I'll be doing an interview on Dead Pixel Live tonight at 7:30 EST. Officially the topic is Remote Masseuse, but I'm sure we'll end up talking about XBox Live Community Games in general. The host of the show has a game out himself, Revenge of the Ball, and spent much of last week complaining about the service.
If anyone isn't familiar with Dead Pixel Live (I have no idea how many listeners they get, they seem to have a pretty large audience), it's broadcast live Monday-Thursday from 6:30-8:30 EST. It's a pretty damn solid show. I'd recommend you give it a listen, and not just because I'm going to be on it.
Feel free to post questions or requests in the comments, I'll do my best to work them in.
Allow me to start by saying that I'm going to try really, really hard to keep this post humble and try not to sound like I'm bragging....
For those that don't know, I'm the developer of Remote Masseuse. There has been a lotofnegative press about XBox Live Community Games this week. Sales figures were revealed on Friday, and it's not pretty for most developers. Most notably, Weapon of Choice failed to reach 10,000 sales in the four months since Community Games launched. This was a disappointment for the developer.
It's clear that until Microsoft does more to promote the service, and adds the ability to rate games, XBox Live Community Games is not a viable release platform for developers that are looking to make a meaningful profit. Sales numbers have not been released for some of the most popular titles on the service, so it's certainly possible that someone like the creator of RC-AirSim is rolling in the cash. RC-AirSim has been at the very top of the sales charts since its release, and certainly has brought in some major cash.
Remote Masseuse has also appeared on Major Nelson's top ten list for a long time. Most weeks it's been right near the middle of the list, around 6th or 7th place. Maybe someone can infer how much RC-AirSim made based on that. Since I've just received the numbers for March 31st, the last day of the quarter, I'm ready to finally write this post releasing the information to the world (although Gamasutra posted estimates I provided).
I'd like to keep some secrets, so I won't reveal exact numbers. All these totals are as of March 31st.
Released: Feb 11
Demo downloads: Over 58,000
Purchases: Over 3,900
Earnings: Over $6,500
It's worth noting that sales were very strong the first week after release, and dropped pretty quickly after that. It's still doing fairly well, over $60 a day in earnings. The blue line in the above image is daily sales, which you can see spike every weekend. The black line is a 14-day moving average, which shows that sales have leveled off and appear to be rising, although I doubt that trend will continue.
These numbers present a problem. As happy as I am about them, I have to admit that I feel badly for the developers that spent months (or maybe even years) of their lives creating games that they had hoped would make them some meaningful scratch. Some of them did it for the love of games, which is the only right reason to do it if you ask me. But even for them it's got to be deflating to see a application that was developed on a short timeline do so well. My earnings for Remote Masseuse amount to over $200 per hour of development time, and rising each day.
Should Remote Masseuse do as well as it has? Sure. Obviously there's a market for it. But I think all the quality games on the service (and believe me, there are some really good ones) should be doing even better! There is no reason that wonderful games like Weapon of Choice, ZP2K9, or Biology Battle shouldn't be reaping the fruits of their labor. People worked hard on those games, they deserve to be rewarded for them.
I've emailed Jim to see about getting Remote Masseuse reviewed. I have no idea how it's even possible to review something like that, but we'll see what Jim comes up with. If he has time for it that is. He's probably too busy reviewing real games.
In the meantime, post your own review in the comments. It ought to be good for some righteous lols. That right, righteous.... pretend it's 1989.
It appears as though at least half of the people that have volunteered to help playtest Puzzle. Puzzle? Puzzle! aren't able to install it. XNA Game Studio is supposed to package everything together to make it work automatically, but apparently it's not. Sad panda. Has anyone played with XNA and have experience distributing their game to other Windows boxes? AgentMOO?
I also haven't been getting updates out as fast as I would like. I've been doing a lot of lower-level coding on it that doesn't present a noticable difference at the moment, but will make it easier to put it all together later. I'm also just not able to put as much time into it as I had hoped, but that can change shortly.
I do plan on having an update tomorrow. I'm toying around with tweaking the gameplay a little to make it less Tetris-like and more Bust-a-Move-like.