Results of the Swift*Stitch 'pay when you want' sale!


So this past week I’ve been running a rather odd sale of Swift*Stitch; every day a different price, sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down. and only I would know what the next day’s price would be.

It’s not something I’ve seen before, and something I thought would be fun, so I did it! 😀
I promised throughout that I would share sales data after the week was up, so here we are! I think you’ll agree it’s pretty interesting 😀

I’ll go through each day one-by-one, talk a little, share the raw data, and then I’ll throw a load of graphs at you 🙂

Monday, $3.50:

I figured half price was a good way to open the sale, 50% off is a pretty good deal anyway, but it also made it clear I wasn’t afraid of making big price changes. this day I sold 18 copies of the game, considering I was averaging about 2 a week beforehand, this is a pretty good spike 🙂

  • Copies sold: 18
  • Gross: $63

Tuesday, $6.66:

I’ll be honest, this price was pretty much a filler price, I wanted something that wasn’t over the regular price but not far from it. and $6.66 is a fun price (a large part of my motivations for stuff in this sale was just to have fun!). Not many sales today, as I expected, people knew the price would drop again later.

  • Copies sold: 3
  • Gross: $19.98

Wednesday, $1.75:

BOOM! 75% OFF, right in your face, early in the week! When people talk about sales I hear that this discount is the golden number, and that’s why you’ll see it so much during steam’s holiday sales. I figured why not!? This week is nothing if not an opportunity to experiment, and this sale certainly sold a very healthy amount more than Monday’s 50% off, and was the day with the 2nd highest copies sold.

  • Copies sold: 69
  • Gross: $120.75

Thursday, $7.77:

This price was mostly just to let people know that I wasn’t afraid to charge more than the usual price for the game, a fun idea, but not a smart one, right? WRONG! not an amazing number of sales this day, but certainly enough to make more money than Monday, and over half as much as Wednesday’s sale.

  • Copies sold: 10
  • Gross: $77.70 (yay sevens!)

Friday, $12.34:

Whee, shoot past the $10 mark! nobody saw it coming, but I had a lot of people telling me, even before the sale they wanted to pay extra for this game, and I am not one to turn down the offer of support. plus, RAISING PRICES DURING A SALE IS FUNNY! sold less than Thursday here, but almost made the same amount of money.

  • Copies sold: 6
  • Gross: $74.04

Saturday, $77.77:

So then… I guess I have some explaining to do here, charging eleven times the normal price during a sale. I will admit it was someone else that talked me into charging such a silly price, but ultimately this seemed fun, so I did it! 😀 Obviously, this is the price I’ve been asked the most about since announcing it; “Did anyone actually pay that!?” and the answer is yes, THREE TIMES. Three people saw the game at $77.77 and thought “yes, I’m buying that today.” they then quickly received an email from me asking if they were mentally stable and if they wanted a refund. I’m still waiting for 1 response so this number may drop to 2, but even so, this was a crazy fun, and crazy profitable day! (hey, person who bought this day and hasn’t replied to my email, could you please get back to me, I’ll feel much better about spending your money on a mountain of chocolate!)

EDIT: All customers who bought this day have responded, 3 sales confirmed! 🙂

  • Copies sold: 3
  • Gross: $233.31

Sunday, $1:

yep, one dollar, by the end I think everyone saw it coming, and it came. I think the results weren’t really unexpected either, a ton of sales. Though I admit wasn’t sure if this day would be more profitable than Saturday until the final hour or so.

  • Copies sold: 293
  • Gross: $293


Week summary:

Here’s a graph of the week’s sales. I’m not going to draw any big conclusions of ‘extreme prices (very low or very high) make the most money’, since I think a key thing about these numbers is how the price is a limited time thing, and next price is unknown. I couldn’t reasonably say I should charge $1 normally, or that I should normally charge $77.77. but it is fun to look at the data and think about stuff like that 🙂

So then, the quick-mathed of you will have already counted up that this week I sold 402 copies and the total gross income (before fastspring’s cut, before tax etc) is $881.03.

Was the sale a success though? here’s a chart showing my income from sales this past month (it includes 3 sales of Pixexix too, not sure how to filter that out sorry ^__^;)

Regardless of how well each day went, this sale was a huge, massive success as far as I’m concerned. a big number more people are playing the game, and I can pay off some of the rent I owe. 🙂

and, I had fun! 😀

17 Comments on “Results of the Swift*Stitch 'pay when you want' sale!”

  1. Thanks for sharing, there some interesting stuff in there, even if the figures are low.

  2. Not bad. Overall I’d say your strange price changing idea was a success. Especially on saturday..

  3. gnome says:

    Congratulations for both the game and the sale and thanks for sharing those stats. Also, do keep it up!

  4. JohanAR says:

    If this was xkcd, there would be more graphs 🙂

    Is this the end of fixed pricing schemes? I get the impression that you would’ve lost a significant amount of money if you only sold it for $1 or $7

  5. Edd Harwood says:

    Hey Sophie, I’m really glad that the sale has been a success. These are really interesting figures, and the indie world needs to work out how much they should be charging for games (or any media in fact). The most impressive figure is the overall sales, it shows that sales work (steam knows this!) and that you will make money if you simply say something is on sale (also it adds to the marketing). Anyway, good luck for the future!

  6. Adam says:

    Hey, do you have any info on the web traffic for game, I might be interesting to see the traffic vs sales.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Sophie says:

    @Adam sorry I don’t keep track of that, I probably should though ^__^;

  8. LegacyCrono says:

    Wow, awesome! Looks like it worked pretty well 😀
    Crazy that saturday and sunday alone are responsible for 60% of the income… 😛

  9. Really interesting! The high revenue on $77.77 is absolutely hilarious. 😀 I saw a similar kind of effect with Proun: few people paid over $10, but since the number is so much higher than $1, they still contribute a lot to the overall revenue. Makes me realize Cliff Harris’ high prices (for an indie) are probably not a bad idea at all (

  10. Lex says:

    This information is priceless and fascinating. My friends and I have found that lowering our prices usually hurts us. Maybe I should charge $100.00 for my games and I could make more money! :mrgreen:

  11. Thomas says:

    Interesting post Sophie, thanks for sharing!

    I’m wondering, do you also have figures about number of visitors per day, and therefore conversion rate? Because the absolute number of sales in your article might be misleading if, say, your game was featured on TIGSource some time during the sale 😉

  12. Chris says:

    I guessed wrong: I had thought that on Sunday, it would be name-the-price. I can’t help but think that “$1 or more” would have netted you more than just “$1” (I ended up waiting for Monday).

    I don’t think higher net is a guarantee, though. There are certainly people who would pay $1 when it’s the current price, but feel uncomfortable paying $1 when they could pay more. If you wanted to do name-the-price, you might consider having a little micro-sale beforehand (say, $1 during the witching hour GMT of Friday the 13th) to set the expectation that yes, you’re OK letting the game go for $1 (but pay what you want).

    Re: Thomas: I believe it was featured on TIGSource on Wednesday, so it’s probably fortunate that lined up with a heavy discount. featured it Tuesday and then a couple more times later in the week, which didn’t seem to have much effect.

  13. […] Houlden ran an interesting experiment with the pricing of her game, Swift*Stitch. Each day for a week she picked a new price for the […]

  14. Good stuff!

    I made a demand curve out of the sales numbers and did some amateur economics:

  15. Romani says:

    Thats right, when i go to indievania and see game for 1$ i have no problem with impulsive purchase, but when game price is 3-5$ i ask myself “will you really play this?”.
    If game costs even more i think “maybe i should wait it in some bundle?”.

  16. […] two price point experiment reflects, at least in part, the efforts of Sophie Houlden’s “pay-when-you-want” sale, which Michael brought up in his seminal blog post. The point being made here by these developers […]

  17. […] two price point experiment reflects, at least in part, the efforts of Sophie Houlden’s “pay-when-you-want” sale, which Michael brought up in his seminal blog post. The point being made here by these developers […]

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