Proun pirated by 40% of players. Pay What You Want model "did pretty badly," says creator

Tom Senior at

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Proun is a gorgeous indie game that has you racing along a rail through abstract worlds. It was released back in June under a pay what you want model. Back then, Proun's creator Joost van Dongen promised to release the sales data to let everyone know how the payment system worked for him. Now Gamasutra report on a huge blog post van Dongen has published, revealing the exact sales figures for Proun. His verdict? "Proun is a big success! Pay What You Want is not!"

By examining the number of installs compared to the number of downloads through official sources, van Dongen estimates that close to 200,000 people pirated Proun, even when there were legal channels by which to obtain the game for free. Pirated copies made up for 40% of the Proun installs recorded. Only 1.76% of people paid, shelling out $5.23 each on average. Factoring in the pirated copies and free downloads, van Dongen says that he made just $0.09 per player.

Of course, that still means close to $23,000 in revenue, which van Dongen admits is a good sum for an individual developer. "To me personally, Proun is a tremendous success and made an enormous amount of money! But compared to what a game with this kind of success can make, it did pretty badly," he writes, adding "I think Proun could have made way more money if it had been sold in a different way."

Van Dongen made Proun in his spare time over the course of nine months, effectively earning 1567 Euros per month for a hobby. Not bad at all, but considering the high review scores it received, and the unexpectedly high number of day one downloads, van Dongen was surprised revenues weren't higher. "It would not have given me a good buffer for a future project," he says.

Pay what you want models have worked extremely well in other circumstances. The Humble Indie Bundles have made huge sums, and 2D Boy published the intriguing results of their pay what you want birthday experiment back in 2009. For a smaller game like Proun, however, the results haven't been quite as positive. As a result, Proun's pricing model has been changed slightly. Instead of paying anything you want, we can now pay anything we want as long as it's more than $1. You can grab it from the Proun site.