Joe Danger was released on the PlayStation Network about a month ago, and has so far met with favorable reception. Heck, we liked it, that’s good enough, right?
With that said, there are no doubt some Xbox 360 owners who are wondering when the game will arrive in their neck of the woods. And the answer? Probably no time soon.
The reason being, according to Sean Murray of developer Hello Games, is because “it was the only way we could self-publish.” As he told those in attendance at the Develop Conference in Brighton today, the top ten games on Xbox LIVE Arcade have high profiles among consumers and tend to sell very well, while a significant portion still sell less than 25,000 before fading into obscurity.
“XBLA is kind of a slaughterhouse for smaller developers. There are games that do amazingly well. But there’s two titles released every week and a lot of those are falling in that 25,000 or less category.”
Murray noted that these were his own stats which were collated from Xbox LIVE Arcade, and not official figures. Nonetheless, he believes them to be accurate.
Of the games published on the service without the assistance of third-parties, he estimated that 47 percent sold beneath the 25,000 mark, with 23 percent hitting around 100,000, 13 percent for 200,000, and 17 percent beyond that. Meanwhile, on the PlayStation Network, Joe Danger was able to break even on its first day before going on to hit the 50,000 mark in its first week.
Despite this, Murray believes that console services are “ripe” opportunities for independent developers, even though they are viewed as “the ginger step-child” of the digital download market by third-party companies who are unwilling to take on risky ventures in that space. “It’s not to say publishers are shit, but small studios are amazing in this space,” he stressed.
It wasn’t for lack of trying that Hello Games didn’t go with a third-party publisher for Joe Danger. During early talks, they received a number of knock-back statements, including:
- “Name me one popular game with motorbikes”
- “We want games that are less about fun right now”
- “Can Joe be a monkey? We like monkeys”
Funny, it seems as though there were some popular games with motorbikes… Mario Kart Wii springs to mind. And does anyone know how Excitebike: World Rally did?
In any event, Murray ended his presentation without saying what Hello Games was working on next. However, he did reveal that if the four-man team could double in size, then “what we could do with eight people could be fucking amazing, basically.”