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How are Indie games actually performing on Switch? Sales reports so far

Boiled Goose

Banned
Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#1
With the timely announcement of new Indie games coming to Switch, I’ve tried to compile sales reports for notable Indie games released on Switch so far. If I have missed any reports (whether more recent updates or updates for games not currently included), please post the source and I’ll update the OP.

As a summary, most of the reports so far are overwhelmingly positive, with Switch versions in many cases being the highest selling and in some cases even outselling all other versions combined. I could only find one report stating that the developers were not happy with sales so far. (Note: there is of course a bias in reporting success stories over failures, but the number of successes is something to note as well). There are also other games that are likely successful, but I couldn’t fine reports from the developers (Rocket League, Golf Story, etc.)

Now, why are Indies seemingly doing so well on Switch?

My thoughts:

1) Well suited for platform: smaller games are great for portable play, Indie games have less performance and visual compromises on the less powerful Switch hardware.

2) Well suited for the audience: the Switch userbase is currently enthusiast and active. Many Indie games echo older aesthetics, genres, and playstyles that the older Nintendo gamers grew up with and that Nintendo still actively cultivates (2D platformers, metroidvanias, etc.)

3) Less competition: some people will claim that these games are only doing well because there are currently less games on the eShop with the Switch being a new system, but I don’t think this is a big factor. Current gen systems were also new at one point, and it seems indies on Switch are outperforming even when launch aligned. However, the Switch as and will continue to miss many third party AAA games, thus leaving more room for Indie games to shine.

4) No virtual console: people having been asking for VC on Switch since before it launched, but the truth is that the popularity of Nintendo’s classics would completely overwhelm Indie titles. I think if Nintendo wants to continue to let Indies thrive on Switch, they’ll need to rethink how they distribute their classic content. Releasing classic games one by one all over again will overshadow new Indie games.


Game Sales Source Date

Steamworld Dig 2 10x Steam"}">>10x Steam https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/kzgq7y/steamworld-dig-2-sales-switch 12/1/17


Blossom Tales 20x Steam"}">>20x Steam https://nintendoeverything.com/blos...-now-surpassed-steam-sales-by-a-factor-of-20/ 8/27/18


Death Squared PC, PS4, Xbox One combined"}">>PC, PS4, Xbox One combined https://www.vg247.com/2017/09/15/se...ing-much-better-on-switch-than-anywhere-else/ 9/15/17


Oceanhorn PC, PS4, Xbox One combined"}">>PC, PS4, Xbox One combined https://www.vg247.com/2017/09/15/se...ing-much-better-on-switch-than-anywhere-else/ 9/15/17


Wonder Boy PC, PS4, Xbox One combined"}">>PC, PS4, Xbox One combined https://www.vg247.com/2017/09/15/se...ing-much-better-on-switch-than-anywhere-else/ 9/15/17


Wulverblade PC, PS4, Xbox One combined"}">>PC, PS4, Xbox One combined https://nintendoeverything.com/wulverblade-dev-puts-strong-switch-sales-into-perspective/ 5/28/18


Stardew Valley ~1M https://comicbook.com/gaming/2018/04/27/stardew-valley-nintendo-switch-overcooked-sales/ 4/27/18


Overcooked ~500k https://comicbook.com/gaming/2018/04/27/stardew-valley-nintendo-switch-overcooked-sales/ 4/27/18


Fast RMX 100k https://gonintendo.com/stories/289279-shin-en-on-fast-rmx-sales-requests-for-switch-ports-next-game 9/3/17


Blaster Master Zero 110k Switch + 3DS https://twinfinite.net/2017/10/master-blaster-zero-sales-milestone/ 8/3/17


Kamiko 200k https://nintendowire.com/news/2018/...-sales-switch-fairune-collection-coming-soon/ 4/9/18


Hollow Knight 250k in two weeks http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/06...50000-copies-on-switch-in-its-first-two-weeks 6/29/18


Snipperclips 350k http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/...g-news-snipperclips-sales-e3-and-mobile-plans 4/27/17


Shovel Knight 370k (highest revenue, fastest sales) http://yachtclubgames.com/2018/04/two-million-copies-of-shovel-knight-sold/ 4/11/2018


Brawlout 50k http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2018/01/brawlout_has_passed_50k_sales_on_the_switch 1/3/18


Graceful Explosion Machine 50k http://www.vertexpop.com/blog/graceful-explosion-machine-one-year-later/ 4/12/18


Voez 50k https://nintendosoup.com/kamiko-voez-continue-break-sales-milestones-switch/ 1/1/18


Sonic Mania Plus PC, PS4, Xbox One combined)"}">52% (>PC, PS4, Xbox One combined) https://comicbook.com/gaming/2018/07/25/nintendo-switch-sonic-mania-plus-biggest-seller-sega/ 7/25/18


Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon PC, PS4, Xbox One combined)"}">56% (>PC, PS4, Xbox One combined) https://nintendoeverything.com/over-50-of-bloodstained-curse-of-the-moons-sales-have-been-on-switch/ 6/5/18


Mutant Mudds Collection 7,500k (Just OK) https://www.dualshockers.com/mutant...ls-ok-nintendo-switch-despite-marketing-push/


Enter the Gungeon 75k in two weeks https://www.pcgamer.com/indie-veterans-on-the-state-of-indie-games-on-nintendo-switch-versus-steam/ 3/14/18


Mighty Gunvolt Burst 80k Switch + 3DS https://www.perfectly-nintendo.com/...demo-now-available-free-dlc-character-unlock/ 12/30/17


Furi Exceeded expectations, ~PC http://www.n-europe.com/news/furi-s...unch-on-switch-for-developers-the-game-bakers 2/6/18


Super Meat Boy first day sales close to debut on Xbox 360 https://www.pcgamer.com/indie-veterans-on-the-state-of-indie-games-on-nintendo-switch-versus-steam/ 3/14/18


West of Loathing Happy (1/3 of PC sales) https://www.destructoid.com/west-of...-but-the-team-is-still-thrilled--509470.phtml 6/25/18


Darkest Dungeon Happy with performance https://www.pcgamer.com/indie-veterans-on-the-state-of-indie-games-on-nintendo-switch-versus-steam/ 3/14/18


Snake Pass Happy with performance https://www.gonintendo.com/stories/...alk-switch-performance-sales-cut-ideas-amiibo 6/4/17


Axiom Verge PS4 launch sales"}">Launch Sales >PS4 launch sales https://www.dualshockers.com/axiom-verge-sales-nintendo-switch-ps4-indie/ 2/2/18


Celeste Most on Switch https://nintendoeverything.com/celeste-has-sold-the-most-on-switch/ 2/3/18


Has Been Heroes Most on Switch https://gonintendo.com/stories/291991-switch-version-of-has-been-heroes-sold-the-best-says-developer 10/3/17


Thimbleweed Park Most on Switch https://forums.thimbleweedpark.com/t/twp-players-on-steam-revealed/2891/15 7/5/18
 
Oct 27, 2017
544
#2
These games sell well because they are games you can pickup and play for 30-45 mins and move on. Some AAA titles require much long and more thought to progress. Switch and Indie are a great combo. I’ve bought multiple copies of games just to play moving around the house. Also helps that these are great games and priced respectably as well.
 
Nov 20, 2017
2,417
#4
Less competition: some people will claim that these games are only doing well because there are currently less games on the eShop with the Switch being a new system, but I don’t think this is a big factor.
This isn't a factor, and hasn't been since fall 2017, when the number of games coming out per week started to beat out Switch's early pace of releases per month.

There are now almost 1,000 games on the eShop after just shy of a year and a half. (I think I counted 975 or so unique titles a couple days ago?)

Lack of choice is absolutely not the reason why some indie titles are selling exceptionally well.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,199
#6
There are a few walking simulators like Kona with a relatively high price that probably didnt do gangbusters.

But those games are right up my alley, just find their pricing to be s tad high. I dont think Kona has ever been on sale yet either.

I plan to double dip on Gone Home cause i love that game. I just hope the price is reasonable for an older port
 
OP
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

Banned
Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#7
This isn't a factor, and hasn't been since fall 2017, when the number of games coming out per week started to beat out Switch's early pace of releases per month.

There are now almost 1,000 games on the eShop after just shy of a year and a half. (I think I counted 975 or so unique titles a couple days ago?)

Lack of choice is absolutely not the reason why some indie titles are selling exceptionally well.
I think "less competition" was a factor, like, 10 months ago or something. But not anymore.
I agree, which is why I said it's not a big factor. However, I think that the smaller amount of AAA games give more mindshare and attention to the 'notable' and more major Indie releases.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,667
#8
I agree, which is why I said it's not a big factor. However, I think that the smaller amount of AAA games give more mindshare and attention to the 'notable' and more major Indie releases.
Yeah, this is true. Nintendo treating indies on the same level as a more "traditional" game is helping a lot.
 
Oct 28, 2017
761
#10
Cosmic Star Heroine on Switch is trending below Steam sales (which the developer mentioned were below its projections). That is one that I don't understand. Octopath proved that there is a ravenous market for old school RPGs, and the game has the exact same type of trajectory as Blossom Tales (Kickstarter hype, release on other platforms, later release on Switch).
 
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

Banned
Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#11
Cosmic Star Heroine on Switch is trending below Steam sales (which the developer mentioned were below its projections). That is one that I don't understand. Octopath proved that there is a ravenous market for old school RPGs, and the game has the exact same type of trajectory as Blossom Tales (Kickstarter hype, release on other platforms, later release on Switch).
Link to report?
(So that I can update my list)
 
Oct 27, 2017
164
#14
Nintendo Promoting indie games with their nindies videos are really good at helping booster these sales, I imagine. It'd be nice if other markets put out the same effort for their indie games
Glad they are finding success!
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,087
#16
One of the biggest reason is "no price devaluation" :

On other platforms, indies games at launch are competing with AAA games in the same price range. When an indie is at the same price than a critically acclaimed game like Bloodborne it is very complicated and unfair.
 

Nav

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,894
#17
I am curious about Night in the Woods, Gone Home and Firewatch. I tried NitW after hearing great things about it, but it was too slow for me.

My hypothesis is that gamey games tend to do best on Switch.

One of the biggest reason is "no price devaluation" :

On other platforms, indies games at launch are competing with AAA games in the same price range. When an indie is at the same price than a critically acclaimed game like Bloodborne it is very complicated and unfair.
Extremely good point.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,093
#18
Now those are only 30 games where the eShop is now approaching 1100+ titles. It’s at the point that unless you’re a “high profile” indie game, your game is going to sadly get buried as lore and more of these games get put on the store.
 
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

Banned
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Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#19
Oct 27, 2017
3,435
#20
Cosmic Star Heroine on Switch is trending below Steam sales (which the developer mentioned were below its projections). That is one that I don't understand. Octopath proved that there is a ravenous market for old school RPGs, and the game has the exact same type of trajectory as Blossom Tales (Kickstarter hype, release on other platforms, later release on Switch).
I think knowing a physical copy is coming out before it released digitally didn’t help. It’s certainly why I haven’t bought it yet. Look at how well Octopath has done in terms of physical sales. That audience just may be more inclined to not go digital if the option is available. A lot of the games that have physical copies were announced after the fact or are significantly more expensive than their digital counterparts.
 

Alcibiades

Banned
Member
Feb 3, 2018
630
#21
You forgot the biggest reason: Nintendo is heavily pushing (and courting) indie developers. The News channel often features indie games and it now even has a channel that focuses on indie games and developers. They also regularly release "Nindie Directs" where indie games are the sole focus. And if the game is prominent enough they will even feature it during main directs or even E3 (Celeste, Hollow Knight, Rocket League, Undertale, etc.). Nintendo treats indie developers much better than Sony and Microsoft ever have.
 

Leek

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
732
#22
I'm surprised Fast RMX only sold 100k. It was a launch title, was fairly low priced, and it looked like quite a high quality game. Maybe that's just the best arcade racers can hope for these days.
 
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

Banned
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Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#23
I'm surprised Fast RMX only sold 100k. It was a launch title, was fairly low priced, and it looked like quite a high quality game. Maybe that's just the best arcade racers can hope for these days.
Numbers are from last September. I don't have more recent sales numbers.
 
Aug 5, 2018
1,062
#24
Cosmic Star Heroine on Switch is trending below Steam sales (which the developer mentioned were below its projections). That is one that I don't understand. Octopath proved that there is a ravenous market for old school RPGs, and the game has the exact same type of trajectory as Blossom Tales (Kickstarter hype, release on other platforms, later release on Switch).
I think that’s mainly because of marketing unfortunately. Like, I would not have known about the game if not for a dev being on this forum, so just not as many people are aware of it as a good JRPG.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,245
#25
Lack of big back catalog of good games. Other platforms have years and years of releases that you've to compete with, that get heavily discounted. (Both AAA and indies).

I'd imagine switch sales are eating from other platforms too, with it's portability option. (From those who have/are planning to have Swtich)
 
Oct 28, 2017
761
#26
I think knowing a physical copy is coming out before it released digitally didn’t help. It’s certainly why I haven’t bought it yet. Look at how well Octopath has done in terms of physical sales. That audience just may be more inclined to not go digital if the option is available. A lot of the games that have physical copies were announced after the fact or are significantly more expensive than their digital counterparts.
In any case, I hope they see a big uptick when that physical version drops. Hell, I have thought about buying that physical version as well, just because of how crazy it sounds (it has like a 70+ page manual). I just want them to hit their long overdue homerun because I want to see their stellar direction with the resources to make games with bigger scopes.
 
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

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Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#27
Lack of big back catalog of good games. Other platforms have years and years of releases that you've to compete with, that get heavily discounted. (Both AAA and indies).

I'd imagine switch sales are eating from other platforms too, with it's portability option. (From those who have/are planning to have Swtich)
This doesn't apply if Switch releases are outperforming games released early in the lifecycle of other systems.

found another one. Slimesan most on Switch.
https://www.destructoid.com/slime-s...lebrate-with-free-dlc-and-a-sale-491162.phtml
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,985
#29
The developer is a poster on here. I am a big fan of their work so I send them all of my energy but it hasn't paid off for them yet.



from this thread:
https://www.resetera.com/threads/why-octopath-traveler-is-selling-so-well.63759/page-3#post-11777390

I guess I would put it in the "OK" category. (Maybe even "Happy", but that seems like it is reserved for stuff that is a "big hit")
I wonder how many are waiting on the Physical Edition that was already announced.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,246
Vancouver BC
#30
Indie games have only gotten better and better as time has gone on so I think that's sort of a factor.

Not sure where it fits into this but I can tell you my interest in Indie games has only gone up as they've gotten more sophisticated and authentic.

By authentic I mean they're getting better and better at realizing the feel of classic games they're inspired by. They also feel like "real" games more and more as opposed to experiments like I felt they were before. Owlboy, Cursed Castilla, Streets of Red, Dead Cells, and Hollow Knight feel much more substantial and authentic than most Indie games from the last generation.

They truly feel like games of the era.

However I am a biased atmosphere whore and much prefer when Indie games take themselves seriously as opposed to the more jokey affairs (which we still get).
 
Oct 27, 2017
826
#31
Disappointing to here that. Guess even though we have seen big improvements on the indie side from Nintendo they are still not perfect. Although I suppose there is also only so many games they can push and promote so there is some level of selection / luck of the draw. Hopefully sales continue coming in on the Switch at a good rate and the physical version does great
 
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

Banned
Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#32
I'd recommend trying to get some renewed attention when the physical edition launches. Maybe by then octopath players will be looking for something new to play.

It seems Nintendo promotes late ports if they have some sort of exclusive feature.

By the way, even if you can't provide numbers, can you provide a comparison with other platforms? Would you charactize the Switch sales as disappointing, ok, or good? (To include on the list in op)

Also, I'm definitely interested in the game, but haven't gotten it as there's just too much right now and I've built up a backlog. I'm one of the weird people who also only buys physical, so because the physical release is limited it depends on the timing. It's actually quite stressful.
 
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Boiled Goose

Boiled Goose

Banned
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Nov 2, 2017
5,860
#35
Thanks for the details.
It does seem that some type of exposure and visibility early really helps. Being exclusive early on Switch seems to have been amazing for Golf Story, another retro style rpg. I dunno... Seems tough . Hope the game gains some traction.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
11,987
Brazil
#38
Those are good points and I agree with them but I think the main point is that Nintendo is the first-party company giving more space and highlights to indies right now be it with news on the console, in twitter and other social media or with indies showcases/directs. It's one of it's strongest points right now even if obviously, not perfect.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,250
#39
I really think many indies are successful on Switch because people play "more" on Switch than on other platforms, and so they buy more games.

At least everyone I know who has a Switch tells a similar story, about playing a hour here, two hours there or sometimes just a few minutes because it is so easy to pick up and play. And they finish games, something that is not the norm on stationery consoles.

Many seems even to wait for Switch releases now, and hold of on buying on PC or other consoles, not only for indies but for games like Doom Eternal or Dark Souls too (would be nice if this was the reason for the low DS sales on other consoles, so there would be still hope for the series).
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,431
Western Canada
#41
It honestly bothers me that Cosmic Star Heroine didn't sell better than it did, on any platform not just Switch. I had a fantastic time with and will probably replay it a few times over the next few years, but have very few people I can talk to with shared experience. If you're a fan of RPGs from the 4th or early 5th gen and you don't own the game, then I dunno what you're doing, but you're doing it wrong.

Nintendo should have given it more visibility. Tweets are free. They could have included it in an indie reel. They could have included it in that "Games with Leading Ladies" banner in the News section.
 

JCX

Member
Oct 25, 2017
482
#42
Cosmic Star Heroine on Switch is trending below Steam sales (which the developer mentioned were below its projections). That is one that I don't understand. Octopath proved that there is a ravenous market for old school RPGs, and the game has the exact same type of trajectory as Blossom Tales (Kickstarter hype, release on other platforms, later release on Switch).
I bought CSH but haven't played it yet since I'm still working through Octopath. I suspect others may have just held off until they're done.
 
Oct 28, 2017
761
#43
Have you seen how some of these developers are doing super deep discounts? I'm seeing Plague Road discounted something like 90% and it immediately shot into the highest selling Switch games despite being completely awful. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that you discount CSH to a dollar like Plague Road did, but a deep discount definitely does get your game noticed.

I'm thinking that if your sales are in the four digits at full price, you would end up with a lot more revenue (and ultimately exposure for future projects) if you went with a deep discount strategy and had the same success.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
850
#44
I've got the Limited Run version of Cosmic Star Heroine ordered, but now I'm tempted to grab the switch version too, just to show support. Well, that and it would be nice to be able to play now rather than wait for the physical game to get here.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,487
#45
I still believe the less competition theory is a thing, but not in general. You'll have some games that are just "good" that sell hundreds of thousands compared to other stores because there are many similar games in those stores.

But it's not a general theory because look at something fairly unique like Steam World Dig 2 doing 10x better than on Steam.

That said, I wonder how the legs are of games. Switch continues to kick ass even with a massive library but I still think that their store needs an update in order to continue to highlight older non-Nintendo games.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,250
#48
I still believe the less competition theory is a thing, but not in general.
It was never a thing. Of course there was less competition in the eShop in the first few month, but the install base was much smaller, obviously. The Switch install base is still smaller than PS4 or even XOnes, nonetheless games sell very good.
 
Jan 14, 2018
1,049
#49
One of the biggest reason is "no price devaluation" :

On other platforms, indies games at launch are competing with AAA games in the same price range. When an indie is at the same price than a critically acclaimed game like Bloodborne it is very complicated and unfair.
This will happen on switch also, it's impossible to avoid. Or are you suggesting AAA should never be discounted?
 
Oct 25, 2017
144
#50
I’m really interested in CSH but I’m waiting for the physical copy. I already bought the physical release for the Vita from LRG but I’m going to keep it sealed so I want the Switch version to actually play it.