Retail PC games today cost, on average, somewhere in the area of $2 to $3 million to produce, and unfortunately, most of them end up losing money. Obviously, I didn't have that much to spend, but my shoestring budget was enough to result in a finished, working, (hopefully) fun game. Let's find out how much AfterShocked! really cost...
Dell Dimension XPS 1500 Computer $2000 CalComp Creation Station $120 Used MetaCreations Painter Classic software $20 New monitor because the old one broke from resolution switching $350 NoteWorthy Composer $20 Midi2Wav Recorder $15 Mp3&Wav Converter $18 Total $2543
That's right-- the average retail game carries a price tag of approximately 1,000 times what AfterShocked! cost to make. For a more extreme example, let's turn to industry laughingstock Daikatana. After more than three years in development (around what AfterShocked! took), the game was released in May of 2000. Total cost: reportedly $30 million plus. With a budget 12,000 times as great as AfterShocked!'s, one would think that it would be 12,000 times better. Yet, upon release, it was hailed as the worst game ever made... ever. Now, let's talk profits.
Total copies sold 0 Cost per copy $0 Production cost $2543 Total profit -$2543
Ouch! Sounds bad, doesn't it? Well, consider this: Daikatana sold somewhere in the area of 21,000 copies at $30 a pop. That's $630,000, for a loss of more than $29 million. My game was more profitable than Daikatana. What's the point of all these stupid, unfair comparisons? To be honest, I don't know, it's just fun to make them.
Seriously though, I never expected to make much money, if any, off of this project. For awhile, I considered the idea of releasing the game for free and charging $5.00 or so for a walkthrough and other registration goodies. The walkthrough (a.k.a. hints section) was made available for free, because I wanted anyone to be able to get all the way through the game if they felt like it. Aren't I generous?
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