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Sales of adventure games #208954
09/30/07 08:16 AM
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roamn Offline OP
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Hi there,

I'd like to ask you , if you dont know (by chance) the selling numbers of adventure games (worldwide would be the best). I've tried to search for them, but I have not been successful. I know for example, that Black mirror has something around 300 000 world-wide sold copies, and i had also heard, that Runaway (1) has something around 400 000 only in France! What about you, do you know some sales of adventure games yourselves?

And one other thing, im quite interested, if you guys (or women), do not know, how much % from one sold copy of a game sees the developer. Heard something about 20%...?

What do you think?

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: roamn] #211406
10/05/07 04:47 PM
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roamn Offline OP
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Nothing at all?

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: roamn] #211408
10/05/07 04:52 PM
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Roamn, that is a great question, but unfortunately, I don't have any answers for you. I'd love to know them when you find out.


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: roamn] #211774
10/06/07 11:30 AM
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roamn, hi,

The reason you can't find this information is that it's very valuable to retailers, who are willing to fork out quite a lot of dosh for quarterly/annual reports. The company that (used to) compile these reports was PC Data. But the data was only for the U.S. retail market, and didn't include on-line sales.

The last time I looked, PC Data had been taken over by another company, and the annual report subscription was in the neighbourhood of $15,000!

So the short answer is: the only time you will see figures of this nature is when they have been (illegally) leaked from someone in the retail trade to a journalist.

As for Runaway selling 400,000 copies in France alone?! I sincerely doubt it. That would put worldwide sales at well over 1 million copies, something that not even the venerable Grim Fandango ever managed. I'd be surprised if Runaway even sold 40,000 in France whistle

By my estimation, the total number of people who *regularly* play adventure games worldwide can be no larger than 500,000. And I think that's on the high side. That's why there are fewer adventure games being made by the larger studios. They have no way of getting a return on their investment slapforehead

Regards,
MetzO'Magic


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: metzomagic] #212482
10/07/07 08:10 PM
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martinc Offline
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Perhaps the number of 400.000 copies sold in France is based on this press release about Runaway 2:

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=22782

However, this number doesn't refer to Runaway.

Unlike Grim Fandango, to which it was compared in the previous post, Runaway was indeed very succesful. Grim Fandango had horrible initial sales figures, despite the rave reviews, whereas Runaway was an instant hit, and according to some 600.000 copies were sold in Europe.

I fear too that the number of 500.000 people that regularly play adventure games is on the high side. An amazing low number, given the potential buyers in e.g. the USA and Europe. Very sad. (I have been trying to educate my friends and neigbors for years ;))

BTW, I noticed that similar questions were posed in other forums:

http://www.adventure-eu.com/forum/index.php?topic=1750.msg10191;topicseen
http://www.adventuregamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21021

Last edited by martinc; 10/07/07 08:13 PM.
Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: martinc] #212517
10/07/07 09:44 PM
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Just to show some odd sense of comparison, Halo 3, the new FPS for the XBox 360 sold some $300 million dollars worth in its first week. At $49 per game, that's just over 6 million games. Since it can only play on the XBox 360, it's amazing to me that Microsoft still hasn't made any profit from the console's sales numbers. Weird.


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: martinc] #212523
10/07/07 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted By: martinc

BTW, I noticed that similar questions were posed in other forums:



Point being? Many folks are members of and post on the other adventure gaming sites. The better your chance of getting an answer. duh

Ana


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: martinc] #212634
10/08/07 07:31 AM
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metzomagic Offline
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martinc, hi,

Indeed, from TFA you linked to:

"Focus Home Interactive is a French publishing and distribution company based near Paris, France. Founded in 1996, Focus earned an early success by publishing the music software range eJay. With over 400,000 copies sold in France thanks to strong promotion and a solid marketing campaign, Focus has made eJay one of the most popular brands for contemporary youth."

So the 400,000 figure was for some music software called 'eJay' which is also sold by Pendulo's publisher, NOT Runaway! Definitely a bit of misinformation being thrown around there headscratch

I do, however, find it implausible that Runaway could have sold 600,000 copies in Europe alone. That would make it, like, one of the most successful adventure games of all time... and if you agree with me that there are probably no more than 500,000 potential buyers of adventure games worldwide, then what piece of the woodwork did these 600,000 Runaway fans come out of? duh

Regards,
MetzO'Magic


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: metzomagic] #212719
10/08/07 09:36 AM
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Becky Offline
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The same woodwork that spawned millions of Myst buyers?

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Becky] #213172
10/09/07 07:44 AM
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metzomagic Offline
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Becky, hi,

Although 6 million copies of Myst were sold, most of those were bundled with OEM systems. So in fact, most people who 'bought' Myst never played it... or at least never got past the first puzzle.

The only place I could find any concrete sales figures for adventure games was in the 2001 - 2002 time frame when Just Adventure was leaking them in Randy's 'State of Adventure Gaming' column. Google for:

adventure game sales figures

Old data, but instructive nonetheless.

Regards,
MetzO'Magic
P.S. Ah, another piece of the puzzle. Found this little trade snippet:

"NPD Intellect, which bought PC Data in March. 2001"

So it was NPD who took over PC Data!


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: metzomagic] #213206
10/09/07 09:12 AM
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I remember getting Morrowind with the purchase of this computer I'm writing on now. I also got Duke Nukem, but never played the game, though.

It is really difficult to get sales figures for adventure games from publishers and such. Bethesda announced that 3 million copies of Oblivion has shipped to stores within the first 1½-2 months. Now, just because a game has shipped to store does not a sale make.

The same could be true for games like Runaway and Dreamfall and othe3r adventure games.

/Karsten





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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Karsten] #213214
10/09/07 09:45 AM
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Becky Offline
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Hi MetzO'Magic

Thanks for the reminder of this info on Just Adventure. It's a pity that kind of data isn't readily available any more.

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Becky] #213252
10/09/07 11:41 AM
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martinc Offline
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Ana:

Point being that at least some people are wasting time by answering the same question, for there will be overlaps of course. And like you say, many people are members of other forums or read the postings in other forums.

And here's another link with a similar posting ;-)
http://www.adventuredevelopers.com/forum/index.php?topic=1411.msg8322;topicseen

Metzomagic:

There's no contradiction (500.000). You spoke of gamers that "regularly" played adventures games. A game may attract casual gamers of course. The number of 600.000 in Europe came from the manufacturer I think, which may be considered as an obscure source. But in general there was agreement that Runaway was indeed a best selling game (like Syberia for instance). The Just Adventure figures (orig. PC Data) you mention were monthly sales figures, and they didn't reflect international sales I believe.

Last edited by martinc; 10/09/07 11:50 AM.
Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: martinc] #214057
10/11/07 02:18 AM
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I did some research for an article that never became an article around May 2001. As part of that research I collected sales figures for Adventure games (and a few others for reference) from various sources. If there is interest I'll put them up on the web somewhere. This is data up to May 2001 but may be helpful as a guide.


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Kickaha] #214062
10/11/07 03:22 AM
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I'm interested. thumbsup


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: TheDerman] #214093
10/11/07 07:27 AM
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I'd be very interested.

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Becky] #214220
10/11/07 01:27 PM
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I'm interesred, too smile Maybe it will show how and why adventure games suddenly became popular and then went sort of downhill since 2001-2002. It seems to me, though, that the adventure game genre is about the recover. Mainly due to many detective stories out there. So at least the stories sell well...

/Karsten



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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Karsten] #214529
10/12/07 02:19 AM
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OK that's some interest!

I'll get the figures out there, but need to carefully word the notes. Terse enough so people read them, yet conveying what the figures mean and don't mean.

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Kickaha] #214565
10/12/07 05:59 AM
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Thanks Peter, the information will be very useful to the over-curious amongst us smile

Regards,
MetzO'Magic


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: metzomagic] #214668
10/12/07 10:09 AM
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I've gone back and forth on this myself. I've gotten numbers back from some indies that would bring a tear to your eye knowing how much work they put into something, and what they got back in return. An indie (self-published) game breaking 1,000 sales is an extremely RARE thing. Most seem to settle into the 200-600 range, with quite a few never even crossing the 100 mark until several months after they were released.

Scratches has probably been one of the more successful AGs to have come out recently and according to GotGame's press release the world-wide sales figure was 150,000.

As far as Myst selling millions, there are a few things to consider:

- It came out during the heyday of Adventure Games
- It was one of the first games to come out on CD which made LOTs of people want to buy it to try the new technology.
- It was completely different from the other AGs that had come before it (1st person)
- How many of those copies of Myst that have been sold are repurchases? I own 4 copies of the game myself.

The sad part of all this is that even the developers don't really know how many copies of their games have been sold. They have to take the publisher's word for it. From my understanding, a developer getting sales figures from publishers for their game is a ridiculously difficult thing to do.

Also note that Got Game gives it's games a long shelf life. A year after Scratches came out, you could still find it on major retail store shelves which helped boost the sales. Other companies seem to only give a game a month or two on the shelves before they replace it with another title. I can only imagine that the sales of those games are pretty dismal as a result.

My 2 cents... smile


Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Ivinia] #214683
10/12/07 10:34 AM
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Given Ivinia's info above re sales of indie games, I wonder how many sales Dark Fall 1 racked up as an indie before it got purchased and distributed by its publisher.

Not that Jonathan has to tell us, but it'd be interesting to see some figures given all of the hard work he and his friends put into the first Dark Fall game.

I also have at least 3 versions of the first Myst game and 2 versions of Riven.


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Bruce Fielder] #214837
10/12/07 04:38 PM
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Darkfall was one of the rare ones that broke the mold - not to mention being one of the first to self-publish his game which got a lot of interest. According to an interview Jonathan gave, he sold 2,000 copies of Darkfall before it got picked up by a publisher. I think that is a bit harder to do now with so many indies self-publishing. Not saying it can't be done, but the quality definitely has to be there.

I'd love to know if Barrow Hill also broke the 1,000 mark before getting picked up by a publisher. Matt was issuing out some special trinkets for the first 100-150 people who bought the game. I purchased it within several hours of it's release and never got anything special with mine, so I'm assuming he did very well self publishing it. The graphics quality was there, the spooky atmosphere, and Jonathan Boakes involvement all helped. All of this added to the good buzz Barrow Hill was getting way before it's release which is HUGE when it comes to self-publishing.

Even then he still ended up going to a publisher which pays a mere fraction of how much he could get per copy selling it himself, so it makes you think that maybe it wasn't as many copies as you would think. I dunno... duh

I was looking at best selling albums earlier today and I found it interesting that you can get *rough* numbers for those. I say rough because some of the sources come from the artist's publicists and those can be taken with a grain of salt. Likewise you can get sales numbers for all sorts of games like Halo and various sports games. The fact that AG sales numbers are SO secretive and hard to obtain, makes me think that the numbers aren't very good. Well, they might be good for a 1 or 2 man development team, but for anything larger?

Any conspiracy minded people out there want to speculate on why these numbers are so hard to obtain and why publishers keep them so guarded? whistle

(ok, maybe that should be an evil grin?)

Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Ivinia] #214854
10/12/07 05:25 PM
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So let's see . . . 2,000 copies times $20 each = $40,000. Not bad at all but it's not going to make anyone wealthy. Besides, Jonathan was working on Darkfall for a long time so I'm glad he was doing it at all; it was a great game.

I'd forgotten about Barrow Hill but that's a good example too.

I imagine the actual sales figures are hard to obtain because the publishers want it that way. For years, movie actors taking a percentage of the "profits" got nothing thanks to studios' creative accounting. The smart ones now get percentages of the published ticket sales as they are readily tracked by Variety and other movie publications. It is harder to get similar info on game sales though due to the way the publishers have things arranged.


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: Ivinia] #214873
10/12/07 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted By: Ivinia
Any conspiracy minded people out there want to speculate on why these numbers are so hard to obtain and why publishers keep them so guarded? whistle

(ok, maybe that should be an evil grin?)

I imagine it's along the same lines as why employers do not want employees telling each other how much their salary is. Someone might get the idea they're paying too much for a game and they wouldn't want that anymore than an employer wants an employee to think he's doing the same work and making less than another.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. laugh


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Re: Sales of adventure games [Re: BillyBob] #215335
10/13/07 05:57 PM
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The great mystery to me is why there are so few Adventure Game players. With PC's almost as common as TV sets in people's homes, (and I'm sure millions of homes have more than one computer,) there should be a huge market for these games. After all, everybody is at the keyboard these days, from toddlers to senior citizens like me.

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