Humble Bundle Results

So this blog is a few months overdue…

Back in January Epic Battle Fantasy 4 was invited to take part in the Humble “Overwhelmingly Positive” Bundle. EBF4 has been bundled before, but it was a few years ago and in a very small bundle (5K sales), so that barely counts. Back then I didn’t expect to EBF4 to have such a long sales tail, so I figured there was no harm to be done by bundling. But it turned out that EBF4 would be selling well for years after release, thanks to Steam’s Discovery update which does a lot to recommend the game to Steam users. I told myself I wouldn’t bundle EBF4 again until the sales dried up and I was invited into a more prestigious bundle. It’s quite flattering being a new Steam dev and getting tons of bundle offers, but one quickly realises that most of them want to bundle your game with garbage and devalue it.

So a long time later comes along Humble Bundle asking to sell EBF4 next to games like Shantae, N++, and Day of the Tentacle. I hadn’t played these at the time but I knew they were very popular and well rated, and also not as old as EBF4, so I was definitely bundling up rather than down with this lineup. Another major stroke of luck was that the Steam review system was changed shortly before this offer, so that reviews from key activations don’t count towards the review score. EBF4 has a Steam review score of 98% (overwhelmingly positive), which is why it was included in this bundle, and this change meant that opening up the game to a more general audience was unlikely to hurt it even if a lot of them didn’t like it. It would have been rather embarrassing if EBF4 lost this high rating during the bundle, and being the somewhat niche Flash game that it is, I would have absolutely expected that to happen.
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The bundle ran for two weeks, and with EBF4 being in the $1 lowest tier, it sold 135K copies. Around 92K of the keys were actually activated, and the amount of user engagement was incredibly low, as expected from a bundle. Very few of them left reviews or posted in the forums, and the ratio for players to owners drastically decreased (the bundle more or less doubled the number of owners on Steam). Success! This is the best result I could have hoped for: Free money for almost no work! No user complaints to deal with! Though it did hurt a bit that the other games got more attention for being in the bundle. (I lurked Reddit to see which games people were most interested in) (also the few reviews EBF4 got during the bundle were around 75% positive, so definitely much worse than usual)

Overall the bundle almost doubled my income for the year, and with Brexit plummeting the value of the UK pound, the incredible exchange rate boosted my earnings further, making last year my most profitable year ever! And I didn’t even release a game that year! Being self employed is weird.
(note: the UK tax year ends in April for reasons unknown)

The only real question left is whether or not bundling EBF4 hurt its long term sales. It’s hard to say. Sales have been a bit lower after the bundle, but they were already slowly going down, and the Steam autumn and winter sales shipped a lot of units shortly before the bundle too. EBF4 has been on Steam for over 3 years and hasn’t been getting any updates, so it’s still doing remarkably well either way. Today it still more than covers my living expenses, which is all a developer could ask for really.

12 thoughts on “Humble Bundle Results

  1. Anonymous

    Glad to hear you are doing great! By the way while talking about special sales will EBF4 participate in the steam summer sale? :ooo:

    Reply
  2. Po.Opbear

    I am glad your finances are doing well, hope EBF5 will earn you at least one or two houses. I wish ya success.

    Reply
  3. Kain

    Glad to hear it went well. Thought most people put humble the way up, so the developers dont really earn much, glad to hear it doesnt happen that way. JUst remember, that charity and goodwill should only come after earning your share, so try to wait a bit longer for EBF5, especially, since steam opened the game for more people. Good that you can finance your games, without any stress from things like kickstarter. Id advise to give an discount for EBF5 close to release for owners of EBF4, since that works wonders to catch people that bought EBF4, especially if they are not as big fans as some of us. The binding of Isaac is the best example, as many people bought the new DLC, which was unusually lowly rated for MCmillen. Well anyway just wanna wish you luck with the future of your career, since you are one of the best examples of how to do it right, or that people can earn their share as an indie dev if they really try.
    :stars:

    Reply
  4. Devin de Vries

    Looks like you can keep working until EBF5′s release without worrying too much about the rvenue income.
    That’s good to hear. :smirk:

    Reply
  5. TyloThorn

    Not only are the prices of your games incredibly friendly, but you put a lot of effort into them, and I’ve loved all the parts. I’m sooo happy that it works out well for you now, and you’ve earned it, truly. It’s also really good news for me, cause that means EBF’s future is perfectly safe for now. Best of luck for everything that is to come. And from what I’ve seen of EBF 5 so far, it’s gonna be far better than the others… thus gonna be a blast. I really love the artstyle, the graphics and generally what the area’s look like. It’s downright beautiful! Also foes and players are even better than they use to. KEEP IT UP! Can’t wait to see this release. :stars:

    No matter what anyone says, you’re a one-man-developing-army! Most games, no matter their graphics and world size, can’t hold a candle to your work!

    Reply

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