Jonathan Blow can’t really talk about specific sales figures, or who’s playing what on which platform, but he can tell us one thing: The Witness made a buttload of money in its first week of release.
$5 million to be precise.
In a blog post, Jonathan Blow goes into a little more detail on the specifics, while juggling what he’s contractually allowed to say.
Finally, I want to make clear that we did not make this game in order to make money. We were trying to build a beautiful / interesting / intricate thing, first and foremost. The money just helps us stay in business in order to build new things. It is very easy on the Internet to read a financial posting like this cynically, so I urge folks out there not to do that.
Okay, so here’s what I can say:
Across all platforms, The Witness has totalled over $5 million USD gross revenue in the first week, and it has sold substantially more than 100,000 units.
This is a good chunk more revenue in one week than Braid made in its entire first year, from August 2008-September 2009. (Braid initially launched on XBLA in August 2008, and it came to Steam in April 2009). Braid was considered a hit independent game at the time.
You might expect that a good chunk of this gross revenue is a direct result of its price — US$39.99 — but even allowing for the price, Blow claims that both PC sales and PS4 sales are outpacing Braid, meaning that The Witness is outselling Braid by a pretty large margin overall.
Interestingly, this still isn’t enough to cover the production costs of The Witness.
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.
Blow also mentioned that ports for Android, iOS and XBox One are all under “serious consideration”.
Fun Sales Facts [The-Witness]