Combat Monsters - Post-PostMortem

Combat Monsters - a great game made by Rubicon, a small shop.  Seen by devs as a financial failure, despite producing $110k expected in profits.  Fun game, however!

"The big bulge at the beginning was feature assisted, so to make an accurate forecast for the year, I’m just going to take that last month and multiply it by 12. With the other versions included, that’s about $110K for the year, assuming it doesn’t tail off more.
About $20K of that went on one-off payments for various things during development, so our team of six would have to share $90K between them. And this is skipping over inconvenient details like paying tax, insurance, rent, utility bills, server costs and etc., bringing the useable total nearer $50K."


They included this really interesting chart, which they said was more or less mirrored in iPhone, PC, and Android sales.

The article also talked about 3 tiers of players - freeloaders, the $3 min purchase folks (me among them), and the "Whales".  Whales -- for Devs, it means people who over-spend.

This Combat Monsters article talks about how devs actually got complaints from Whales that there wasn't more content to purchase.  HA  (Not going to hear something like that from me!!)

What I found most interesting is that I play this game regularly, dedicatedly, and I hadn't even considered that I only paid $3 for the game.  Normally, I wouldn't have paid anything for a game like this -- but something about it charmed me and I wanted to show some support.  Apparently all that didn't cut it.

They have some really great commentary at the end.  Someone read the article & wanted to try it as a 'paid game' by buying the $3 tripler.  They couldn't get the transaction through & blamed Apple.  Dev's responded, "re iTunes, it's not without problems at times, but at least it's not google - they're still throwing away about 10% of all developer earnings through "internal market error". Too busy making new doodles I guess."

Apple is so much more 'locked down' for Devs AND takes such a big cut (33%?) but they also have a lower piracy rate.  I never had any probs buying stuff from Apple, but ... I wasn't inclined to buy much. Google Play Appstore is strangely just as flawed as Apple's Appstore, but I can buy stuff (& do often)!  However, I can also very easily download stuff & block permissions (effectively getting paid apps free) and it's almost as easy as dloading it thru Google Play.  So I'm surprised the complaint is not more about piracy & less about Google having some accounting issues.

I'm writing this blog post b/c this is one of my fav games, and it's interesting to learn how they don't feel happy about their $110k game.  Better luck next time, Dev's!

Game info:  Combat Monsters is a really cool game.  It's a 'strategic CCG' (collectible card game) played on a hex map where players heroes use monsters, gear, spells, and runes to kill the other hero.  There are a lot of strategies here, but intelligence generally prevails over an EXPENSIVE deck, and luck is also often a factor.  I'd say this game has a lot of replayability.

3 comments:

Brian Cramer said...

Hi there. Thanks for writing this; it's nice to read anything CM related. I have a few questions, however...

You found it "interesting to learn how they don't feel happy about their $110k game." Assuming it was divided evenly between all six Rubicon staff, would you feel happy? Even if we use the higher number of $90K (as opposed to $50K), that's only $15K per individual. Good luck feeding your family, making ends meet, or doing much of anything on that amount. I'd be disappointed too.

Second, you claim that you normally "...wouldn't have paid anything for a game like this," a game you, one sentence earlier, said that you played regularly. The game gave you enjoyment, presumably, to play with that kind of frequency. So, it's a hobby by definition.

So, my question is: You really wouldn't spend $10, $15, hell... $30 on a hobby? I know guys who spend as much time working on muscle cars, going skiing, or amassing collectibles (their hobbies) who spend $10,000+ on their hobbies annually. How much is your enjoyment worth to you?

Just some things to consider. Stay up,
-hyperion703

R·E said...

@Hyperion -- actually, I would be willing to pay something towards the game. Perhaps $20- $15, I suppose. (I,own a PS3 and I only buy games on their for between $10-$20, but phone games are much more convenient bc I have a kid & I'm at work a lot.)

I sure would like to know their goals for the game before I do. I looked on the forum & saw a new update coming eventually w/daily matches & mystery chest -- great idea.

Hate paying to show support & then the new game comes out, or a new update w/material I could've bought, etc.

I also did buy a doubler & a tripler -- big fan of the tripler, didn't read fine print on doubler & was sad to see it expire so quickly.

R·E said...

@Hyperion -- actually, I would be willing to pay something towards the game. Perhaps $20- $15, I suppose. (I,own a PS3 and I only buy games on their for between $10-$20, but phone games are much more convenient bc I have a kid & I'm at work a lot.)

I sure would like to know their goals for the game before I do. I looked on the forum & saw a new update coming eventually w/daily matches & mystery chest -- great idea.

Hate paying to show support & then the new game comes out, or a new update w/material I could've bought, etc.

I also did buy a doubler & a tripler -- big fan of the tripler, didn't read fine print on doubler & was sad to see it expire so quickly.