My first game was a flop. It was a commercial failure. As of this writing, Concurrency has sold a grand total of 43 copies. Though, what little response the game received was positive, so I still think it's a pretty good game. I've chalked up Concurrency's failure to marketing mistakes, and moved on. I took note of my errors from what limited feedback I could scrape together, and set out to do better next time. My attention had completely shifted to Skyscrape, when a friend request appeared on steam, accompanied by a proposition.
Someone was reaching out to me, interested in buying keys for Concurrency en masse. Apparently, this person was the proprietor of an online store where people go to buy keys for obscure games for dirt cheap, and then farm the trading cards to turn a profit. I was offered $20 per 1000 keys, and the person I spoke with wanted to buy 2500 keys. From what I understand, this is a decent asking price, as my game was particularly "rare."
Now, being eighteen years old, I am about to buy an education I cannot afford, and normally 50 bucks would not be something I'd turn down. Every little bit helps, after all. But I did turn this guy down. Why? Because that's not why I make games.
Sure, it'd be awesome if one of my games was a hit. I'd pay my way through Digipen, get a job as a game designer, and live happily ever after. But that'd just be a bonus. The real reason I make games is because I want people to play them. When I look at my analytics page for Concurrency, and see the map of the world outlining where copies of Concurrency have been purchased, I get a warm fuzzy feeling. I love the thought that people around the globe are getting some enjoyment out of something that I made. I know it's not the greatest game in the world, and I know anyone could make a game of its caliber, given enough time, but I'm still very proud of it. Even if only 43 people ever play my game, I'm happy I did something to make people's lives just a little more fun.
I don't want my game to be handed out to two thousand farmers who would just idle it for trading cards, even if I do get 50 bucks out of it. If my game had been a commercial success, but no one actually played it, I'd consider it a failure. Because I don't make games to sell copies. I make games to be played. In fact, If you'd like to actually play Concurrency but don't want to pay the six dollars, go ahead and email me from the Contact page of this website, I might send you a key.
I'm not entirely sure why I wanted to write this blog post. I suppose I'm just thinking out loud, in a way. But if anyone out there has thoughts on this topic, I'd love to hear them! Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email. I find questions of 'commercial versus personal success' fascinating.
And as always, thanks for stopping by!