Online Income Report #062 – December Quarter 2017

Online Income Report #062 – December 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 online doing what you love – for me, that’s creating games!

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

What I Did in 2017

The last three months of 2017 made for a fantastic December quarter, but I wanted to take this opportunity to look back at the year in review. Even though it wasn’t the most exciting year of my career, the foundations I established should pay dividends for decades to come.

Kingfall

I dedicated an immense amount of time/energy to my upcoming major project Kingfall in 2017. Kingfall is a cross-platform MMORPG that my team has been working on for over a year now, and I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made. I even took on the role of Lead Client-Side Programmer myself.

Back in December 2016, when I originally announced plans to divert resources away from my profitable online business to work on Kingfall, I had intended to be far more vocal about production of the game. But I haven’t shared any significant details about Kingfall yet…no announcements, no blog posts, no development logs. This is quite out-of-character for me.

The difference this time is that I underestimated how frequently my design vision for Kingfall would change throughout the first year of development. Of course, designing an MMORPG is an incredibly complicated task, but I have found myself doing so much more research and study than I had originally planned…and with everything new that I learn, my design vision changes. Kingfall is a completely different game now compared to day one.

We’re really taking our time to ensure that Kingfall has the best foundation possible. So when I eventually share details about this ambitious project, they will be concrete.

Making Compromises

Since I was committed to creating a new product in 2017, I expected my core online business to suffer financially this year – and it did. This financial downtick was very predictable, but raising $30,000 for Kingfall back in August 2016 provided me with a safety net. What I hadn’t fully accounted for was the broader impact that Kingfall would have on my time, and the compromises I would need to make to manage the heaviest workload I’ve ever had.

The most obvious example of these compromises is right in front of your eyes.

Blogging has been a vital component of my business for the past 6 years and I have always enjoyed reserving a few days each month to work on new posts. But in 2017, I decided to spend less time blogging so that I could spend more time working on Kingfall. I published just a handful of new posts throughout the year, and even though articles like A Day In The Life – Professional Game Developer were well-received, I wasn’t engaged with readers on a monthly basis anymore.

The schedule change from monthly to quarterly income reports was a big compromise for me in 2017 and I still don’t feel totally comfortable with it. It’s made me an even more lethargic blogger, with some of these quarterly income reports coming out months later than they should. If I was willing to work longer hours, maybe I could fit “less profitable” work like blogging into my schedule more easily, but I need to maintain some semblance of work-life balance too.

Focusing on my top priorities while neglecting everything else was the questionable strategy I opted for this year. If I learned anything in 2017, it’s that I don’t want this to become my long-term solution to having more work than I can handle.

I’ll work on that.

Other Stuff

I’m currently playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins, watching Altered Carbon, and A Cure For Wellness was the best movie I saw this month.

Platform Overview

Here’s a quick look at how my online platform performed during Oct/Nov/Dec 2017.

Games

The games I publish were played 4,276,873 times (54,966,161 total) this quarter.

Total traffic to my HTML5 games was surprisingly stable compared to last year. Almost identical, in fact; and out of all the statistics listed here this is the one I’m most proud of. I actually took measures to limit distribution of my games this year, to protect them from theft and misuse, so maintaining stable traffic of almost a million players per month is outstanding.

In total, the games I publish were played 11,451,089 times in 2017.

Websites

My websites were viewed 28,180 times (6,207,505 total) by 13,762 visitors this quarter.

In total, my websites were viewed 186,797 times in 2017.

Subscribers

I have a total of 28,259 subscribers across various platforms.

Twitter – 21,846 (+150¹ ²
Facebook – 2,068 (+11¹ ²
Newsletter – 4,345 (+268)

The figures above relate to the quarter.

Social media growth was limited overall this year because, again, I redirected my time away from social media to Kingfall. This was another compromise that I was hesitant to make, but Kingfall is such a valuable project with such immense potential, and I know it’s worth taking a hit today to find success tomorrow. Big picture, right?

In total, I gained 2,076 subscribers in 2017.

Online Income Report

My income wasn’t particularly diverse this quarter, and maybe that’s something I should be concerned about, but I’m not. I have bigger priorities at the moment. Fortunately, I was able to sell dozens of HTML5 game licenses over the holiday season amid strong demand, resulting in a fantastic quarter.

During Oct/Nov/Dec 2017 I earned $17,005 USD solely online ($428,040 total), up $8,873 from last quarter.

In total, I earned $48,370 USD online in 2017.

Final Thoughts

Looking back on the year, I have mixed feelings. Even though I know that so much great progress was achieved behind-the-scenes, one of my goals with this business is to share as much of the “behind-the-scenes” as possible, and I didn’t do a good job of that in 2017. My online income was down for the year but thanks to strong exchange rates $48,370 USD converts to approximately $62,160 AUD in my local currency, which is plenty to work with.

I’m really looking forward to sharing more information about Kingfall later in 2018, and of course I’ll continue to create and publish new HTML5 games. I also have a major update planned for my book Making Money With HTML5 that existing customers will receive for free.

I sincerely appreciate everyone who followed my work in 2017. I’m expecting 2018 to be much more eventful – stay tuned :)

Thanks for reading!

Matthew

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Comments(13)

  1. Kitanga Nday

    Reply

    Good job by the way, really enjoy reading these.

    Though I’m really curious as to what you meant by “…took measures to limit distribution of my games this year, to protect them from theft and misuse,…”. Is there a service you can use for this?

    Don’t you think it would be good for you to just share what you have now, I’m pretty sure the community know a lot about MMOs to give you enough info for you to continue morphing the idea. As in, they’ll find the stuff for you so that you don’t have to learn it. And having players join you at this point will lead to more loyal fans, and more people using word of mouth. Since they’ll feel like this is their baby too. :D peace

    • Hi Kitanga – My efforts to limit distribution of my HTML5 games were a combination of disallowing iFrame hotlinking, tightening up my contractual agreements, and being even more selective about the clients I work with. As for talking about Kingfall, I would love to share much more information but it’s not the right time yet. You’ll have to trust that I know what I’m doing :)
      Matthew recently posted List of HTML5 Game Publishers & SponsorsMy Profile

  2. Lap202

    Reply

    Excited to see what kingfall has in store! Glad you’re atleast making enough to sustain your business without needing a full time job like most of the individual programmers trying to make money off independent games.

  3. Dimitris Gkiokas

    Reply

    Well, Matthew, I have to say you are an inspiration to me. Back in late 2016, when I was working in a dead-end full-time job as a junior web developer, I discovered your blog. It was the first time I saw a sustainable amount of income being generated through non-traditional online income sources, like affiliate marketing. By reading your posts, and especially your income reports, I got inspired and eventually decided to achieve something similar myself. After another year of a full-time job (luckily I left the dead-end job and worked at Microsoft), in late 2017 I started my own brand (although it’s not about game development). I often come back here to check up on you, and I’m looking forward to playing Kingfall with you.

    Keep it up, and thanks!
    Dimitris Gkiokas

    • That’s awesome Dimitris, I love hearing stories like this! Thanks for checking in on me all this time later.

      Good luck & I hope to catch you online in Kingfall someday!

  4. Anon

    Reply

    Love these updates. Thanks for keeping us informed and, of course, interested.

  5. Enstine Muki

    Reply

    Hey Matt,
    Good to be on your blog buddy and congrats on these earnings. You are soon at your target of $500k
    Keep moving

    • Thanks! That $500K milestone is certainly getting close now. Next stop, $1M.

  6. Casey

    Reply

    Hey Matt, I really enjoy your blogposts. Hope your game is coming alone and please blog more often, like 2-3 times a month :)

  7. Mộc

    Reply

    Thanks for sharing

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