On September 14th Golemizer will be 2 years old. I was wondering which way I could highlight this anniversary so here’s a look at how it did on the financial level. I won’t go into much details about the why it did good or bad as I’ve already touched these on my blog (and still do from time to time). Here I just want to share some raw data.

Two years for an indie MMO ain’t bad but is it a financial success? Well it’s not what I would call a total failure (the game is still online and still under my control after all) but it never became a full-time job.

For those who don’t know the full story just let me give you a quick overview. In 2007 I decided I would build a browser-based MMO even though I had no idea how to do it and no real game development experience (beside two small experiments). What should have become some wasted space on the web became a game and was released in 2008.

Even though the game was released on September 14th 2008 I only implemented the current microtransactions system in April 2009. If you’re wondering why I waited so long well just refer to the previous paragraph where I’m saying I had no real game development experience. And if you’re wondering why I implemented a microtransactions system well ads and donation buttons don’t work for everyone.

Note that the following numbers are excluding some data from “partners” (that should in theory get potential players to Golemizer but eh …) but that wouldn’t change much anyway.

Golemizer’s revenue

2009
April $192.80
May $152.82
June $94.27
July $186.56
August $295.19
September $351.17
October $206.38
November $357.98
December $148.46

2010
January $321.70
February $320.04
March $437.95
April $151.91
May $103.69
June $323.75
July $382.78

These are sadly not net incomes. Maintaining both servers required to run the game (1 dedicated machine for the game and a cheap VPS for forums, wiki, website) cost $241 each month.

16 months revenue
$4027.45

16 months expenses
$3856.00

Total profit
$171.45

Most of this profit was then reinvested back in the game for new pixel art so there’s not much left in my pockets … still  it’s not a loss … if I leave out the initial investment before the microtransactions system.

Initial investment

When I started to work on Golemizer I’ve been careful to not throw a huge amount of money in it because I had no real idea of what I was getting into, I had no experience and I’m cheap. You can argue that being that careful can be one of the reason (among many others) why the game didn’t do that well but all I know is that today I still have a house, a car, a dog, can afford wine each week and that my ambitions never caused any uneasy financial discussion with my wife.

Back then the game server was a cheaper machine bringing down monthly expenses for servers at $150.

While most graphics are from free graphic libraries I still had to get some custom work done to get everything I needed without any fear of going into legal troubles (you know just in case this thing was to become big). So just to get the game started I spent $1,225 on custom pixel art.

So the total initial investment before seeing any real income (there was some money from ads and donations but not much to talk about) was $2,125.

Total expenses after 22 months

$5,981

Loss after 22 months

$1,953.55

So success or failure?

Well obviously I have yet to make any money with Golemizer but I still think that it’s not that bad considering the point from where I started and that working on Golemizer brought me invaluable experience on many levels (programming, community management, gaming press, game design, “partners”, …). The fact that I didn’t lose my shirt in the process is also to be considered.

Of course I was hoping Golemizer would do better as it was a lot of work, a lot of crazy hours while keeping a day job but to be able to say that I worked on such project is still worth something for me. One thing is sure is that new opportunities are now available to me and I’m surely not done with game development!

Bonus data! How do players spend their money?

The average number of days before a player starts spending money in Golemizer is 32 days. The longer a player has been playing the game the most likely he is to buy something from the in-game store.

Breakdown of Altus Coins packages sold (currency for the in-game store):

$50 : 14%

$20 : 32%

$10 : 19%

$5 : 16%

$2 : 17%

Here are the sales for all items available through the in-game store since it was released in April 2009. Feel free to analyze this data anyway you want! Not sure what an item is about? Why not take a closer look by checking out Golemizer!

184    Exotic Rug
139    Exotic Plant 1
136    Inventory expansion +60
135    NPC Skin Tools (to change appearance of merchants and quest NPCs)
124    Bedside-Manner Inventory expansion (golem powerup)
118    6000 Time Points
77    Piano (small)
72    Victorian Rug
72    Military Uniform – Blue
65    Inventory Expansion +30
50    Giant Pumpkin
48    Market Stand
47    Clothing quality upgrade kit
35    Frequency Analyzer
35    Military Uniform – Red
33    Golem Remote Station
32    Observatory Skin
25    Inventory expansion +10
25    City Blueprint
23    Max Time Points Upgrade – Gold
22    Military Uniform – Yellow
22    Masked Trench Coat – EB
22    Island
20    3000 Time Points
17    Max Time Points Upgrade – Silver
16    500 Time Points
15    200 Time Points
15    Victorian House 1 Skin
13    1500 Time Points
13    Exp. Points Bedside-Manner
13    Mad Manor Skin – Black
12    Haunted Victorian House Skin
11    Max Time Points Upgrade – Copper
10    Military hat 1 – EB
10    Military red coat 1 – EB
9    Victorian House 2 Skin
6    Lighthouse Skin
6    Mad Manor Skin – Green
6    Electron Stamper Upgrade +100
5    Shipyard Skin
2    Mad Manor Skin – Pink
2    Mad Manor Skin – Purple

Exotic Rug    184
Exotic Plant 1    139
Inventory expansion +60    136
NPC Skin Tools    135
Bedside-Manner Inv. Exp.    124
6000 Time Points    118
Piano (small)    77
Victorian Rug    72
Military Uniform – Blue    72
Inventory Expansion +30    65
Giant Pumpkin    50
Market Stand    48
Clothing quality upgrade kit    47
Frequency Analyzer    35
Military Uniform – Red    35
Golem Remote Station    33
Observatory Skin    32
Inventory expansion +10    25
City Blueprint    25
Max Time Points Upgrade – Gold    23
Military Uniform – Yellow    22
Masked Trench Coat – EB    22
Island    22
3000 Time Points    20
Max Time Points Upgrade – Silver    17
500 Time Points    16
200 Time Points    15
Victorian House 1 Skin    15
1500 Time Points    13
Exp. Points Bedside-Manner    13
Mad Manor Skin – Black    13
Haunted Victorian House Skin    12
Max Time Points Upgrade – Copper    11
Military hat 1 – EB    10
Military red coat 1 – EB    10
Victorian House 2 Skin    9
Lighthouse Skin    6
Mad Manor Skin – Green    6
Electron Stamper Upgrade +100    6
Shipyard Skin    5
Mad Manor Skin – Pink    2
Mad Manor Skin – Purple    2
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