I’ve just received an email from Koen Witters from Koonsolo the developer of Mystic Mine which I reviewed and interviewed, and he gladly reports that GNU/Linux users buy games, even more then the Windows and MacOS users considering the smaller market share of our beloved OS.

Here’s what he writes on his website :

Linux users show their love for indie game
September 14th, 2009

“When I released my indie game Mystic Mine, I had no idea if the Linux version was going to sell. But 7 months later, I must say the results are quite surprising.

Recently I got interviewed by Linux Gaming News about my indie game Mystic Mine, and one of the questions was how many Linux copies I sold. I looked into it and saw that I sell the most copies for Mac OS X, then for Linux, and the least for Windows. I didn’t make much of it, because as an indie game developer it’s easier to get noticed on Mac OS X or Linux than on Windows. And selling games is all about exposure. But after people started to ask questions on this, I looked further into it, and what I discovered really surprised me.

Before releasing Mystic Mine, I honestly had no idea if it was going to sell on Linux. I expected it to sell well on Mac OS X and Windows, because other indies have already reported this, but on Linux, I had absolutely no idea. My initial thoughs were that Linux users are used to getting quality stuff for free, so I didn’t expect them to pay for software. So would they pay for games? Probably not. But now I know how wrong that assumption was. Just look at my findings below.

I released Mystic Mine the 3rd of February 2009, so currently there is 7 months of statistical data. Let’s first take a look at the web visitors I got during that period:


So I got 40.29% visitors using Windows, 36.30% using Mac and 22.58% using Linux. Nothing special with these figures, because it’s easier to get Mac or Linux exposure, but there are still a lot more Windows users.

But if you look at my sales, that’s quite a different story:

* Mac OS X: 42.72%
* Linux: 33.98%
* Windows: 23.30%

Linux represents 1/3rd of my total sales, which is quite a lot if you compare that to the number of Linux visitors I get. And now comes the cool part. Below are the conversion rates per OS for my Mystic Mine game. Conversion rate means the number of sales I get per visitor (Remark that indie game developers normally work with sales per demo download, not per web visitor):

* Linux: 0.43%
* Mac OS X: 0.39%
* Windows: 0.19%

As you can see Linux is way up there, which is quite a surprise to say the least. For every 232 Linux visitors I get on my website, one of them buys my game. If you compare that to windows users, I need 526 of them to get a sale. For Mac OS X it’s 256. So who would have thought that Linux users are the most eager to buy an indie game? Certainly not me.

Of course these statistics are for my game only. Therefore I would love to see some other indie game developers release their sales statistics on this, because if they get the same results as me, Linux is a more viable gaming platform than anyone currently assumes.”

Taken from : http://www.koonsolo.com/news/?p=33

So there is a market for GNU/Linux games after all…

By The Way, Koen Witters is now working on a new game called Big Bulldozer , I guess I shouldn’t ask him if there is going to be a GNU/Linux client 😉 .

  1. liam says:

    Doesn’t suprise me, the more developers start to realise this the more options we will have available for us.

    It is not just the lack of titles that gets us going it is the fact that they actually support something other than Windows along with the fact that they don’t overprice their games = one happy customer base.

  2. Sindwiller says:

    Hah, Linux users are awesome customers 😀

  3. I also think that the Windows users have a bigger market to choose from and therefore it’s harder to make them buy.

    Another thing, the Windows users I know the don’t buy things, the steal it. Where the Linux users I know they do 1) use a free alternative or 2) Buy the product.
    This could be that Linux users are more passioned/aware about their OS.