Gun Monkeys is a “procedurally-generated, physics-based, online deathmatch platform game” from Size Five Games. If that sounds confusing, you can check out the Steam page to see a video of it in action which will probably explain it better than mere words can. The game launched earlier this month, but head of Size Five Dan Marshall has learned that the sales of any online multiplayer game depends largely on the health of the community.
So, Gun Monkeys needs players in order to play it. You need other people milling around. At times, the servers are quite busy, you can quite happily play for hours. At other times, they’re dead, because everyone who owns a copy of Gun Monkeys is at work or at school or sleeping or playing Rogue Legacy. You have to sell HYPER-LOTS of copies in order for the servers to have anyone in them, triply so if you’re trying to get a game at 4am. This is a fact I now know that I didn’t really appreciate before.
In response to the low multiplayer population, Marshall is dropping the price of Gun Monkeys from $10 to $5.99, and every purchase will come with a gift copy of the game to give to someone else. He hopes this will solve the problem and get the multiplayer community going. Marshall also offered this advice to fellow indie developers:
Here’s the takeaway from this, for any indie dev considering adding multiplayer to a game: the number of games you have to sell in order to have people playing *constantly* is HUGE. Hugerer than you think, even. Even hugerer than your revised figure. It’s massive, and it might not happen.