable & The Wood on Reddit last week. It is a metroidvania about a shapeshifting character named Mable launched in August, 2019.
Andrew spent around five years developing the game, which approached the release date with nearly 20k wishlists on Steam.
- Mable & The Wood only sold 700 units on Steam during the first month since its launch. It also received mixed reviews from players, with 58% of them being positive.
- The launch was lackluster, but the game eventually ended up reaching more than $500k in revenue.
- Thanks to publisher Graffiti Games, Mable & The Wood also came out on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and all digital PC storefronts possible, which became one of the key drivers for its sales across the globe.
- “The majority (somewhere around 80-85% of [money]) came from platform deals and minimum guarantees that my publisher, Graffiti Games […] negotiated with various stores,” Steward wrote.
- As a result, the publisher signed deals with Origin Access and Prime Gaming, adding a significant amount of money to the game’s lifetime revenue.
- Steward noted that signing a deal with platforms like Game Pass and Epic Games Store could really help an indie developer to cover the development costs and earn money even if a game fails on Steam.
- “In my limited experience, platforms are actually really friendly to solo and smaller devs, so just reaching out and asking nicely will likely go a long way (remember, platform holders are people, and if you’re nice then most people want to try to help you),” Andrew said.
- Looking back at Mable & The Wood numbers on Steam, he assumed that those 20k wishlists were “low quality,” meaning that such users on average were less likely to make a purchase.
- Mixed reviews also prevented the game from performing great on Steam, as players usually don’t want to buy a title from an unknown indie developer with reviews like these.