We make games that say something new.


Voyager, like all my games, is free to play and was designed to be supported by in-game advertisements. So far, players have responded very positively to the game. Unfortunately, my bottom line has not.

So far this month, about 300k ad impressions have been served to Voyager users. This chart breaks down those percentages by region:

From this perspective, it appears the game has been most successful in Asia and Europe (and my App Hub download numbers, Flurry analytics, and the huge number of positive reviews from those regions corroborate this). This next chart tells a different story:

In terms of revenue, many of the regions where the game is the most popular barely chart. In fact, almost 80% of the revenue earned in that period comes from just 12% of the total impressions.

Why is this happening? The answer is eCPM. eCPM means “effective cost per thousand impressions,” and it’s what determines how much money a developer makes from ads. An eCPM of 1 means that 1000 impressions earns the developer $1. The value can vary wildly, from a few cents to several dollars. Unfortunately, because I’m using Microsoft’s ad control, “a few cents” is often overly generous.

This complex chart demonstrates the relationship between impressions, eCPM, and revenue. The further to the right a country is, the more impressions, while height equals higher eCPM. Finally, dot size correlates to revenue. Notice how most countries have an eCPM at or near 0, including many with highest number of players.

I’m thrilled with the amount of support and positive feedback I’ve been getting from abroad. Ultimately though, what this boils down to for me is that unless my game does better in the US, UK and Canada (or unless Microsoft gets its act together with worldwide advertising), it’s never going to make money (on Windows Phone, anyway). I’m still surprised it hasn’t done better in the US, but I can always hope that it will someday get featured and attract the audience it needs to thrive.


  1. Has the paid version of Voyager (which is awesome, BTW), helped at all?

    One of the things I noticed with the advertising on both Voyager and other ad-driven WP8 apps is that the advertising often seems really unfocused: I’m in the US, and getting ads, for example, for Indian car manufacturers.

    1. Hi SirThoreth, and thank you! Unfortunately, no; the paid version has sold something like 70 units (Microsoft doesn’t even pay out for fewer than 286 units). Maybe the situation would have been different if I had released the paid version first, but based on anecdotal evidence from other Windows Phone developers I know, I doubt it. For the upcoming iOS reboot, I’m planning a more well-rounded monetization strategy – advertising, an optional in-app purchase to remove ads, and additional purchase options for extra content.

Comments are closed.