Carpe Fulgur, the translation company behind Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, has released numbers recently--numbers you really won't find with the NPD Group. Through various distribution models, they have managed to sell 26,000 copies.
Pause a moment and smile. In the grand scheme of Blizzard's latest selling millions, or another Mario doing the same, contemplate that this was a game with very little budget in marketing, shared on various blogs, sold only digitally, and still selling a respectable amount. While the math would be difficult to ascertain due to there being a pre-order sale, and not knowing the numbers of pre-order versus post-launch purchases, theoretically they made somewhere between $467,000 (impossible, since they weren't all pre-orders) and $519,000 before any prices they needed to pay to their digital distributors. For an indie team in Japan, as the majority will likely go to them, and a small localization company, that is hardly something at which to sneeze.
Of course, it's useful to consider what Carpe Fulgur did right. Unlike some companies who believe the strength and good word of the game will sell copies, they made one important move that you can see in our own comments on the blog post in which I talked up the game: they provided a demo. According to their own numbers, they had at least a 20-30% conversion rate of people who played the demo and bought the full game. At least three of you admitted to doing the same.
Carpe Fulgur also mentions that the number was likely inflated by pirates who downloaded the demo, unlocked the game, and then decided to pay anyway. Instead of railing against them, however, Carpe Fulgur goes a step further and thanks them for some of their support in going back to actually pay for the game.
Direct from their fingertips:
So thank you again, everyone. 26,000 copies in four weeks is an incredible success in the indie scene, especially for an unknown Japanese game nobody had ever heard of a few months ago from a couple of dudes with no previous work to their name.
But even with all this, one should not think this is the end. We hope to announce a couple of very exciting projects in the near future, and we've begun to look at a number of future potential titles for localization.
Here's to hoping they find much success with their future projects.