How much money can you realistically make ona RPG maker game?

TheouAegis

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On the contrary, some big companies have reported recently that their games are selling very well on PC, especially compared to 10 years ago, when there was zero incentive for companies to release and / or port games for PC.

Also, making games becomes simpler every year. 10 years ago you had to learn Game Maker, or use some outdated, simplistic version of RPG Maker. Now even some big engines offer visual scripting, or blueprints, for those less inclined towards programming.

If anything games made by smaller teams will become more and more popular with time. There is a lot more freedom and creativity when devs are not held down by shareholders. That is not to say there is no creativity in the AAA industry, but those games tend to be a lot more... sterile, so they can appeal to wider audiences. Meanwhile, small devs HAVE to focus on precise audiences, we just can't attempt to please everyone.

Also, lots of people were influenced by solo devs and small teams who released fantastic games in the past decade. ConcernedApe (Stardew Valley), Scott Cawthon (Five Nights at Freddy), Toby Fox (Undertale), the two dudes who made Nuclear Throne, the list goes on.

RPG Maker games aren't going to anywhere, just look at Omori. I also think She Dreams Elsewhere will sell pretty nicely, and so will my game (modesty? what is that?). I can see RPG Maker fading away once more robust engines heavily improve on their visual scripting and similar approaches to making games.

I also don't think devs working for big companies make that much money, save for those in top positions such as the game director or people with years, decades of work on their portfolios.

Your post sounds like bait, but I felt like it was good opportunity to voice some thoughts.
Yeah yeah, nice theory, release a game and get back here then we can talk
 

Kes

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Realistically, I'd be surprised if an RM game released nowadays--with default assets and very little/no marketing--ever sold more than 50 copies in its lifetime, maybe a hundred if the quality of the game is high enough.

I am assuming that your comment really is limited to just those games which are default only, as it isn't true as a general comment. All my games have sold way, way past these figures - though my biggest sales are not on Steam but on the Aldorlea site which caters for people who want to play the type of game I make. I have been able to build up a good reputation there, so I know that there is a solid core of players who will buy my current project just because they trust me to turn out something they'll enjoy.
 

jkweath

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I am assuming that your comment really is limited to just those games which are default only, as it isn't true as a general comment. All my games have sold way, way past these figures - though my biggest sales are not on Steam but on the Aldorlea site which caters for people who want to play the type of game I make. I have been able to build up a good reputation there, so I know that there is a solid core of players who will buy my current project just because they trust me to turn out something they'll enjoy.

Yeah, I should've specified that my comment was limited to RTP games released on Steam. I've seen plenty of good-quality RTP games sell well past those figures on Aldorlea.

Steam is a different story IMO, where an RTP game with no marketing or name recognition from the developer is dead on arrival.
 

Kes

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Steam is a different story IMO, where an RTP game with no marketing or name recognition from the developer is dead on arrival.
That is something I wholeheartedly agree with.
 

Plueschkatze

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I would agree and add that I think asset flip games, that are easily spotted as such, usually sell worse than once with custom artwork (if that is of good quality). I think asset flip originally refers to games whichs mechanics/code you could buy and dress up with different assets, but I also count the games were you can clearly recognize the assets as "bought in Unity Asset Store" or "bought in Unreal Asset Store" or simply "oh, RPG MAKER RTP" into that, as these are way easier to spot.
 

BCj

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I have to say, anything with rpg maker rtp is usually an instaskip for me :rswt
 

TheouAegis

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Yeah, I should've specified that my comment was limited to RTP games released on Steam. I've seen plenty of good-quality RTP games sell well past those figures on Aldorlea.

Steam is a different story IMO, where an RTP game with no marketing or name recognition from the developer is dead on arrival.
I think I saw your game on Google Play before. I want to ask that do you have to run ads to have people noticed of your games? Or was it auto-sell?
 
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For commercial RPG Maker games, I think that consideration also needs to be made for whether one sells their game to multiple platforms.

Mac users for example, have seen some impressive growth in the past several years. There was an estimation in 2018 that around 1 in 10 personal computers was a Mac, and earlier this year, it has been estimated that around 2 in 10 personal computers is a Mac.

Marketing and selling the same RPG Maker game to both PC and Mac users might provide a significantly larger safety net for breaking even, even if not quite reaching profitable status.

It's also worth noting that the cost of development may increase as well, because for example, if you're planning to sell for Mac, you'll need a Mac to test your game for Mac, and even if you already have a Mac, there's a fee for registering a game with Apple so that users' Macs will automatically recognize your game as safe software.
 

BCj

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In some cases you also had to re-built your game from scratch on a mac so it'd work on mac. :rswt
 

ShadowDragon

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games from RTP can be nice @BCj which I played one from a game, with
some light plugin, and it turn into something amazing.

ofcourse, it doesn't sell great probably, but if it's nicely done, why not?

but can you earn from games you made? maybe not much,
but if you like rpg maker and cannot make games (which I do as a hobby),
selling high quality plugins/tilesets gets probably even more money from
games you made in general (for the people that can make outstanding games).

but just create one, send out a demo that get people into the story, that
they want to buy it to see how the full version end.

but any road is hard, it depends on the people, fame or no fame, starters
do it from their own pocket or do it alone, so that it takes time.

just enjoy it, and if you get money from selling or donation, it's always profit :)
whether it sells good or bad.
 

jkweath

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I think I saw your game on Google Play before. I want to ask that do you have to run ads to have people noticed of your games? Or was it auto-sell?

I did try running ads but got few conversions out of it. I think ads work much better for freemium games (mine are all paid)

I wouldn't say my games "auto-sell" but getting some early ratings/reviews and running discounts are essential to making any money off the Play Store. Steam is arguably similar, but Google Play, AFAIK, does not give new releases any sort of exposure whatsoever. All new releases start at the very bottom and have to work their way up somehow.
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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No offense, but the question is wrong. You mean "indie PC game" (and whatever other platforms you can get it to run/sell on), not "RPG Maker Game". If you're making your commercial game in RPG Maker, that's fine, that's great, I'm doing that too, but you don't want to market what you're selling as "an RPG Maker game" except to specific markets (this site/forum might be seen as one such market) where that is a merit/a selling point: everywhere else, steam, itch, every other storefront you can find, you're going to be marketing your indie PC game on its unique strengths and qualities, not on the basis of it being an RPG Maker game. In most markets, being made with RPG Maker is not a point that is going to sell a game to an audience (as several people have pointed out with varying degrees of fairness and/or tact, it may well be a black mark against a game to certain prospective buyers).

Even then, the answer becomes another question: how hard are you going to market it (how many hours are you going to put into pimping your game on social media, on store fronts, and in online gaming communities) and how smart are you going to market it (how efficiently will your marketing plan translate those hours into copies moved) ?

I am assuming that your comment really is limited to just those games which are default only, as it isn't true as a general comment. All my games have sold way, way past these figures - though my biggest sales are not on Steam but on the Aldorlea site which caters for people who want to play the type of game I make. I have been able to build up a good reputation there, so I know that there is a solid core of players who will buy my current project just because they trust me to turn out something they'll enjoy.

I agree, and I was going to say those numbers seem very low to me even speaking as someone that hasn't released a game commercially yet. The unstated assumptions you outlined here make the numbers given make a lot more sense, w/o those qualifiers those estimates were unrealistically bleak.

Slightly Personalish Blather/Tangent
I am myself in an awkward position. I don't doubt the old trueism that "if you want to make a small fortune making RPG Maker games, start with a large fortune". This is absolutely not a thing you do "just" for the money: realistically, it's probably something you can't even afford to do unless you are already surviving the **** fight that is capitalism by other means. But I'm much too disabled to hold down a real job, but apparently not disabled enough to actually get disability benefits from the gov't, and all of my marketable skills are creative in nature. I am 'lucky' in that I am unemployed but not homeless, at the present moment I have housing security, so I can (and do, and am) work on this full time...as much as a disabled person with Bipolar Disorder Type II on top of his primary disability can be said to do ANYTHING full time (my full time is maybe another person's "part time" if you squint). Anyway, unrealistic as it might be to suspect even subsistence level earnings for me, this is my only realistic source of income right now besides other creative endeavors that are just as niche and just as difficult to market to anything resembling a substantial audience.

But this isn't a potential source of income AT ALL until I actually get the game done:

Honestly, I'm not even worried about how much money I can realistically make, I'm worried about getting the game done. One thing at a time. I have been vaguely worried about if my game will move any units if I ever finish it for approximately one half of one decade of time as humans reckon it, and that entire time I have never actually finished a game for sale, and indeed the game I'm failing to finish has changed not just once but several times. So for me the most correct answer is, who cares until you finish it. Even if I were to sell zero copies I'd still rather have a finished game than not.

I haven't finished an RPG Maker game since 2017, and before then I hadn't finished a game since 2008, and I still haven't finished a feature length game since 2006. The games I did finish and release prior to 2010 (and the vast majority of projects I worked on during the 2010s) were free games, not commercial projects, owing in no small part to their reliance on ripped graphics and/or more importantly commercial music to which I did not own the rights/could not afford to license. I have been working as hard as I can make myself (as I mentioned, not as hard as an able-bodied, neurotypical person with the same amount of free time would be able to work, I have some serious limitations to overcome) on getting something I can actually legally sell done for the last few years.
 
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