Of Bundles And Another Star

In case you haven’t noticed, Another Star is part of the latest Indie Royale bundle. The Debut 20 Bundle, to be exact.

Bundles have become a really controversial issue among developers. When the concept of indie bundles as we know them began with the first Indie Humble Bundle back in 2010, it was really well received. But the first Humble Bundle was a novelty. Now bundles have become as commonplace as sliced bread, with dozens of sites and brands dedicated to selling them.

To many, bundles are a waste of time for developers (with the usual exception of the flagship Humble Bundles that sometimes manage to break the million dollar mark). Many of these bundles go for less than a single game by itself, which in turn must be further cut down and shared by all the companies involved. Thousands of sales are likely to result in only a few hundred dollars at most. The devs then have to provide support for hundreds of copies of a game from which they received less than a dollar each, and post-purchase support is one of the single most frustrating and time-consuming tasks in the entire development and lifetime of computer software.

When Indie Royale contacted me about putting Another Star in a bundle, I was hesitant. It was fairly short notice, I felt it was too early to put it in a bundle, I knew the returns would likely be small, and I knew it could bite me in the rear end with an onslaught of support emails I’d have to respond to.

But I also really needed the publicity. After thinking it over, I changed my mind and accepted.

As of yesterday, Another Star had only sold 64 confirmed copies. (It’s actually sold at least one more copy than that, but FireFlower Games uses a monthly reporting format instead of a daily or realtime one. I haven’t gotten the report for October yet, but someone noted they bought it during a recent sale.) As of writing this, that number has increased by eightfold. As already noted, this doesn’t translate into much as far as dollar amounts go. I don’t think I can discuss exact numbers, but I haven’t made very much despite almost 500 copies of the game being sold so far today. But I knew that going in.

Now for the flip side. The bundle has been on sale for six hours now. In that time, I’ve gotten roughly a hundred up-votes on Greenlight. That’s more than the past three months combined. The last time I broke one hundred up-votes in a single day was in the first week of the Greenlight campaign, and the day isn’t even over yet. I seriously doubt a steady pace of 100 votes every 6 hours will keep up through the entire two weeks of the bundle deal, but if I can manage just 200 votes a day, that’ll get me into the top 100 games on Greenlight, which puts Another Star that much closer to getting on Steam. Being on Steam is not some kind of magic bullet, especially these days with so many indie games available through the service, but the importance of being on that storefront cannot be understated.

It’s too early to say whether participating in this bundle was a good idea or not, but I hope it was. If it nets me enough to finally earn a payout from Desura, I think I’ll be content if nothing else.

Regardless, the game is in the hands of 500 more people today. I hope they enjoy it.

4 thoughts on “Of Bundles And Another Star

  1. As a fellow LDer and indie-enthusiast, I must say that I probably would never have even heard of this game had it not been for Indie Royale bundle. Voted on Greenlight as well. I don’t know how much all of that counts for but I hope you do make enough money to keep on developing! Good luck.

    1. So far, the response to the game in the bundle has been pretty positive. And even though I’m not making much per copy of the game sold this way, it’s gotten the game in front of a lot of people (like yourself) who had never heard of it. Marketing an indie game is not easy, especially in such a saturated market, so this boost really seems to have gone a long way.

      In any case, each and every Greenlight vote counts, so I thank you for yours!

  2. Post-purchase support? Most developers just ignore that (only a single developer ever replied to me from a game I bought in a bundle).


    I think Bundles aren’t so bad, but the timing of placing your game in a bundle is important.

    Two points:

    1. I think bundles are particularly good for uncommon game genres that are in bundles with common game genres. Sometimes I get a bundle and then just randomly play a game from it out of boredom that I just got coincidentally because it was in bundle with a different game I wanted. Then I play it and end up liking it a lot, even though I never expected to even like games of that genre at all. While the developer won’t earn much more than 10 cents from me for the game, it will make me feel like I owe the developer something. It increases the chance that I buy his next game at full price tremendously.
    That also means that developers that put their games in bundles should have a visible presence on the internet (usually a website), so people can follow their developments of future games. These help me remember the developers. Otherwise I will probably have forgotten all about them after three months.
    This also means that the best time to put your game in a bundle is when you’re about to release a new game. In fact, most developers do it like this.

    2. Popular Bundles (mostly Humble Bundle) might actually bring you a lot of money at once, but in the long run, they usually mean a huge loss in money. Once the popular bundle ends, all people will know your game, even those that haven’t purchased it, but just knowing that “Others got it for 1 cent and now I’m supposed to pay $10 for it!?” will make many not buy the game afterwards.
    Point: Don’t do bundles for the money, do them for becoming known instead.
    Only exception is maybe when your game is old and forgotten and nobody buys it at all anymore anyway.

    So basically I think Bundles are great because they get me into genres I didn’t even expect to like, but at the same time they are a risk because they de-value your game and actually de-value indie games in general.

    1. Post-purchase support? Most developers just ignore that (only a single developer ever replied to me from a game I bought in a bundle).

      I like to think I’m doing pretty well on that front. I haven’t gotten too many emails or messages for help, but I’ve been responding as quickly as possible when I get them.

      Point: Don’t do bundles for the money, do them for becoming known instead.

      Yeah, this pretty well sums things up.

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