There is a major issue in the modern game industry. Unless a title sells impossible numbers, the studio is likely to lose money. Destiny, for example, cost half a million US Dollars (S$710million). It’s a relief then that VR game titles are making some good money with sales.
The Good News
UploadVR has just published an article stating that Arizona Sunshine, a VR zombie shooter, has made US$1.4million (S$1.99million) in sales in its first month. This is on both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. A copy of the game is currently retailing for US$40 (S$57), which amounts to 35,000 digital copies sold. This is nothing compared to AAA titles, where often profits run in the hundreds of millions, with millions of copies sold. However, for a small company like Vertigo Games, these are great numbers. You can tell because, in a statement to Upload, managing director Richard Stitselaar says, “from what we can tell, it may be the fastest selling non-bundled PC VR title to date.”
Arizona Sunshine is not the only VR game making good money. In the same article, Upload mentioned that Owlchemy Labs, who made Job Simulator, has made US$3million (S$4.26million) in sales. Likewise, two other companies, Cloudhead Games and Survios, have each made US$1million (S$1.44million). For an industry where combined numbers of PC-based VR headsets are still around five to six million around the world, this is a superb target.
Not so good news
While these figures are worth celebrating, there is still a ways to go before we can consider calling making VR titles profitable. A quick look at wearvr.com shows that by far the most popular VR experiences are all free. Most of the high-download titles are completely free. The only outlier is the most popular download SONAR, which is only for mobile VR. Granted, that a premium title is dominating these figures is a good thing. When the next premium title is 19 below the number one, however, there is less cause for celebration.
All of this could change. As VR headsets become cheaper and more attainable, more users will be interested in trying out these VR titles. Maybe then we will see premium VR experiences start exploding in popularity.