When I released my indie game Mystic Mine, I had no idea if the Linux version was going to sell. But 7 months later, I must say the results are quite surprising.
Recently I got interviewed by Linux Gaming News about my indie game Mystic Mine, and one of the questions was how many Linux copies I sold. I looked into it and saw that I sell the most copies for Mac OS X, then for Linux, and the least for Windows. I didn’t make much of it, because as an indie game developer it’s easier to get noticed on Mac OS X or Linux than on Windows. And selling games is all about exposure. But after people started to ask questions on this, I looked further into it, and what I discovered really surprised me.
Before releasing Mystic Mine, I honestly had no idea if it was going to sell on Linux. I expected it to sell well on Mac OS X and Windows, because other indies have already reported this, but on Linux, I had absolutely no idea. My initial thoughs were that Linux users are used to getting quality stuff for free, so I didn’t expect them to pay for software. So would they pay for games? Probably not. But now I know how wrong that assumption was. Just look at my findings below.
I released Mystic Mine the 3rd of February 2009, so currently there is 7 months of statistical data. Let’s first take a look at the web visitors I got during that period:
So I got 40.29% visitors using Windows, 36.30% using Mac and 22.58% using Linux. Nothing special with these figures, because it’s easier to get Mac or Linux exposure, but there are still a lot more Windows users.
But if you look at my sales, that’s quite a different story:
- Mac OS X: 42.72%
- Linux: 33.98%
- Windows: 23.30%
Linux represents 1/3rd of my total sales, which is quite a lot if you compare that to the number of Linux visitors I get. And now comes the cool part. Below are the conversion rates per OS for my Mystic Mine game. Conversion rate means the number of sales I get per visitor (Remark that indie game developers normally work with sales per demo download, not per web visitor):
- Linux: 0.43%
- Mac OS X: 0.39%
- Windows: 0.19%
As you can see Linux is way up there, which is quite a surprise to say the least. For every 232 Linux visitors I get on my website, one of them buys my game. If you compare that to windows users, I need 526 of them to get a sale. For Mac OS X it’s 256. So who would have thought that Linux users are the most eager to buy an indie game? Certainly not me.
Of course these statistics are for my game only. Therefore I would love to see some other indie game developers release their sales statistics on this, because if they get the same results as me, Linux is a more viable gaming platform than anyone currently assumes.