Game Sales are Exponential
The distribution of game sales follows an exponential curve.
So you probably don’t think in graphs like me, but I find many devs conceptualize game sales as being mostly linear: For example, if you make a good game you’ll get ok sales since the market is crowded. You make a better game, with well-executed marketing, sales get a good bit better too. The reality isn’t so simple though. In truth, game sub-market (genres) follow an exponential curve. [Image].
Because of this, the vast majority of sales go to a tiny proportion of games. The more competitive a sub-market becomes, the worse this distribution and the sharper (more like a sideways L) the curve becomes. This means when you are doing sales estimates, you can’t just look at a popular game’s sales and use that to estimate sales of your title. If a popular title sold 100,000 copies, and you plan on doing a game that is maybe half is good, you aren’t going to sell 50,000 copies. depending on how crowded the market is, you may only sell 4,000! Those are the harsh realities of exponential relationships.