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The Witness sells more than 100k, hasn’t broken even on costs yet


Jonathan Blow provided some updates on The Witness’s commercial fate today. Despite the game being pirated quite a bit on PC, it has already “substantially more than 100,000” as Blow says. The game has brought in about $5 million revenue.

Blow points out that this doesn’t mean the game has broken even, due to it’s 8 year dev cycle they haven’t made any money off it yet. He does expect to turn a nice profit on the game eventually, depending on where the sales go with it. Concerning this, Blow said this:

So, the game is doing great. That doesn’t mean we have broken even on our development cost yet! Because our development budget was so high, $5 million in revenue is not enough to recover it yet (because we split that revenue with the storefronts, we have to subtract VAT in Europe, etc). However, it is looking like, as time goes on, we should break even and make a comfortable safety margin on top of that, which will allow us to make more nice games in the future — unless some kind of world economic disaster happens

Overall, The Witness has grossed more revenue in its first week than Braid did in its first year. Of course, The Witness released on two platforms at once and costs $40, more than Braid’s $15 launch price on Xbox 360 in 2008. Braid didn’t come to PC until spring 2009.

To earn more money from the game, Blow is considering porting it to a variety of different platforms. He says:

After this, in the near future, we will start investigating the bringing the game to other platforms. Under serious consideration are: iOS, Android, Xbox One, OS X. We will provide more-concrete information about these as it becomes available!

Xbox One is a no brainer. I’m sure Sony has some sort of timed exclusivity deal though mobile versions could also do well. They wouldn’t be able to sell it as a $40 iPhone game but maybe in pieces, totaling $40 or so if players bought all parts of the game.

Let’s hope The Witness fares well commercially. I certainly hope Blow’s next game doesn’t take nearly as long to make but he stuck to his original vision and seemingly crafted one of the better indie games in recent memory.

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