Report: Most Indie Game Devs Made Less Than $500 in Game Sales in 2013
According to a recent annual salaries report published by Gamasutra, indie development might not be entirely glamorous to the prospective programmer.
The report reads as follows:
- Salaries for solo developers (not on a team) dropped 49 percent from 2012, with the average developer earning $11,812 in 2013.
- Members of development teams earned 161 percent more in 2013, the average member bringing in $50,833.
- The majority of developers, at around 57 percent, reported game sales as their sole source of income within the game developing market.
- Only 17 respondents--accounting for 5 percent of all respondents--received any money from crowdfunding sources such as Kickstarter. Only 1 of these 17 respondents reported over $200,000 in revenue from crowdfunding.
- A miniscule 8 percent of respondents reported profits on paid alpha sales, and half of that 8 percent reported these profits as 96-100 percent of their total sales.
- A staggering 57 percent of all indie developers (team members and solo developers) reported less than $500 in income from game sales, while only 2 percent of developers reported profits exceeding $200,000 from game sales.
The entire report is available here, if you're interested in all of the nitty gritty.
So what does this mean?
Well, it means that the indie market isn't as profitable as it seems. Granted, not all reported numbers decreased from the previous year, with development team members making livable wages solely from developing. Overall, however, the numbers are relatively grim.
It would seem like 2013 was a great year for indie developers, with plenty of hit games releasing, such as The Stanley Parable, Stick It to The Man, Rogue Legacy, etc. And overall, the indie game market seems to be on the rise, especially in popular consciousness. With PlayStation and Xbox both making extraneous efforts to support the booming indie market that saw its rise first on PC, and especially through Steam, "indie" is no longer used as a derisive word to describe low-budget games.
Rather, the term epitomizes the utopian vision of a completely democratic game development process, in which a college student with a vision can make as much as Larry Probst, Executive Chairman of Electronic Arts. Or maybe these numbers suggest the coming downfall of poorly funded pet projects.