First week unit sales of The Witness have totalled over 100,000 across PC and PS4 combined, generating revenue of more than $5 million, creator Johnathan Blow has revealed.
"The Witness has now been on sale for a week, so it seems like a good time to post a financial summary," wrote Blow in a blog, before noting that deals with digital stores means he's not able to be too precise about platform breakdowns.
"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," he wrote.
"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."
The Witness costs more than twice what Braid did at launch, so to some extent you'd expect revenue to be higher, but what about sales units?
"The Witness has a higher price than Braid did (Braid launched at $14.99 [$16.50 when inflation-adjusted to 2015 dollars], and The Witness launched at $39.99). By number of units, the first week of each individual platform handily beats Braid's first week of sales. (Witness on PC by itself beat Braid's first week by a decent margin, and Witness on PSN by itself beat Braid's first week by a decent margin, counting only by number of units). This is great because as price goes up, naturally the number of units sold goes down. So the fact that we beat Braid by units, more than doubly, is a really nice success," he explained.
"The Witness launched on two platforms, PSN and Windows PC. Neither of these platforms dominates our sales; PC is very strong for us, and PSN is very strong for us," he added.
If you've seen some sales guesstimates on the likes of SteamSpy, then Blow says you should add a bit to the total.
All this means Blow is bathing in dollar bills, right? Well, not so much.
"So, the game is doing great. That doesn't mean we have broken even on our development cost yet!" explained Blow. "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 notes that whilst the game needs to be a success in order to carry on creating the games he wants to make, he's not in it for the money.
"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."
Source: The Witness Blog