I wasn’t very happy with my first article about revenue shares, so I made a second one, more focused and more hands on.
This will mainly interest our contributors. However I have decided to keep it public in case it might inspire thoughts, initiatives or comments.
The main reason that contributors are offered revenue shares is that it helps looking at the project in a positive way:
- The project is exciting
- There is something to learn doing this project together
- The project will be successful and we want to be successful together
I want our game to be exciting AND profitable. To make sure that this happens, I try to give freedom and choices to all our contributors. You pick your tasks, decide when to stop and deliver at your own rate.
Aside from imagining games, writing code and doing a fair bit of everything, I make sure that all parts fit nicely together and monitor the market to make sure we’re making an awesome game that some players will like.
Anime 3D SFX : The Revenue Share FAQ
What’s a revenue share?
In short after Apple take their 29% cut, we share the remainder.
A typical share may be anything between 1% and 15%.
Initially shares pay over a 6 months period, starting from the date of product release. If you contribute significant work to another game (or an update to the same game) during the 6 months period, your share is renewed for another 6 months.
How are revenue shares evaluated?
I take three factors in consideration:
- Output – how much work was delivered, compared to the overall size of the project.
- Time – how much effort was put into the work. This is why keeping track of your time is a good idea.
- Quality – usually I assure this upfront by choosing who we are working with, and suggesting tasks that are suitable for them.
How much % do I get?
Initially I start with a grid. For example the grid for Spectral looks like this:
- 9% - Game Design / Concept / Story
- 29% – Programming (does not include engine development)
- 14% – Level Design
- 24% – 3D art
- 5% – 2D art
- 10% – Sound
- 9% – Marketing / Admin / Management
So if you’re doing ‘sound’, the maximum you might get is 10%, unless I revise the grid later on.
Then as we go along and you deliver artwork, I will let you know how your share is doing. Typically the first 1% or 2% are complimentary (easy to get), then it’s more based on your output, and the last points are hard to get (the devil is in the details).
I’m trying to do it nicely – so you know that your work is valued while delivering – but without wasting time on petty calculations.
How much money will I get?
Likely, more than you would if you charged reasonable fees.
How do you even know that?
I regularly spend time estimating how much money games make, and how much risk is associated with making certain kinds of games.
Additionally the outlook is pretty good compared to my first game, which I did part time, as a solo project, and without any experience of the market. Antistar made some money, and
still makes a little bit of money although it’s been out for 18 months already.
What is the maximum we might get?
If we make a really good game, it could make $10,000 per month for a few months. For an indie game on a low budget, this is ambitious.
When will I get my money?
In a worse case scenario, you start getting paid 2 or 3 months after product release. Apple does not credit our account right away, and we may not have clear funds other than what they send,
although we get daily reports about our income and we share this information with you.
For minor shares, I may extrapolate to reduce the number of transactions (meaning, pay you in advance).
What if something goes wrong?
Hopefully we fix it. Typically problems can arise from undetected usability issues, or initially pricing may not be optimal.
Contrary to popular belief, getting it 100% right from day 1 is not a requirement (well, we try to!)
Few people know that Angry Birds lingered at the bottom of the charts for several months before the guys who made it fully digested the fact that hardly anybody (on iPhone/ iPod Touch) would pay more than $1 for it.
What is the idea behind the 6 months limit?
There are running costs involved in the game business. Minimally this includes developing and maintaining a game engine, or at least a game framework, buying test devices, doing customer support, sometimes buying a little advertisement, PR or industry reports.
These running costs are ‘not on the grid’.
Overall, as I work full time on our projects, I also need to make it worth my time no matter how much fun it is.
In certain situations I will offer an extension to the 6 months period, whether or not you remain active on our team.
Why do I get $100 after completing a few tasks?
Because I think it’s nice.
If you prefer you can get a %1 share instead. Seems like a good bet but personally I would rather get a little money first, which would put me in a good mood to contribute more work.
Aside from doing my part, how can I help?
- Keep your eyes peeled. Seize every opportunity to learn more about the product.
- Communicate! A virtual, international team is cool but it also means that we need to put extra efforts in letting each other know what goes and how it goes.
=> Lack of communication increases the cost of integration, leaving less time for finishing touches.
- Share your opinions and your doubts. The design of this game has already improved a lot because some people tilted their head a little and pointed something out.
- Add a nice touch to everything you do. Step back from your work and think, how could I add a nice touch?
- Be proud of your work and let your friends know about it. If you can’t even do that, then you probably missed point 2 (share your opinions and doubts).
- Translate the game and description in your own language (if other than English). This makes a big difference and can get done in a couple of hours (by default we do English, Japanese, Chinese, French and hopefully German – and we do it well!).