The intro to Race the Sun
's one-month numbers breakdown
begins on an ominous note: "Launching a PC game without a major distribution platform, such as Steam, is asking for trouble." In its launch month, developer Flippfly sold 771 copies of Race the Sun
for a total of $7,400.
"This may seem like a pretty big number to some – but keep in mind there are two of us, with families to support and bills to pay," Flippfly writes. "Additionally, the game's online features require a back-end server, and there are monthly costs associated with that, as well as our web hosting and other expenses."
Race the Sun
challenges players to outpace the setting sun by flying toward the horizon at breakneck speeds, avoiding obstacles in a procedurally generated world. In July, Flippfly described it
as Temple Run
meets Star Fox
, and said it was already struggling on Greenlight.
In 2012, Flippfly changed its focus from mobile to PC gaming, and at the time it saw Steam Greenlight as a great opportunity. On year later, Race the Sun
is still on Greenlight
and it's currently outside of the top 100, "seemingly a ways off." Most potential players tell Flippfly that they'll buy Race the Sun
either when it's on Steam or 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
," Flippfly says.
Race the Sun
was shoehorned into the endless runner genre and most players are used to receiving this type of game for free – and not on PC, Flippfly writes.
"The final straw that convinced me that this perception has hurt us was the rejection feedback from Indiecade last week: 'I really appreciated the simple 3D visual design, and the progression was very well tuned. Also, procedurally generated levels ... are a nice touch. However, this genre of game is fairly well played out. I hope you are releasing it for iOS and Android.'
"Ugh," Flippfly says.
The team is still working on Greenlight as its best chance of success without a free-to-play reboot, and it's considering other platforms, including Facebook, Desura, Amazon and, yes, mobile.
"As I write this, we're running out of money, and will likely need to take on some other work to keep ourselves and our families fed for a while," Flippfly says.