Post feature RSS How should an Indie game success be measured?

How does one measure success when releasing a game? Should it be about the money you make or more about the doing?

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As I develop and prepare for my first commercial game (meaning I will charge for it) I have probably been doing what others do:

  • Checking out Postmortems
  • Wondering what my sales will be like (ok so this should be top of the list)
  • Looking for as many tips as possible on successful launches
  • Learning about Marketing, Publishing etc

Actually to be honest I have been getting a little stressed over it. What happens if no one buys it? What happens if it has a critical bug? What happens if I get a ton of online flak for a poor game? Am I doing enough testing? Do my graphics look ok?

Underneath it all what I am stressing over is "Will my game be a success?". But what is success? Is it money, happy gamers, a job well done or something else. What were my expectations when I put my first game onto Google Play? In order of importance I believe they were:

  1. Write a game and publish it
  2. Hope a couple of people download it
  3. Hope I get some useful reviews so I can improve the next game

So was my first game a success?

Write a game and publish it

Well by any measure this was an outstanding success! I did indeed write a game and published it on Google Play - Operation Typhoon. Not only that I then published it to the Apple store ( Operation Typhoon ) and then a Windows version to itch.io ( Moscow 1941 ). You got to love libGDX that has allowed me to write once and publish to three different OS's.

How did I make this a success?

  • I kept it simple
  • I did not add anything that was not in my original design
  • I did my own graphics - not that good but made me appreciate graphic artists
  • I learnt a lot
  • and the most important thing - I had fun.

Since that first version I hired a graphics artist and for $75 got much improved graphics which I re-released mid December.

Hope a couple of people download it

This one exceeded all my expectations. I would have been happy if I had one or two downloads. The game is free but I think it is in a niche area.

google downloads

So to date I have had just under 2500 downloads from Google Play. In addition my game is available on many 'alternative' sites (Read - they stole my APK file) and I am guessing the downloads are around the same.

In addition I have had ~650 iOS downloads and 11 Windows downloads.

The upward trend on Google Play in December and January are I believe solely down to me adding links/blogs to various sites. Post marketing does work!

Hope I get some useful reviews so I can improve the next game

So this is an interesting area. I have not had one review for the iOS version. Nada. Nothing. Tumble weed rolls through the review section. I have read other blogs that say the same. Those iOS downloaders are a breed apart.

On Google Play I have 32 reviews and currently stand at 4 stars. So that to me is another success.

So was my first game a success?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

What about my new game?

I need to stop stressing and go back to my simple ideals on the first game. So same as before but with one tiny amendment.

  1. Write a game and publish it
  2. Hope a couple of people pay for it
  3. Hope I get some useful reviews so I can improve the next game

Anything else will be a bonus....


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