Online Income Report #057 – January 2017

I make video games for a living, and each month I publish a fully transparent income report to document my online earnings. These income reports exist to demonstrate my progress, share my experiences, and motivate others who want to make money online.

Check out my online income report for January 2017.

What I Did In January

I had a super productive start to the new year and I’m feeling more motivated than ever. I love having fresh goals and targets to aim for, and there’s certainly no shortage of those ahead in 2017. I have so much to do this year!

First Steps

As I discussed in detail last month, this upcoming year is not about working harder or making more money…it’s about investing in my future and establishing a “core product” that can represent my business. I’m not expecting to earn as much as I did in 2016, and I plan to increase my business expenditure substantially. I actually have to be really cautious about managing my cash flow this year.

In January, my team took the first serious steps towards making this “core product” a tangible reality.

Kingfall is an ambitious MMORPG built with HTML5 technology, and while it’s still early in the production cycle, I hope it will eventually reach millions of players. It’s the type of project that will either be wildly successful or fail spectacularly. There’s no potential for “mild success” or “mild failure” – it’s a high-stakes project.

I plan to start publishing a development log for Kingfall in the near future, but until then I’ll keep sharing updates in these reports.

Other Stuff

I worked 97 productive hours in January and took 11/31 days off (tracked using RescueTime).

I’m currently playing Gwent, watching Black Mirror, and Nerve was the best movie I saw this month.

Platform Overview

Here’s a quick look at how my online platform performed during January 2017.


The games I publish were played 798,624 times (44,313,696 total).


My websites were viewed 20,565 times (6,041,273 total) by 5,949 unique visitors.


I have a total of 25,741 subscribers across various platforms, up 802 from last month.

Twitter – 20,201 (+355)
Facebook – 1,931 (+2)
Newsletter – 3,609 (+445)

I removed a large number of inactive newsletter subscribers this month, but the figures here have been accurately adjusted to demonstrate growth.

Online Income Report

I always have low expectations for the start of the new year, in terms of profit generation, so while this month’s revenue wasn’t anything crazy it was much more than I hoped for.

During January 2017 I earned $4,575 USD solely online ($384,245 total), down $590 from last month. My average income over the past 12 months is $9,411 so this was a significantly below average month.


There was a fairly standard distribution of income in January, although I earned more from advertising than usual. I haven’t made a significant amount of money from advertising in years, and that’s entirely on purpose. I’m always craving more passive income so this might seem odd. But the concept of “passive income” is deceptive: the upfront effort that passive income generation requires has to justify future revenue, and that’s not always the case.

Sales of my books Making Money With HTML5 and Learn To Make Games were strong this month, and I was fortunate to sell a small number of HTML5 games which generated the bulk of January’s income. I’m curious to see how my HTML5 games perform throughout 2017, especially since Kingfall will surely steal a significant slice of my attention.

I additionally sold a few copies of my Mobility Engine for GameMaker Studio which is desperately overdue for an update. I’m struggling to find the spare time to work on this, but it’s still a priority for me. I have so much on my plate right now and it’s difficult to give every project the attention it deserves.

Finally, I would like to thank this month’s top supporters: Casey Wilcox, Kennethy Oliphant, and Nicolas Bauguitte.

Thanks for reading!


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  • Oliver says:

    That is an impressive amount, even if you consider it “way below average”. I wish you all the luck =)

  • Chad says:

    Great report Matthew, makes me motivated! Btw, I’m curious, since you always put significantly low number of hours worked a month, around 100. Would you put this day as 11h worked, or would you count only the focused gamedev related work in the hours?

    • Matthew says:

      Hi Chad – thanks for your comment! Bear in mind that I list my “productive hours” and not my total hours spent in front of a computer. This month, I also took 11 days off, resulting in almost 9 productive hours for the days I actually worked, on average.

  • Willie says:

    Great decision to develop your business around a core product. I believe it takes courage to build any business around ideas that you believe in no matter what popular opinion may say. I’ve been most successful when I’ve been true to what made me feel good. I really had to make an adjustment mentally when I decided to change my thinking to how many people can I help rather than how much money can I make from an affiliate product.

  • kotemon says:

    hi matthew thanks for kind report,
    i want to know about how long usually you to develop a game?
    i mean like timeframe from start develop and publishing it to contracts.

    • Matthew says:

      Hi Kotemon – it really varies a whole lot. Some games take less than 1 month, others take 6+ months. Also, there is often a delay between finishing the game and sending it to publishers because I do additional public testing & updates post-release.

  • Patchesoft says:

    Great post! The MMO looks great from the small snippets you’ve posted on Twitter. Building an MMO that plays in your web browser has always been a dream for me but I just don’t have the time to commit to learning the technical details and aspects of doing it. Looking forward to seeing more!

    • Matthew says:

      There are definitely some massive technical challenges to solve, but it’s such an exciting project to work on. This has been a dream of mine too, and I’m so fortunate to finally be in a position where I can try to make it a reality. Don’t forget to follow @KingfallGame on Twitter for updates (development log coming soon).

  • XdebugX says:

    Nice! Do you publish any of your games to Facebook, or have you thought about doing so?

    • Matthew says:

      Since I don’t monetize my games with ads, I don’t publish games on Facebook.

  • Melissa says:

    Thanks you so much for your inspiration, this year I hope to launch my game. Not only illustrated them (I have only illustrated two, but the second one was the cute ones) I was doing one in Construct 2 but you always talk about GameMaker, so I’m thinking of a change. A hug. A thank you so much for be here for us, I always read you but I think this is the first time I leave a comment jejeje. I think you doing great!!

    • Matthew says:

      Good luck with your game launch, and thanks for reading!

  • rhennig says:

    Thanks for these posts! Very inspiring!

  • Kitanga Nday says:

    Wow, great job. I find it weird that you haven’t talked at all about your recent games (Danger Light and BlackJack Casino). Didn’t the tests go well? Or are you still processing all the comments/results?

    • Matthew says:

      They were actually released in February, so they’ll be mentioned in my next income report.

  • Hey Matthew! Thanks for the report, but Nerve? really? I think I went numb and fell asleep, but anyways it must have been cause I’ve been so tired working on my project, which by the way is coming along really nice. Matthew…I thank you for your kind words in your previous email and, as said before, your work and success are an inspiration to many, keep up the good work! PS: My parents sent me the absolute best 100% Colombian roasted coffee I have ever tried.. mmmmmmm

    • Matthew says:

      Haha, since I have already seen so many movies I don’t get to watch a new top-tier one every month. Sometimes I might only get to watch one movie so that’s what makes the report. Thanks for your other comments! Best wishes for 2017.

  • Opposing Forces says:

    well i have high hopes for you matt. ROO was awesome, so i have little to no doubt you’ll make an awesome mmorpg. as far as i’m aware you’re still the only one that pulled off an mmo with game maker.

    • Matthew says:

      There are a few others that I’d call “massive” in the scope of GM online games (Stick Online being the most notable example). But there have been very few online games built with GM in recent years, which is a real shame. Those types of games always had such a great way of bringing together the community.

  • Andrii says:

    Great start of the year! Hope this year will be so productive for all of us! Thanks.

  • eric says:

    Wel done – keep up the great work !

  • Mitchell says:

    Another great start to another exciting year Matthew! Loved the Income Report, thanks a lot for sharing :D

    • Matthew says:

      Thanks Mitchell, I hope you had a great start to 2017 too.

      • Mitchell says:

        Thank you Matthew! I’m still trying :) With 2 games in initial development and my online prototype needing some more planning, It’s been an okay start, but everyday I’m still working hard to make sure it’s going to be a good year! I’ll be posting about it soon enough :)

        Thank you Matthew!