Yacht Club Games sailed into our hearts with Shovel Knight
(for real, so good
!) and now the developer has pulled into port with sales data. Not just sales data, but a surprisingly detailed breakdown of development costs. We strongly encourage reading their full post
if you have any illusion (delusion?) making games simply requires a dream and fairy dust.
"At this point you have to be thinking, $30k minus taxes for one year's salary, a grueling work pace - think: 12-18 hours a day, 7 days a week - and no stability whatsoever... why bother?" Yacht Club programmer David D'Angelo notes after the full cost breakdown, "
An NES game, that's not going to sell. The 80′s are over, man. Get with the times! The cool kids are all into the AAA explosive action sequences. You'll never make it!"
Taking out the 15,000 copies given to Kickstarter backers, which ended up being a third on Nintendo platforms and the rest on PC, the team sold 150,000 copies in its first month. First week sales were approximately 75,000, which blew the team's "2x-4x pre-sale expectation out of the water!"
"Did we mention that we were complete buffoons and, against all of Valve's advice, we launched Shovel Knight during the Steam Summer Sale when we had major bargains as competition?! Yeah, we're crazy, but we still managed to crack the top 10!" said D'Angelo, also mentioning they also unintentionally launched on Wii U in the middle of a Mario Kart 8 promotion.
He concludes, "
Our new goal is the quest to 1 million sold, to truly solidify Shovel Knight
as a modern platinum classic! For all of you who had doubts that a Wii U game or a digital game on a Nintendo platform could sell, we hope these facts show that a good game on any system, marketed the right way, can sell."