On units we were paid for, our royalty did not end up per unit but closer to per unit.Aspiring developers make note -- on a .95 game, if you're the developer, you can probably expect to make around per unit at the high end if you're not the publisher.But because Stardock's utility software such as Object Desktop was selling so strongly, it allowed us to develop the game while remaining in a strong financial position throughout. We had a laundry list of things from the first game that we wanted to address: But as we started looking at implementation, we realized that much of our design was half-assed. What we knew we needed to do was simply something we hadn't done before -- we needed to go with a 3D engine. It ended up doing well though we were pretty unhappy with reviews (I don't think we'll be making any more games, reviewers don't take into consideration price when they nitpick what features should be in a game). For example, it made it possible to place planets on the main map rather than tucked inside of a "star" icon. Because the 3D engine made it easy for us to let people zoom in and out of the map smoothly. So we had to be careful about what we displayed on the map.
So for a good chunk of retail sales, we never saw a penny.
In addition, because our publisher's financial issues became critical in the middle of release, Stardock ended up taking on an increasing amount of the marketing and support burden.
Galactic Civilizations III often feels like a small step forward for Stardock’s excellent sci-fi 4X series.
There are new resources to gather, new galactic ‘terrain’ features, changes to ship construction and design, and tweaks to the handling of the tech tree.
Like the first time around, we also reserved $300,000 for after-release updates, support, etc. Compared to other major retail games, our budget is tiny.
But it was still over 3 times the original's budget. So instead of only making per unit, we could expect to make between to per unit depending on various factors.
We also anticipated around 5,000 units in direct sales which would be worth apiece for a total of 0,000 in revenue.
So if we could do the game for 0,000 then we could make our investment back.
The game's success guaranteed a sequel would be made. Stardock's business software division was doing incredibly well financially and put us in the position where we could afford to both develop and publish the sequel.
For the sequel, we put together a 0,000 development budget and a 0,000 marketing budget.
Our publisher was Strategy First and they told us we could expect about per unit in royalties from North America and about half that internationally.