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Derrick The Deathfin Sells Just 5,000 Copies, Makes A Loss

Indie dev out of pocket.

Derrick The Deathfin’s actually a decent game – as our review will attest – but it’s sold under 5,000 copies, making a considerable loss for the indie developer. Speaking to Kotaku AU, developer Gordon Midwood (who I spoke to a couple of times when putting together the first preview) admitted that sales of the quirkly Ecco/Sonic crossover really didn’t reach anywhere near the levels he was hoping for, despite a brief PlayStation Plus price promotion.

He also says that he went £40,000 in debt to fund the game, which included personal loans and credit cards. “It’s entirely possible, or indeed by the looks of things at the moment 100 per cent probable, that sales will never amount to enough to pay back even a quarter of my personal debts,” he said on his blog.

The small dev team – Midwood and one other – only had funding for 11 months, the original targeted timescale. That grew to 24 months, and thus additional funding was needed. And even once the game was done, it’s hardly bringing in enough to buy a Ferrari – Midwood states that he only gets around £1 per sale of the game. “Due to sponsor requirements, revenue shares between those involved, platform costs and so on for each copy of Derrick sold I personally receive just under £1.”

The game didn’t have much promotion pre-launch, though, with very little coverage on any of the gaming sites, and the official Blog barely touched it. “Sony have been very supportive throughout the process of completing and promoting the game,” Midwood said. “They loved the concept and they have been to very easy to work with since then. The publishing and promoting is on our shoulders though, as we can’t afford to pay anybody professional, ha!”

Regardless, the game was pushed live on the same week as the likes of Machinarium, Naughty Bear, Worms Revolution, Retro City Rampage, Joe Danger The Movie and Warlords, at least in some territories. You’d need considerable promotional weight to float above such a crowded week as that, even with a Plus discount.

“I’m not allowed to say exact numbers I don’t think!” Midwood concludes. “It might well be quite a bit under 5k, which I don’t think I’m allowed to say either.”

  1. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    That’s a shame, marketing and promotion must be quite a burden on small developers resources. You’d think it would be a doddle for Sony to use any of their existing promotional channels ( i.e. Home, Vidzone etc) to help promote the less well resourced devs, especially when it’s a title that’s exclusive to Sony.
    I bought the game, thought it was quite cheap btw, and still has charm despite the lovely papercraft being lost in the hectic gameplay. Jumping can be frustrating, something i was hoping could be tweaked but we’re unlikely to see a patch now given the low sales.

    Comment posted on 13/11/2012 at 11:52.
  2. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    Should have released it on the Vita as it seems suited for it. As well as the 3DS. And Steam. By releasing it on consoles, during the start of a busy period resulted in it bombing.

    Comment posted on 13/11/2012 at 12:12.
  3. PA_Kid
    Since: May 2012

    Had it been on vita too I would have bought it. As it is, just a psn game on the PS3, it just wasn’t interesting enough to cut into the large backlog of other games I have. Seems like Sony did their part – the market spoke I guess.

    Shame though. Wonder how hard it is to enable a game like that for vita too. Seems like that was the big mistake here.

    Comment posted on 13/11/2012 at 12:44.
    • Alex C
      One for all.
      Since: Forever

      I doubt it. The Vita market is still fairly tiny.

      Derrick didn’t sell because it got lost with other releases that had been pushed harder. It wasn’t a bad game, for sure.

      Comment posted on 13/11/2012 at 15:17.
  4. Flightx
    Since: May 2009

    the game is quite good. its not great but its enjoyable as a quick play title. the price is cheap and you wont regret buying it to fill some spare time

    Comment posted on 13/11/2012 at 18:15.
  5. FBZ1501
    Since: Jun 2012

    That’s a shame to hear, I bought it on release, the plus discount helpped and it’s a decent fun game. I do think it suits the Vita more and even though the Vita market is small I would imagine it would have shifted a load more due to the lack of Vita titles.
    It also came out at a tough time PSN wise, some big releases with loads of PR behind them.
    I hope this article helps raise its awareness and drive some more sales.

    Comment posted on 14/11/2012 at 19:32.

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