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Race The Sun Developer Talks Sales, Steam, and Decisions

Race the Sun Indie

Have you heard of Race The Sun? It's a pretty neat indie game in which, as a solar powered aircraft, race as far as you can before the sun sets. Levels are procedurally made, so you'll get a new experience every time, and obviously it's very fast paced.

Well, it's been a month since the game has officially been released, and developer Flippfly has a few things to say about their release.

First, Flippfly mentions that there weren't a ton of reviews of the game itself by big gaming sites, there were mentions of some form from some 100 media outlets, which they are proud of. That's a pretty big number for an indie company that isn't well-known and watched by the mainstream.

But, that doesn't matter much if the game doesn't sell. In its launch month, Race the Sun sold 771 copies from their website, which is the only place you can buy the game right now. However, the graph they show looks pretty discouraging:

Posted Image

Sales of the game dropped off pretty rapidly. The reason? Aaron attributes it mainly to not being on Steam yet:

"...it feels like there are two attitudes that have become prevalent among many PC gamers: “I’ll buy it when it’s on Steam.” and “I’ll buy it when it’s in a bundle.”

I’m just not sure it’s realistic to expect to be able to support yourself solely with self-distribution via your website in 2013, unless you’re Minecraft."

Also, trying to fit Race The Sun into a specific genre hurt the game in a way they hadn't intended. By saying that Race The Sun was an endless runner, many people mistook the game for... another generic endless runner, and therefore didn't really give the game a chance.

As Flippfly looks forward, they're trying to look at how to make Race The Sun profitable again. They look towards possibly going to other distribution services (though Steam is still their target service), mobile releases, and possibly even re-designing the game as a F2P title. A few publishers have taken notice of the title, but Aaron notes that they want to keep their independence involving the game's development, so they will not be going that route.

Finally, Flippfly leaves us with a few words, looking back at the last month?

"We’re not anywhere close to giving up on this game, but it’s been a rough start. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that if you want to find financial success, you should not only make a great game, but partner with proven, trusted distribution platforms that can connect you with an audience that’s ready to pay."

If you're interested in Race The Sun, you can go check out its website here, or maybe give it an upvote on Greenlight.

You can see the entirety of Aaron's post-mortem here. I've left out a lot of juicy bits, so if you're interested in other more statistics and thoughts, it's worth a read.

What do you think of Flippfly's success (or failure) with their game?


4 Comments

The sheer quantity and cheapness of indie games these days have devalued indie games as a whole. Why would or should we spend $10 on some indie game that just game out when we can get a bundle of 10 indie games for $5 or less? 

I have to admit, I won't buy anything without a client if at all possible. At the very least the devs should have gotten on Desura, as it seems to be a starting stone for those that can't immediately get on Steam. I also agree with Braun that PC games, particularly indie ones, have been completely stripped of value by indie bundles and how quickly devs are to put them on sale. Unless you are ACTUALLY the next Minecraft/CastleCrashers/Limbo/etc, you need to price your game accordingly at a price that will elicit impulse buys (I'm talking $3 or less territory), and hope that people like it enough to tell their friends and get you some positive buzz. Attempting to sell a game that most have probably not heard of without the means of a client is already an uphill battle, so as much as it may sting the developers to do, they seriously need to consider setting the entry price low.

 

Just my two cents, I wish all the best for the developer and hope they can regain some steam (pun somewhat intended) with their game's sales :)

To be honest, it baffles me why they didn't want to get this on Desura at all.  I mean, selling a game via the site alone is far from the most efficient way to do anything, and they should have known their sales would fall off a cliff a week after people stopped talking about it.  At least on Desura they could put out news ans updates to keep them in the public eye a bit--I doubt most of the people who bought the game originally even know there's an update coming out soon, and haven't to re-download the client isn't something people are going to want to bother with.

 

I know I'm sounding overly negative, which is why I didn't put my opinion in the article, but they really should have known better.  No one should expect to be the next Minecraft, and even trying to replicate the super popular indie games in any fashion is setting yourself up for disappointment.  I cannot fathom why they didn't go to an alternative distribution service while trying to get on Steam.  With the developers' stressing the fact that they have bills to pay and families to feed (and that's why a $7,000 profit is pretty disappointing), wouldn't it be important to get the word about your game out anywhere possible?

I know I'm sounding overly negative, which is why I didn't put my opinion in the article, but they really should have known better.  No one should expect to be the next Minecraft, and even trying to replicate the super popular indie games in any fashion is setting yourself up for disappointment.  I cannot fathom why they didn't go to an alternative distribution service while trying to get on Steam.  With the developers' stressing the fact that they have bills to pay and families to feed (and that's why a $7,000 profit is pretty disappointing), wouldn't it be important to get the word about your game out anywhere possible?

 

It's sad seeing all these indies thinking they're going to be the next minecraft. I mean, it's great they have that much confidence in their game but cmon, the game mentioned in the article isn't exactly revolutionary. It's not groundbreaking. And while they said they don't want to lump it in with other endless runners.... it IS an endless runner!

 

 

 

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