Indie Royale: How’d It Work Out?

By Alec Meer on October 31st, 2011 at 8:56 am.

What’s going on? Is everyone alright? What are the arguments of the day? I’ve been on holiday (but travelling no further than my own front room, alas) for the last week and all this seems bewildering and strange. Big, blank white space to write words about PC games into, a buggered RSS feed to try and fix – right, I can do this, it’s okay. Just need to drink a lagoon’s worth of coffee and catch up on whatever the hell’s been going on over the last seven days. Sounding particularly interesting is Indie Royale, the price-fluctuating, updated-fortnightly bundle of indie games that must be making the Humble Bundle chaps slightly grumpy (or at least more keenly competitive) – especially as its inaugral effort seems to have done pretty well.

The shtick, as our Adam explained the other day, is that everyone who pays more than the minimum price for each fortnight’s bundle lowers said minimum for every successive purchaser. However, the more people who buy, the more the price rises, so it’s all some kind of arcane balancing act in terms of whether you’re better off buying early or late. Seems to be working out, though.

IndieRoyal bundle 1 has done rather well in its first week, shifting over 36,000 copies and bringing the min. price for its sackful of Sanctum, Gemini Rue, Nimbus and ARES down to just $2.67. Which is a jolly good deal, and you have just nine hours left to get in on it.

And in ten days’ time, we’ll hear what the contents of the Difficult Second Bundle are…

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52 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    bear912 says:

    I’m pretty sure the Humble Bundle guys provided some of the web code for the sale, actually…

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Yeah, the Humble Bundle has always seemed to me as something done out of sheer love for indie gaming from some fantastic people that just-so-happened to be fantastically successful, rather than something that anyone would get competitive over.

  2. daf says:

    Ended up getting 4 copies of this, one for me and 3 to my friends just so we could all try some coop sanctum which so far asn’t happened yet :(.

    Still the big surprise of the bundle was Gemini Rue, which definitly would deserve the small price i gave all on it’s own, hopefully it will be balanced by the fact that my gifted copies of it will likely gather virtual dust on my friends steam accounts :(

    As for issues, there wasn’t really much to talk about, just had to wait a day or so for the steam key issue to be sorted and then an extra day for the gemini rue steam key which I could easily bypass if i just used the desura key or the regular download.

    • Eagle0600 says:

      I don’t know if that’s true, but I can see it happening. Seriously, the success of this could totally have the HIB guys feeling a bit competitive, but grumpy? No, they’re probably loving this.

    • psyk says:

      Shall we do some comparing?

      Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle (I’m sure the inclusion of the frozenbyte bundle pushed it up alot)
      Total sold = 231810
      Total made = $1,115,733.45 = £696,818.46 (current rate)

      Launch Bundle (8 hours 30 mins left)
      Total sold – 36148
      Total made – NA

    • nofing says:

      @psyk you can’t really compare those two. It’s a completely different system. A lot of the money for the Humble Bundles has been donated to one of the charities and that’s also a reason, why some people (like notch) paid those immensely high prices. Also for the high number of sales, there are thousands of people who buy the Humble Bundles for $0.01 and try to sell it afterwards.
      I think 36k sold bundles is pretty great, since it was their first one and there is no donating for charity involved.

    • psyk says:

      “that must be making the Humble Bundle chaps slightly grumpy (or at least more keenly competitive)”

      Would of done the first one but can’t really be arsed to fish out the email.

      Ahhhh screw it

      Total made = $1,273,613.80 = £795,667.50 (current rate)
      Total sold = 138,813

    • Chibithor says:

      One thing to note is that the Indie Royale pack was on for 5 days and Humble Bundles are on for two weeks, or at least the current one is.

  3. Premium User Badge

    hellboy says:

    Haven’t actually played any of the games yet, even though I brought this a few days ago now. Despite that, I’m happy to support indie developers and am a sucker for this kind of model.

    • siegarettes says:

      Same here. I pretty much buy all of these on principal, no matter what my interest in the games actually is.

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    I already had Sanctum so i gifted the individual code to a friend, all the other stuff landed in my own steam library (the DLC too, teeheehee). Already way more convenient than the HIB, where you only got one bundled key.

    Overall, it’s definitely a more commercial approach than the charity-y Hundle, but I very much welcome that, as it means that it will be more widely recognised as a viable business option.

  5. Belsameth says:

    Not only is it a good deal, in the meantime they also added 3 pieces of DLC to Sanctum.
    2 for the number of sales and 1 as a sorry for their launchday problems.
    Glad I got this, if only to grow my Steam library.

    • wccrawford says:

      That actually ticks me off a bit. They said they’d add 1 DLC for every 10,000 purchases. When they added that third DLC as an apology for downtime, they had passed 30,000 purchases. So it should have been added for that, and then if they wanted to apologize, they should have done something else.

      Instead, their apology now rings false since they didn’t give us anything they shouldn’t have already.

      If they give us a 4th, I’ll be mollified, but so far it hasn’t happened.

      I’m not mad about not getting free stuff. I’m mad about being lied to.

    • nofing says:

      Yep, I think so, too and the Berzerker DLC for ARES, which was added today, was already free during the summer sale, so not really a big addition there.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      The Sanctum devs had misunderstood what they were doing, so their third DLC would be available at 70, 000 sales.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      I got 3 free Sanctum DLC’s which usually costs €3 for my bundle at €1.44. It’s already well worth it.

      And try to see it from Sanctums devs. They’re getting €0.75 for each game they sell. Their hopes to get some extra income lays in the fact that they can sell some DLC for the game. Giving it all away isn’t very good marketing.

  6. OJSlaughter says:

    Apart from some initial problems (I demand my ridiculously cheap copy of Sanctum immediately dammit!) this bundle was really cool and the pricing was a great concept. Hope they keep it up!

  7. Vexing Vision says:

    Very curious “how it all worked out”. I would estimate an average prize of 3$, which for 35k copies sold is just barely over 100k – that’s not much for four games which are relatively high quality and good stand-alone products.

    I’d be surprised if the price-scaling isn’t raised to 0.03 or 0.05$ for the next bundle. It’s still a very fascinating thing, but not knowing their personal goals, I doubt it’s a real success…

    • Innovacious says:

      Well, the minimum price did spend a lot of its time around $3 and higher. I highly doubt that is the average. Quite a lot of people “beat the minimum”

      And you also have to think, these games are not exactly new releases. People have had a lot of chances to buy them so far and if they haven’t, then they probably had no intention of buying them before this pack turned up (or rather, no intention at their current prices on steam, desura, etc.). Any money is better than no money.

      And there is also the “i never knew this game even existed before” crowd. Even with them though, if this pack didn’t come along, they could have gone on for a lot longer still not knowing it existed, so that’s another no sale that became a sale.

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      Well, ‘success’ is measured in different ways according to what the aims are.

      And i’d be surprised if the guys behind this aren’t aware that (in terms of money/profit) the real success comes from what happens after the first sale.

      Plus, they’ve just had 36,000 bits of important sales data to learn from. Even if they just broke even from this first bundle (or even made a loss) it’s still odds-on favourite to be a ‘success’ financially.

    • Meneth says:

      Seeing as it is possible to pay more than minimum, and it peaked at about $6 (after being at about $5 for several days), I doubt the average is as low as $3. Somewhere in the $4 – $8 range seems more likely.

      In fact, it was only under $3 for 12 hours or so.

      Edit: Seems Innovacious beat me to it.

    • Roshin says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they raised the price-scaling. I paid 10 euros for the bundle and even that felt like a fantastic deal. I’m very curious to hear how much they made from this and what will be included in the next bundle. They have set the bar quite high.

    • psyk says:

      So the graph is a lie?

    • Teddy Leach says:

      My Crows seems pretty happy about how it’s turning out.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      You’re right, it’s € not $ I saw when watching the site. :) Still, I think 3€ is a pretty accurate estimate, considering it started at 1.50 and for the first two days, it never rose above 2.40…

    • psyk says:

      I’m seeing pounds £3.29 at the mo and the graph shows the price fluctuations nicely. Looks around even for amount of days spent above and below 3 quid.

      EDIT – Are they doing £3 = $3 = €3? If so all I can say is double standards.

    • Meneth says:

      @psyk: The price is 5.07 USD for me (I’m in Norway). Translates nicely to about 3.16 GBP.
      Seems they’re using the actual exchange rates, or close to it.

  8. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Gemini Rue was highly recommended and the price is fantastic, so I got it. Tried all of the games except GR so far and Sanctum is clearly the king of the hill. Very nice game. That Ares thing was pretty dumb though. Nimbus felt like a game I would compulsively play together with a friend for a full weekend in the olden days, but don’t really have the patience to become good at today. Pleasant surprise with the extra DLC that got added on later.

    You practically loose money if you don’t buy it.

    • Prime says:

      *Lose (http://www.gcse.com/english/loose.htm)

      I chucked a tenner at this for Gemini Rue alone. I played the demo a while back, loved it, and figured it was time to get the full thing. It hasn’t disappointed so far.

      Sanctum is a surprise win. I normally stay away from tower defence games like the proverbial plague but this one has won me over with it’s crisp, bright presentation and some surprisingly fun, tense and addictive gameplay. I’d have paid the tenner for this on it’s own as well as Gemini. Awesome.

      A.R.E.S is average at best. Turrican did this kind of thing far better and with far more élan. For fans of bright, loud, mindless blasters only.

      Nimbus is hateful. I really didn’t like it. A trite, aggravating puzzle-based, wrestle-with-my-amazingly-tedious-gameplay-mechanic’ affair. Seriously, I don’t think there’s any actual explanation given for why the ship thing you control can only plummet like a stone. Or maybe there was – I just don’t care. I scraped this one off my hard-drive after five minutes and I WON’T be going back.

  9. Xiyng says:

    Can I activate the game on Steam and still be able to play the non-Steam version with no problems?

    I have pretty much no idea whether I’m going to like these games or not but thanks to Sanctum’s idea and the screenshots I’ve seen of Gemini Rue, I bought this anyway. I didn’t like Sanctum’s demo but I love the idea, and Gemini Rue… Well, it just looks so awesome. Still haven’t got around to reading the RPS article about it, though, I’ve only seen screenshots. :P As for the other two, I don’t even remember their names, let alone know what they’re about. I guess I’ll find out eventually.

    I don’t know why I’m writing this, it’s not like this should really interest you. At all.

    • Axyl says:

      Don’t say that.. I was riveted. :)

    • TailSwallower says:

      I’m fairly certain all of the games bar Sanctum now have 3 options – Direct download (which I would assume is DRM-free as that’s what the HIB people do), Desura and Steam. You might have to choose between Desura and Steam, but even if you do I’m sure the direct download will still be available.

      As for Sanctum, I got it in a Steam bundle and didn’t think much of it at all. Slow, tedious, no aspect of it felt visceral. Orcs Must Die seemed better from the demo, but even that paled in comparison to Trenched… which should be getting a PC release soon. I already own it on Xbox, but I’ll buy it again when it’s on sale.

  10. otomo says:

    Am I the only one who is slightly worried about the ongoing devaluation of indie games trough these bundles?

    But then, the developers might get more income trough these bundles because of sheer mass than selling it for the regular price.

    • Gnoupi says:

      To be honest, I’m more worried by the 0.99$ effect of the iPhone app store to indie gaming than these bundles.

      We already reached the minimum price possible, and people still expect a great content, hours of gameplay for that. In my opinion, it comforts people in the feeling that games are “nothing serious”, and nothing to put money into.

      PC indie games remain in the “niche” area, for most, so I don’t think the damage is that big. It’s more reaching out to a larger audience.
      In PC gaming you still have different publics which are seeing different sites, markets. The most obvious example is Popcap and PvZ. 20$ on their site for casual gaming, 10$ on Steam, since the beginning.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      I did buy Sanctum at the full price as it looked like my kind of game. And it doesn’t bother me that much that you can now pick it up for €3, I had a lot of fun with the game and now even got some extra DLC. Plus, some people will now get the game and spend some money on the missing Sanctum DLC.

      A friend of mine is pretty much only playing these indie games. With the three or four bundles that have passed so far he has plenty of games to choose from. And he also told me that once the next game from the Lugaru developers comes out, he’ll buy it at full price. Others might now be interested in Trine 2.

      It’s a good way to market your new games or sell some DLC.

    • desolation0 says:

      With the bundles, it’s a matter of quantity. Same for the mobile phone markets. With the Iphone alone having such a huge install base, even a dollar adds up. Bad example for what to expect as an indie dev, but Angry Birds has apparently sold nearly 400 million copies, even if it’s only a dollar a pop that would be $400 million. That said, I hope the devs for the Humble Bundle treat it more as a huge donation to the two charities, or they may be disappointed by the low income per sale. Personally, bought 4 copies each of the Frozen Synapse bundle, and now the inaugural Indie Royale bundle (now I just need three friends to hand the extras to). Wish I’d known about Humble sooner. All told, I’ve gotten at least 50 games since the Steam summer sale, so lots of games are going to be sitting and waiting for their turn to be played.

      One thing I’ve found weird, @notch’s contribution has gone DOWN over time, I saw it at $300.01 and now it’s $299.75.

    • psyk says:

      I shall be your “friend” :p

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      To be honest, I’m more worried by the 0.99$ effect of the iPhone app store to indie gaming than these bundles.

      I was too at first. But a couple years on, there are plenty of games selling for $5.99 – $9.99 on iOS, which is more than some people seem to be willing to pay for PC games. The 99 cent ones are the cheap toys. Good games charge more.

      There’s now an expectation (at least in my mind, having played a bunch of iOS games) that if you’re under $4.99, there’s a high probability that you’re either really small or really crap. Very few good, complex, engaging games sell for less than that.

    • seamoss says:

      > One thing I’ve found weird, @notch’s contribution has gone DOWN over time, I saw it at $300.01 and now it’s $299.75.

      I think that depends on the currency in which the initial contribution was made versus the currency in which you are viewing it in your area (in other words, this is the effect of small exchange rate fluctuations).

  11. Armante says:

    thanks for pointing this out. Been wanting to pick up Sanctum in a Steam sale for a while. When I saw it bundled with Gemini Rue, which I wanted since your recent write-up, it was a must buy. Two bundles please, both over going rate, thank you very much.
    Got my key in minutes too :)

    EDIT: Oh, and for me it was a must these are all on Steam.

  12. reticulate says:

    I’ve been in on every Humble Bundle and now this, but I must admit I’ve not spent nearly as much time as I should actually playing said purchased games.

  13. automata says:

    Did I miss something on this? I tried to find out whether Sanctum was available off-Steam but as far as I checked it didn’t say anything on the site. After buying it I found out that it is not, but that seems a little misleading (probably unintentionally, but still…).

    I’m not terribly upset as I only really got it for Gemini Rue, and I kind of figured it’d probably be Steam-reliant for its multiplayer, but I think it would have been better to mention it somewhere on the site, as not everyone has or wants a Steam account.

    • Starky says:

      It clearly states on the front page of the Indie Royale site that sanctum is only available on steam.

      A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda available on: windows, desura, steam
      Gemini Rue available on: windows, desura, steam
      Sanctum available on: steam
      Nimbus available on: windows, desura, steam

      It is a steamworks game – it only runs through steam.

    • Rasori says:

      Interestingly, Desura recognizes any code from this bundle being added as the entire bundle being added — Sanctum included. When you go to install, then play Sanctum through Desura, it will inform you that the product needs to be activated on Steam, give you a pop-up box with the code (and handy copy-first-segment and copy-all buttons) and an “Activate!” button which automagically pops up Steam’s “Activate a Product on Steam” window.

      Basically, yes, it requires Steam, but Desura handles it amazingly well.

  14. Mjauv says:

    For me, the selling point of the humble bundles was the fact that the games were DRM-free.
    Indie Royale sells games that are Steam-exclusive and therefor, I loose all interest.

    • Starky says:

      1… one…. uno of the 4 games are steam exclusive – and that is because it is a steamworks game – the other 3 are available as DRM free EXE downloads, or on Desura.

      So sorry your excuse for not buying it is frankly bullshit.

    • automata says:

      One of four is still a rather significant proportion, in comparison to zero out of whatever.

    • Starky says:

      Hardly significant, sorry but he can just never play that game, it’s fine if he’s a steam hater and refuses to install it, his loss – sanctum is a great game – but passing on the other 3 fantastic games at a low, low price because 1 of them is steamworks is flat out stupidity.

      Maybe if he already owned the other 3, but then that would change the reason for not buying it wouldn’t it. Making his reason as I said, bullshit (firmly in the Penn and Teller “bullshit” mode of bullshit).

      They provided DRM free copies for every game is was possible for them to do so – no one, can provide a DRM free copy of Sanctum because it does not exist and will probably never exist.

    • somini says:

      A DRM-Free copy of a multiplayer game like Sanctum is like a DRM-Free copy of WoW. It makes no sense. Sanctum without multiplyer is nothing…

    • Josh W says:

      That’s a strange attitude, all the 90s multiplayer shooters were DRM free, as far as I can remember. They did fine!

    • Mjauv says:

      Sanctum was the only remotely interesting title in that bundle and yes, I am a “Steam hater”.

      Had the other games seemed more interesting (hey, there is a difference in quality even among indie-titles) I probably would’ve bought it anyway and just ignored the Steam-title.

    • Prime says:

      *Lose (http://www.gcse.com/english/loose.htm)

      The same mistake twice in the one thread – gah!