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.

Andrew Steward, who is now working on CCG city builder These Doomed Isles, also opened up about burnout and getting over imposter syndrome. The full post is available here.

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