Online Income Report #061 – September Quarter 2017

Online Income Report #061 – September Quarter 2017

I’m a professional video game developer and author making a living solely online. Every few months I share a transparent income report which documents my latest earnings and experiences. My goal with these income reports is to inspire others and demonstrate that it’s entirely possible to make a living doing what you love – for me, that’s creating games!

You can find out more about me or continue reading below.

What I Did This Quarter

So, I haven’t blogged in 4 months, and I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms. Let’s get right into this!

Catching Up

If you couldn’t tell from how late this report is, I’m absolutely flooded with work at the moment, but I’m slowly catching up. I have dozens of active projects, several self-inflicted deadlines, and a bunch of real-life obligations to deal with. It feels like I have been in “catch up mode” for months on end (and honestly, I have).

My top priorities are to finish writing my upcoming book Learn To Make Games, get my major project Kingfall into alpha testing, and expand my portfolio of HTML5 games. But the 1000+ entries on my to-do list are constantly at the back of my mind.

Sometimes I wish I could just drop everything and disconnect. You know that feeling of having a completely free day with zero obligations? I don’t get that anymore.

I need to stop overextending and fix my life…right?

The Next Level

Wrong! :D I’m taking my game development business to the next level.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been earning $60,000-$130,000 USD online each year, which is plenty for one person. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know just how volatile my income can be. I could earn $3,000 one month and $30,000 the next – it’s a rollercoaster.

Whenever I post income reports with “weak” earnings, for example in the $2,000-$3,000 range, I always get people asking if I’m worried about the amount I earned. Why don’t I just work a regular salary-paying job and guarantee myself a livable wage every month? I understand their concern.

But here’s the thing: I would still be doing this if I was earning minimum wage. There are so many amazing benefits to being self-employed, and I couldn’t imagine working a regular job (although I have the utmost respect for everyone that does!)

I love having the option to pack a bag, catch a flight, and earn a living online from anywhere in the world. I love having the creative freedom to choose what I work on, and what I do, every single day. And I love the volatility – knowing that my potential income is uncapped and directly proportional to the effort I put into the business.

I want to be doing this for the rest of my life. So why not think bigger? What could I achieve in a lifetime?

That’s a question I’ve been feeling motivated to explore lately.

Other Stuff

I’m currently playing The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, watching Mr Robot, and Atomic Blonde was the best movie I saw this month.

Platform Overview

Here’s a quick look at how my online platform performed during July/Aug/Sept 2017.

Games

The games I publish were played 2,615,389 times (50,689,248 total). Finally made it to the 50 million mark!

Websites

My websites were viewed 46,485 times (6,179,325 total) by 24,497 visitors.

Subscribers

I have a total of 28,859 subscribers across various platforms.

Twitter – 21,696 (+569¹ ²
Facebook – 2,057 (-4¹ ²
Newsletter – 5,106 (+430)

I haven’t actively worked on increasing my social media presence this year, which is somewhat of a deviation from previous years. Instead, I have been working to define and consolidate my brand, with the goal of being more professional.

Be the first to hear about my latest games, articles, and giveaways by signing up for my newsletter.

Online Income Report

My income this quarter was mediocre, however, it didn’t come as a complete surprise.

During July/Aug/Sept 2017 I earned $8,132 USD solely online ($411,035 total), down $2,431 from last quarter.

Summary

This was one of my least profitable quarters on record, and there are definitely reasons for that. I was so distracted with life in general, with tax season, and with a few bad clients/partners. At times I was exhausted. I worked very long hours in June to meet some important deadlines, and by the time July came around I was burnt out.

There’s a silver lining though. Since I’m writing this post in late November, I can safely say that business is picking up. I’ll have big numbers to share in my next report, and some exciting news!

At the moment, I’m particularly focused on improving the profitability of my HTML5 games which generate the vast majority of my income. It’s easy enough to earn $1000/month from HTML5 games, but I have higher requirements than your average developer. I’m based in Australia, which is an expensive country to live in, and I have significant business expenses to cover.

Sales of my books Making Money With HTML5 and Learn To Make Games were solid this quarter, much to my relief. It’s always nice to earn passive income during these types of months. I’m starting to think about what my next book could be about, but perhaps I have reached my quota of topics that I’m fully qualified to write about. Quality over quantity.

I’ll be launching several new games in the next quarter, featured mechs, cookies, and kittens =^._.^=

Finally, I want to wish everyone happy holidays in advance! Have a wonderful festive season, and enjoy your time off.

Thanks for reading!

Matthew

Comments(17)

  1. Kase

    Reply

    Seems Kingfall takes lots of time. That’s a good sign.

    Nice report.

    You’re saying making 1000$ per month is easy, but I notice exact opposite: huge sponsors now tend to promote their older games and buy lesser amount of new games than, for example, year ago. So, if you want to make some money, you better create new unique brand games.

    That’s just mine observation, maybe I am wrong. Maybe you havent noticed that because you already have lots of good connections with sponsors and good reputation.

    • Hi Kase – I speak with many aspiring developers on a regular basis, and I have a wide overview of the market. Certainly, not everyone is cut out to succeed in business, but I see success stories from numerous developers and (especially) my consulting clients. Furthermore, it’s not like I was given “good connections” or a “good reputation” on a silver platter. Everything is earned by putting in the time and effort. Developers who do that tend to find success.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. david

    Reply

    Hey buddy what happened?

    you were earning this average every month before you started posting quarterly. And now quarterly this has became your average earnings?

    • Hi David – Since the beginning of 2017 I have been heavily focused on my new project Kingfall, which is an HTML5-powered casual MMORPG for mobile/PC. There are a few income reports from around that time where I said I’m expecting my income to drop significantly in 2017 while I worked on the new project. I raised funding for Kingfall in 2016 to help mitigate the weaker year ahead, too, so this was all planned for in advance.

  3. Ronnie

    Reply

    Make sure you get feedback during the development process of kingfall. I’ve noticed a number of .io games release early then develop further. Might not be the best approach for traffic but feedback is important. Best of luck and thank you for continuing to publish reports.

    • Hi Ronnie – I definitely agree, and we’ll be doing multiple rounds of testing with Kingfall. If you would like to join us, sign up for our mailing list on the website.

  4. Andrea

    Reply

    You already have been in the environment for a while, but being honest and knowing the market…you believe that a person with knowledge in HTML5 and Javascript but who never made a game, and with few funds, can start and win $1K/month as mentioned above? Or is it very difficult and only reserved for people who have been with you for a few years?

    • If you want to start a game development business, it helps to know how to make games (tip: start here). That said, I have seen them: absolute beginners who put in the effort to learn, build a business, and start earning $1K/m with their games. It all depends on the individual person and how much effort they are willing to make.

  5. Mitchell

    Reply

    Hey Matthew!

    Looks like this was a tough quarter, but still not bad at all! :) Still hyped for the alpha release of Kingfall! Hopefully your workload becomes manageable in the new year also.

    Skyrim is still one of my most favourite games. I always have nostalgia and land up going back to play it.

    Happy holidays Matthew! Enjoy them!, Hopefully you get some much needed rest before the new year :)

    • For sure, I’m still thrilled to have earned $8,132 USD for the quarter, because the USD has so much purchasing power here in Australia (where $8,132 USD = $10,750 AUD) compared to five years ago when the reverse was true. This level of income still pays the bills, and there’s the always potential to earn exponentially more the next month (ie. I have earned over $440/USD on average for the past 30 days in November…but more on that in my next report).
      Matthew recently posted A Day In The Life – Professional Game DeveloperMy Profile

      • Mitchell

        Reply

        That’s great Matthew! At least you have out yourself in a very good position! Here in SA, the USD to ZAR conversion rate is crazy ($1 = ZAR 14.08 as of writing), which also holds a lot of purchasing power.

        You truly deserve it Matthew! All these years and all your hard work are really paying off :) I can’t wait for your next report!

        I’m starting to cut into the HTML5 market but I’m also afraid it might be a little late, I always tried before, with limited funds and it didn’t work out as expected. I am trying to make a break through now, even though it may be tough, I’m working my way through :)

  6. Morne Booysen

    Reply

    Hope you kept that BTC!

    • I didn’t. I got out after Mt Gox, although I still follow with interest.

  7. Abhishek Singh

    Reply

    Hi sir,
    nice article and keep sharing with us.
    keep it up sir.

  8. CoffeeBuy

    Reply

    Good read! Preferred when these were monthly, but definitely fascinating to get some insight into your growing (and seemingly thriving!) business.

    One thing – Have you ever done a deep dive into how you monetize your games? I’d love to read that!

    • Thanks! That “deep dive” is effectively my book Making Money With HTML5 in a nutshell – it’s where I go into detail about how my business model works and succeeds.

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