Ever wonder how much you could earn by quitting your job and making sweet indie games for XBL? Using Major Nelson’s 2009 ranking, the guys in the XNA forums did a little digging and posted the results (cleaned up in this handy chart by the guys at gamerbytes.com). While most Top 20 games earned around $20,000, Jamezila’s I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 pulled in an astounding $112,000.
Developer Reedake2, whose Aquarium HD made #10 on the list, and whose new Creed Arena (reviewed by our own Allen Kim here) promises to do well in 2010, warned would-be designers not to get the wrong message. “Please don’t take this to mean that apps are an easy way to make money,” he said on the XNA boards. “We put an immense amount of time and polish into Aquarium HD (more so than a lot of games get), and that has been reflected in sales.”
If you can get 2 or 3 solid games a year out, the answer to the opening question may well be “quite a bit”. Of course if you are a clever marketer and can leverage that success into a little celebrity time on Jimmy Fallon and some invites to X11, then it’d definitely be worth while.