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How Christmas affected the sales of an indie game.

This was our first Christmas with a premium game out on the mobile market, and we were intrigued on how Christmas would affect the daily sales of our game Battlestation: Harbinger. This article shows the statistics.

Aksel Junkkila, Blogger

January 12, 2016

4 Min Read

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock! I sure hope you had a great and relaxing Christmas. This was our first Christmas with a premium game out on the mobile market, and we were intrigued on how Christmas would affect the daily sales of our game Battlestation: Harbinger (Google Play, iTunes, Steam).

Earlier I had watched with astonishment the screen of an indie developer, who was getting 300 000 daily installs to his free game. Yes you read that correct, 300 000. Per day. He showed the effect of Christmas and the curve showed over 1 million installs on the 25th of December, 2013. Boom! Over 1 million installs in one day!

I'm not in a position to name that game though, sorry :) Just know there is a serious amount of installs pouring into certain games every day. It's kind of hard to wrap your head around it, and when it continues on for years that's when it starts to be mind boggling. That's how games get over 100 million downloads.

Why does this happen on Christmas? Well, you guessed it! People get new mobile devices as gifts and head to the store to play games. Anyway, we have a premium game. Our daily installs are nowhere in that territory. Still, since the effect on that free to play game was quite big (3 times more per day) we awaited with eagerness the day Santa Claus would arrive.

Here are our daily installs and daily revenue curves for December on Android:

An interesting fact from wikipedia:

In Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th, while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, this occurs mostly on the morning of Christmas Day.

Trying to achieve more visibility during Christmas we decided to put the game on sale 50% off. This further adds to the noticeable uptick in daily installs, but as you can see from the revenue the difference is big! We achieved almost 1000€ in a daily sales, just about 4 times better than usual. The game sold over 500 copies in one day at best, and you can also see that the time after Christmas is generally much better for a while.

Turns out that we weren't the only ones doing a sale on Christmas, but despite of this we were able to rise in the rankings to top 10 according to App Annie!

Another thing that might be of interest to you is where do our buyers come from? The answer is: From everywhere! But there is one country that stands out on top of them all, and it is quite unbelievable what kind of power United States has when it comes to selling games. The people sure do like to play games there!

Above you can see the most popular countries in the last 30 days for Battlestation: Harbinger (Google Play, iTunes, Steam). United States is over 40% of the sales for the game! Other notable countries are Germany, United Kingdom and Canada, the rest then taper of to a few percentage.

Finally, let's look at the most popular Android OS versions below:

Android 5.1 seems to be the most popular OS version right now, followed by 5.0 and 4.4. Android 6.0 is starting to take over though, and it won't be long before we can see 6.0 as number 1.

Our Christmas time ratings were sky high, averaging at almost 4.8 / 5. Just a month before Christmas we made a huge update to the game, based on community feedback. And the difference to the old version can be seen quite clearly! But this story is for another time.

Next year I can return with the statistics for our Christmas sales on Steam! We are planning to publish Battlestation: Harbinger on Steam either in February or March, after our work with redoing the user interface and adding some features to make the game great on PC as well.

If you would like to try out Battlestation: Harbinger, you can do it from the links below:

Battlestation: Harbinger Google Play

Battlestation: Harbinger iTunes

Battlestation: Harbinger Steam

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