Online Income Report #060 – June 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 This Quarter

Before I get into this report, I need to recap a major change in my schedule…

Schedule Change

I have been running my game development business for 5 years now, and during that time I’ve aimed to publish an income report every single month. However, due to my increasingly overwhelming workload, it has become difficult to post income reports in a timely and consistent manner.

It has gotten to the point where I have been publishing reports extremely late or combining multiple reports into a single post. Keeping up with this schedule has become quite difficult and I imagine the inconsistency can be frustrating to readers.

To resolve this problem, I have decided to cut down on the total number of income reports that I publish. Now, I will publish an income report every 3 months, instead of every month. This quarterly schedule should make it easier for me to share reports on a consistent basis, and it will allow me to reallocate time to projects such as my upcoming book Learn To Make Games and current major project Kingfall.

Kingfall Status Update

This quarter, I focused on spending the budget for Kingfall prior to the end of financial year (EOFY). The initial budget for Kingfall ($30,000 raised in late 2016) has now been fully allocated to team members directly and via escrow. In addition, I have personally spent over $10,000 USD out of my own pocket on development costs, so far.

That’s a lot of money! And it took a surprising amount of time & energy to spend.

Kingfall is a serious attempt to produce a commercial-grade MMORPG so it’s clearly more ambitious than any game I have worked on before. I’ve had to cover numerous expenses, including artwork, client/server programming, and the production of a soundtrack. I also had to acquire an expensive domain and cover the significant legal costs associated with launching a project of this scale.

I’m trying to accomplish so much on a relatively small budget. It’s really challenging.

Since my current role in the Kingfall team is the project manager (in addition to game design, marketing, sales, and additional programming), the bulk of this organizational work falls to me. It was exhausting negotiating contracts, dealing with escrow services, and making sure everyone was paid on time. But now that I have dealt with this, I can return my focus to designing the game and working towards initial alpha testing.

We’re only 6 months into developing Kingfall and the game will undoubtedly require more funding in the future, so I’ll have to leverage profits from my core business when the need arises. I’m saving as much money as possible and working to reduce my personal expenses, too, so that I can invest more into Kingfall. I’m putting everything into this project so it really needs to pay off (and if we can get the pieces in place, I’m confident it will).

Latest Kingfall preview (GIF) »

Other Stuff

I’m currently playing Overwatch, watching Taboo, and Get Out was the best movie I saw this month.

Platform Overview

Here’s a quick look at how my online platform performed during Apr/May/June 2017. 


The games I publish were played 1,855,926 times (48,073,859 total).


My websites were viewed 44,128 times (6,132,840 total) by 20,407 visitors.


I have a total of 27,864 subscribers across various platforms.

Twitter – 21,127 (+284¹ ²
Facebook – 2,061 (+92¹ ²
Newsletter – 4,676 (+613)

I’ve been somewhat absent on social media this quarter, so growth was much weaker than usual, however, my mailing list performed well.

Online Income Report

I was concerned about how my income streams would be affected after I switched from publishing monthly reports to quarterly reports.

During Apr/May/Jun 2017 I earned $10,563 USD solely online ($402,903 total), down $2,107 from last quarter.


Sales of my books Making Money With HTML5 and Learn To Make Games were my main concern, and they did take a hit of roughly 25% this quarter. My other income streams are more volatile so I can’t draw any accurate conclusions from those swings.

Sales of my HTML5 games were relatively strong, aided in part by the production of a custom HTML5 game for a corporate client. I haven’t made any big bulk sales so far this year, but the smaller sales are certainly adding up. The HTML5 games market has seen a significant uptick with positive developments bolstering confidence, especially with the success of Facebook’s Instant Games platform which is powered by HTML5 games.

This quarter I welcomed a new client to my HTML5 consulting service and sold a couple of copies of my Mobility Engine. Some of my products, especially the Mobility Engine, are overdue for an update and I’m starting to get annoyed at myself for taking so long to update them. The problem is that I’m balancing a hundred (thousand?) things at once, and my priorities shift on a daily basis, so these updates keep descending my to-do list. I will catch up, though.

Finally, I would like to thank my latest top supporters: Robert Taveras and Michael Rogers.

What’s Next?

I’ll be taking a week’s break to play the official launch of Albion Online, an MMORPG which is being released after years in beta. It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to grind an MMORPG from day one so I’m really looking forward to that. I’ll also be studying the game’s core mechanics, especially the economy of the world, as I continue to refine my vision for Kingfall.

Of course, Kingfall will remain my top priority throughout the next quarter, but my core business demands attention too. I’m planning to update several of my products and add new custom-made sound effects to a number of my HTML5 games. I have an extremely demanding schedule ahead but at least I’m still enjoying my work :)

Thanks for reading!


Previous income report »

  • Aaron says:

    Hi Matthew, congrats on your new project. I hope it goes well. That said, making a successful MMO game is much harder than making casual html5 games. I speak with my own experience although I am not an expert of making MMO game. When I started building my first multiplayer game I have zero experience developing games so I probably overestimate its difficulty. But I think you get what I mean if you are aiming to build a great MMO game. Have you considered getting VC funding to build your MMO game? This way you may be less stressful with your own pockets.

    • Matthew says:

      Hi Aaron – believe me, the effort required to create a successful MMO is not something I underestimate. I’m definitely considering different funding options but my goal is to remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible. I have big plans for this project and my team is in it for the long haul.

  • Alex says:

    Matthew, I would like to ask you. Is it worth to invest time into webGL based (mobile) games? I have a good experience at developing high performance webgl apps, and as far as i know there are almost no webgl based mobile games. So I’m curious is this because developing webgl games is hard, expensive and time consuming or because publishers are not interested in it?
    WebGL is already available in most mobile devices, and works fine even on cheap ones. Also, most webgl issues are fixed, so why where are almost no games?

    • Matthew says:

      Hi Alex – WebGL adoption rates are very high now. Porting games from canvas to WebGL can introduce issues (I’m dealing with some myself) but there is not much additional effort/expense involved for most developers. WebGL will become standard over time.

  • Mark Rivinius says:

    Hello Matthew,

    I just got done reading through all your Online Income Reports and was wondering if you could clarify something. You list HTML5 in various ways, but what exactly is it from? Selling you own games, giving exclusivity to a site for a game, developing a game for a company, developing for an individual, etc? Any details you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    If you provide your methods in your e-book Making money with HTML, it’ll pretty much cinch it for me to buy it.


    • Matthew says:

      Hi Mark – sure, happy to clarify! Primarily, I develop HTML5 games and license them to clients (“publishers”). Publishers pay a fee to use the games with their website, portal, or service. My book Making Money With HTML5 goes into detail about the processes and strategies I employ, and it also includes a big list of the publishers I work with.

      • Mark Rivinius says:

        Thank you for the response. I have an infinite runner that I’m waiting on artwork so I can polish and create levels. Because of reading your income reports, I have also have begun working on a couple smaller games in hopes of emulating some of your processes. Would love to have some extra income and make the transition to owning a business (again). Will have to pickup your book and find out all your secrets! lol

  • Zack says:

    I am about to begin a project for a large video game based on a novel. My issue, though, is that I don’t have many funds to begin producing the game. How would you recommend beginning the project? Would you recommend crowdfunding? If so how would you go about it?

    • Matthew says:

      If you don’t have commercially successful projects under your belt, I advise against crowdfunding of any kind. You’d be asking contributors to take on too much risk for you. I spent years creating small commercially successful games before attempting to raise external funding for Kingfall, and I’m additionally investing my own savings to reduce the risk profile of contributors. Working a regular job and saving up a budget of your own is the most reliable way to fund a new project.

      • Zack says:

        Awesome, thanks for the response!

  • vlad says:

    pretty cool report! not bad $10k a month, thanks for sharing and I hope you’ll get to finalize Kingfall earlier than planned ;)

    • Matthew says:

      To clarify, it’s $10K USD total across the 3 months I’m reporting. Thanks for reading!

  • Dan says:

    Sat here wondering what to do for the next 6 hours before Launch, distract myself with an article from someone who’s turned my hobby into a serious profession… ah you’re playing Albion this week too! Ahaha, nice :)

    • Matthew says:

      Haha, I can’t wait to sink some serious hours into it. Should be fun :)

  • Kitanga Nday says:

    So in the “What’s Next” section you mention that you will be seeing the implementation of Albion’s in-game economy.

    Well I just started reading this article on game tuts+ you might like about “Balancing a closed economy in multiplayer games” [link removed]

    • Matthew says:

      I don’t allow external links in the comments – sorry – but I actually bookmarked that recently too. I have a whole notebook full of MMO research links that I’m working through.

      • Kitanga Nday says:

        Oh, sorry about the link, didn’t know.
        I’m currently working on my website, and i think I’m going to also add the “remove link” feature.

      • Kitanga Nday says:

        I remember Extra Credits also did some videos on the MMO topic (economies included).

        I know you’ve already probably choosen the tech for the game, but did you by any chance consider using WebRTC for net communication? And if no, why? Just really curious.

        By the way, do you plan on releasing a beta any time soon?

        • Matthew says:

          I have quite a few Extra Credits videos saved, as well as some GDC talks that I have been meaning to watch. We’re aiming for a 2017 alpha test for Kingfall but it’s far from guaranteed.

  • Waleed Barakat says:

    Congratulations! Wishing you the best.

  • Kitanga Nday says:

    Great to hear from you, Matthew!

    Hope your game comes around well.

  • Mitchell says:

    Wow Matthew! Nice Income Report! I’ve been longing dearly for this :) It’s good to know you’re still doing so well even with your whole workload! Keep it up! I’m looking forward to seeing amazing things from you, and I cannot wait for Kingfall! :D

    • Matthew says:

      Thanks Mitchell, I have definitely been keeping busy! Hope you’re doing well.

      • Mitchell says:

        That’s good Matthew! I see you mentioned above it’s going great too and you’re still happy, which is great to hear :D I am doing well thank you Matthew! Just recently moved over from full-time gamedev to software development for a company. I will still be developing games though, just in my spare time. I need to make ends meet at the end of the day :)

  • Anon says:

    Just to clarify — is $10,563 USD the average monthly for the three months? Or is that $10,563 total across all three months?

    • Matthew says:

      It’s the total. In 2016, I earned over $10K USD per month on average, but this year I’m splitting my time between the core business and Kingfall. There is certainly a hidden cost to creating a new product in the form of missed opportunities.

      • Anon says:

        Yeah, absolutely. It’s a tough call.

        Glancing back over the income reports for this year, it looks like you’re down to about 3.8k/mo average. Perhaps US$40-45k for the year, assuming that average doesn’t slip too much more — quite a way below the A$81,947 average salary in Australia. Are you concerned about your cashflow or runway?

        I hasten to add, I’m not trying to be unpleasant! I made the same calculations myself recently and decided not to push forwards on my personal super-fun could-easily-make-money pet project, because the hit it’d mean to my own online contracting revenue in the medium term wouldn’t be worth it, even if (a big if!) the project was eventually as profitable as I predicted.

        It’s nice to see someone decide the other way and take the risk, I’m just interested to know how you’re feeling about the decision six months in.

        • Matthew says:

          These are valid concerns for sure. My income has varied from $60-$130K USD annually, so there is immense potential for volatility. It’s unpredictable and can’t be so easily extrapolated. I could earn $500 or $20,000 next month and neither would shock me in the slightest.

          Taking this into consideration, I waited for the right moment to pursue a major project like Kingfall. I needed to ensure that I had enough money saved to serve as a safety blanket, and I needed to be prepared to see a drop in immediate income (which I was).

          Maintaining cash flow is, of course, crucial and it’s an endless cause for concern, especially with a project as ambitious as Kingfall. But I have options that I’m comfortable pursuing now that the financial year has ticked over. Running out of money is definitely the single biggest threat to Kingfall’s success.

          Finally, I’ll just add that I never compare myself to anyone on a salary wage. There is immense value in self-employment which doesn’t translate into dollars. The sheer freedom to work on what I want, when I want, is invaluable to me. Even if I only earned $2,000 a month I’d still be doing this.

          • Anon says:

            No worries, it’s good to know you’ve got enough savings that you’re secure, that’s pretty rare these days! It’d be interesting to see the savings/runway remaining as an addon to your income reports too — obviously without a development cost cap you could keep developing Kingfall indefinitely, so it’d be interesting to see how the restrictions affect the development process.

            Oh and I’m totally with you on the self-employment front, it’s by far the best way to live if you can make it work. As long as your lifestyle means that incoming >= outgoing in the long term, that’s all I was concerned about :)

            • Matthew says:

              Totally agreed. Thanks for your concern; I’m optimistic that everything will go smoothly for at least a while.

  • Olabode says:

    Matthew, the above report is totally amazing. I’m very happy for you and proud of you. May God keep helping you in all your ways. Thanks for sharing the information with us.