Know Your Market: Making Indie Games That Sell

Know Your Market: Making Indie Games That Sell

After creating the puzzle platformer Life Goes On: Done to Death, Infinite Monkeys Entertainment's Erik Johnson was not satisfied with the sales they were generating. This leads him down the rabbit hole of data analysis and statistics, trying to make some sense of how the PC Indie Game Market works and what factors that drive sales.

Erik uses a bunch of tools to get as much relevant data as possible. These tools include:

Does reviews matter?

Working with the data he collected, he was able to calculate the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient for a lot of factors. If you are not a statistician this probably doesn't tell you much but it's basically a way to determine how strongly two features of a data set is affecting each other.

When looking at how different factors seems to correlate with a game's revenue, Erik gets the following values:

  • Player Score: 0.31
  • Metacritic Score: 0.44
  • Average Playtime: 0.55

Zero is no correlation. One is a very high correlation

The takeaway from this is, reviews matter but not that much and Average Play Time seems to be a more important factor.

Genres, Tone, and Tags

Eriks continues by looking at the revenue for different genres and popular tags.

The data shows that the median revenue for genres popular with indie developers such as Puzzle-Platformers, Rogue-likes, and Metroidvanias is pretty low compared City Builders, FPS and Action RPGs.

Genre Chart

A common idea is that the Steam audience likes darker and grittier games, and the data seems to back that up.

Tone Tags Chart

Looking at more tags, multiplayer and community features is popular among players.

Multiplayer Tags Chart

Watch the whole talk

If you'd like see a lot of chats go ahead and watch the Youtube video of Erik Johnson's talk.