2020 In Review

Lincoln Bergeson

Jan 1, 2021

It will be a short year in review post this year -- I don't want to lose the streak, but I also don't want to take away from my valuable free time that could be spent on Barnard's Star!

2020 has been an extremely busy year for both of us. Jan and I both had our first children, bought our first houses, and started new jobs. In addition I moved to a new state (Texas) and got a dog. As you know Pollywog Games is a side project that we do in addition to our full time day jobs, so all of these things make it harder to work on games for you to enjoy.

But that said, it's still been an eventful year for Pollywog Games. We are currently deep in a development crunch to get Barnard's Star in a playable state in time for the Steam games festival in February. Online multiplayer is the new exciting feature, and it is mostly done, but as always there are a million kinks and bugs that we have to fix before showing our creation to the world.

The other big event from this year was making Card Crusade from a premium model to a free-with-IAPs model. We thought this was going to be a smart move, but actually it completely tanked our revenue. I crunched the numbers about a month ago (11/29/2020) and here's what I came up with.

The most recent version of the card crusade db was activated in production on 9/13/2019. This version of the db has received:

  • 118,236 runs during its lifetime, which is an average of 267 runs per day, or one every 5 minutes 24 seconds
  • 6,277 runs in the last month or 209 per day, so we're slowing down a little
  • 4,098 runs from the beginning to our first free week on March 16 (only 22 per day!)
  • 20,952 runs during the free week, a whopping 2,993 per day or one every 29 seconds
  • 55,051 runs since June 7 when we made the game free for good (315 per day)

So our participation rate and number of users went through the roof! We got a boost of about 15x by making our game free. Unfortunately, revenue went down by about 80%. I think the main problem is that the IAPs are 100% optional to the fundamental gameplay, which means that the vast majority of users will not buy them.

Lesson learned, you can't just slap IAPs on a game to make money, you actually have to design the game to entice people to buy them. Oh well, it was an experiment and I learned a lot, so I'm glad we did it!

That's all for now! Our big focus for 2021 will be releasing Barnard's Star. Stay tuned for more exciting updates coming soon!

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