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How Curve Studios increased revenue for a PSN game by 16% with virtual goods

By on July 26, 2011

Explodemon from Curve Studios is a 2.5D action platform game on the PlayStation Network, a loving homage to SNES-era Japanese action games.

image

It has also increased its revenue by 16% with an incredibly simple virtual goods offer. Last week, producer and writer Ed Fear tweeted:

This might be an interesting stat for people: in the EU, we’ve sold over 4.5x as many Explodemon avatars as copies of the game.

He also tweeted, in response to a question from me:

  • They’re available through the PS Store.
  • For 29p each.
  • They are basically just JPGs that people can set as their PSN ID avatar.
  • People can own multiple avatars

How much do virtual goods add in revenue to a PSN game?

Explodemon on PSN costs £7.99. Curve Studios is making an additional £1.30 (4.5x £0.29) from avatars per copy. That’s a 16% uplift in revenue from some JPGs.

Pretty good going.

Of course, Curve isn’t really selling jpgs. It has found a community of people who love its game (which is, after all, a homage to a two-decade old style of games, so is likely to attract the enthusiast) and offers them the chance to express themselves by spending small, incremental amounts of money on avatar images.

In other words, it is about selling items that matter to people in a social context.

If you make a game that has a loyal following, you should consider doing the same. A 16% uplift in revenue for a day’s work has got to be worth it, hasn’t it?

 

UPDATE: Ed Fear pointed two extra elements:

  • 29p is the retail price. Curve doesn’t see all of it. (My guess is that Sony takes what is fast becoming the industry standard of 30%, meaning that Curve gets around 20p per avatar)
  • The figures only apply to the EU, so there is US/Asia revenue on top of that (although Ed implies that this is only an extra 50% of revenue, meaning that my original estimate of an extra 16% of revenue is about right

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com