Good Riddance 2023

Not going to lie, 2023 sucked for me, mostly for personal reasons (so not related to business). It was also an average year for business, but I had worse years for sure.

Earlier this year had to deal with an eye surgery (and I’ll likely do another in the early months of next year!). I lost Tofu, my beloved pet in August. It was a stressing year overall for many other private reasons, so I hope 2024 will be a better year!

But back to business, let’s see what happened in 2023. But first, a little PSA: as usual I’m having the Winter sale both on itchio and Steam:

Itchio: https://winter-wolves.itch.io/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/pub/winterwolves

How 2023 went ?

I started the year with my usual blog post, stating that I wanted to finish The Beastmaster Princess, ToA: An Elven Marriage, and hopefully a smaller VN. Well, that happened!

The Beastmaster Princess game was already at good point when I started the year, I was mostly waiting for missing art, editor, and doing some testing/bugfixes. But being a regular VN, that didn’t took long. The game did OK, art was a bit divisive (some liked it, others didn’t), but all this considered was happy with the results.

Then it was the turn of Save The World, a small sci-fi “Black Mirror” style visual novel. This went pretty well, all things considered. Tried a new artist, a new kind of story / setting, etc. A lot of people complained about the story but considering the theme I definitely expected that (you can’t have such a controversial story and hope you get no complaints). It was funny to read comments like “the dev is clearly a communist” though, like if we were still in Cold War era !

And then finally, 11 year after Loren, I managed to release the first spin-off, ToA: An Elven Marriage. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about (shame!) they’re a VN/RPG hybrid series following the events of my first fantasy RPG, Loren The Amazon Princess. This went well, all things considered! I underestimated some factors when relasing it on Steam (the fact that during a Steam Fest you get ZERO exposure… ugh, learned it the hard way) so in retrospect it did even rather well. Just think that Cursed Lands got like… 30 times the visibility of this game, and it didn’t sell 30 times more! (well also that was 2018 so a very different world).

Last but not least, the Yuri psychological horror House of Chavez, the title I’m working on right now had a very successful Kickstarter which let me add a lot of more content than originally planned (two love interests, a lot of CGs, etc). This is one of those “gameplay hybrid” games I was talking about in the previous blog posts.

Conclusions

Just a couple of months before writing this blog post, I was in bad mood. For the personal things that happened, for sure. But also because I thought I had mediocre results this year.

Then, I started to talk with other devs, read reports online and get a reality check – if literally everyone you know is having a big decrease of revenues, if many publishers are cutting funds to already started projects, if the saturation of the market is so big that’s hard to sell games full price… if with all that, you’re still in business, you’re not doing too bad!

And so I realized that what I thought were bad results, they weren’t bad at all. This is a mistake I’ve seen doing by many indies, who maybe release a game every 2-3 years, thinking that things won’t change. Here’s a thing: 2-3 years in this business is literally an eternity! Lot of things change meanwhile.

In hard times, like when the economy is not doing well or there’s trouble in a certain market, it’s really important to look at your business results from an global perspective. This helps you see how well you’re doing, all things considered. Always remember this!

Wishing everyone a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year! Personally, I hope to have a nice 2024, especially in my private life. Business-wise, with the great fans I have, the crowdfunding, and all that I believe I can keep going like this and have a decent career.

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