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Bigpoint does sell the Tenth Drone for 1,000 EUr, but may not have made EUr 2 million from it

By on November 25, 2011

My post earlier this week quoting Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz and DarkOrbit producer Simon Davis on the success of the sale of the 10th Drone got a lot of Internet attention.

A lot of people just flat out didn’t believe it. Others called it a hoax, a PR stunt or just me being gullible.

All of this is good. It has helped to get at the truth by following up further with Bigpoint. And the truth, disappointingly, is that Bigpont may not have made €2 million from the 10th Drone.

The truth about Bigpoint’s 10th Drone

Let’s get some facts straight:

  • The 10th drone exists (you can see a picture of it above)
  • To buy the 10th Drone, you need to buy all the previous drones (the first, the second, the third and so on.)
  • If you tried to buy the 10th Drone without owning any other drones, it would cost you around €1,000
  • Bigpoint has sold 2,000 10th Drones in November 2011

This is where it starts to get messy. The 10th Drone isn’t available for cash. It is only available for the in-game currency Uridium. Uridium can be acquired by playing the game, or for real money. Bigpoint sometimes holds sales, which means that people can acquire Uridium at varying exchange rates to real money over the course of their involvement with the game..

So Bigpoint has sold 2,000 drones for Uridium that has an equivalent value of €1,000 if a player has not earned any Uridium nor bought Urididum at a discount in the past.

I suspect that Bigpoint doesn’t know exactly how much money it has made from the 10th Drone. And that’s OK. The company is customer-centric, not product-centric, and it is much more important to understand the lifetime value of a customer than to focus on how much profit a single virtual good has made.

But I no longer think that you can multiply 2,000 10th Drones sold x €1,000 to work out how much revenue Bigpoint made from this single item.


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: