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The Journey from 400 Microsoft Points to 80 Microsoft Points
Date 1/4/2010    Tags XBLIG, Nasty, Abduction Action!    (0)

I released Nasty at 400 Microsoft Points way back in August of 2009. I justified the higher price based on a large amount of content (100 levels, co-op play, battle mode) and a perceived high quality of the game. While people generally enjoyed Nasty, I took a lot of flack for not pricing the game at either 240 or even 80 Microsoft Points.

Very early on, it was apparent people were not buying Nasty as well as I had hoped (or even half as well as my worst case sales scenario). A price change was definitely needed, but unfortunately Microsoft's rules for Xbox Live Indie Games allows you to change prices only once every three months, meaning I was stuck at 400 Microsoft Points for quite a while.

At the end of November, I was finally able to change Nasty's pricing. I included the price change with the 1.75 update, which went live on December 5th. I dropped Nasty all the way down to 80 Microsoft Points, aiming to maximize the number of people who get to enjoy the game. In order to maintain the same sales at 80 Microsoft Points, Nasty would have to sell five times as many copies as it did previous months. Given how low sales were, I would not have been upset if this did not happen.

The change in sales from the day Nasty went to 80 Microsoft Points was dramatic, as you can see in the sales data below:

October - 400 Microsoft Points
Trials: 258
Purchases: 9
Purchase/Trial Ratio: 3.49 %

November - 400 Microsoft Points
Trials: 170
Purchases: 4
Purchase/Trial Ratio: 2.35 %

December - 80 Microsoft Points starting on 12/5
Trials: 277
Purchases: 92 (1 at 400 Points, 91 at 80 Points)
Purchase/Trial Ratio: 33.21 %

The high month for Nasty sales at 400 Microsoft Points (excluding August and September, which are much higher due to Nasty appearing on the New Releases and Top Downloads listings) was October with 9 sales (a cool $31.50 in my pocket). At 80 Microsoft Points, I would need to sell 45 copies to equal this.

The initial month at 80 Microsoft Points went well past this 45 sale mark (91 sales at 80 Microsoft Points), making $63.70 in profits for me. Certainly still far below my lofty expectations but a lot better than my sales in November ($14). The conversion rate of 33.21% was far above my expectations and I've really enjoyed looking each day and seeing sales for Nasty (in several cases, 5 or 6 sales on one day).

Overall trial download numbers appear to be trending upward as well, with December being my highest month for downloads since the initial release period (100 more downloads than the previous month). With just one month of data at 80 Microsoft Points, I can't say for sure if this is will be a continuing trend or if it's just part of a higher holiday sales period, but if conversion rates stay high (20% or more) and downloads continue to improve, perhaps Nasty will one day equal the sales I had initially hoped.

At this rate, at least Nasty should make back the money I spent to create it by the end of 2010 which is something I couldn't say prior to the price change. It's unfortunate Nasty was not priced at 80 Microsoft Points initially... given a similar conversion rate, I likely would have made back the money I spent already and perhaps Nasty would have been rated better and be getting a larger amount of downloads and subsequent purchases.

My upcoming game Abduction Action! will be priced at 80 Microsoft Points, as has always been the plan. Abduction Action! was intended to be a smaller 3-4 month project and while it is now month 5 of development, I still plan to stick to this pricing. My experiences with Nasty have shown me that a lot more people are willing to part with $1 than $5. In fact, I'll probably nev


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