Q.U.B.E. Recoups Investment Within 4 Days of Steam Release

We are happy to announce that Q.U.B.E., the first Indie Fund-ed game to market, took only 4 days on Steam to generate enough revenue for Toxic Games to repay the full investment amount of $90k. As previously promised, we aim to be as transparent as possible with all our investment work, so we’d like to provide everyone with a brief recap of how things unfolded in this case.

Toxic originally pitched Q.U.B.E. to us in late August of 2010 with an estimated budget of $42k. We approved the game for funding about 2 months later.

Back then we had a two stage approval system. We would first vote on whether to continue investigating the project, and then collected budget and schedule information for a final vote the following month. Since we only have one call per month, the approval process took too long. We’ve since changed this to a single vote system where we vote whether to fund a game on the first partner call after they were submitted. That means a typical turnaround time of up to a month instead of up to 2 months.

With other games we were funding, we found that sending a developer a check every month to cover their expenses wasn’t working very well. It was a headache for us, and monthly build-based payments felt too publisher-y, and somewhat disrespectful to the developer. In short, it felt icky, so with Q.U.B.E. we decided to take a different approach and pay 50% of the total investment amount up front, and the other 50% when the first half was close to running out.

We sent the team their first payment of $21k in October 2010, and the second half (also $21k) was sent in January 2011. At that point it became clear that the game would run over budget, and it did, so we decided to provide Toxic two more payments totaling $47.5k. We are very happy that we were able to fully fund the game, as it was important to us, and to Toxic’s future as independent developers, that the team shipped the best game they could.

In the short time that it’s been available on Steam, Q.U.B.E. has sold over 12,000 copies. As such, Indie Fund recouped its investment in Q.U.B.E., and now we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Toxic Games. Our goal is to help developers get and stay independent and it will take some time to see if we’ve achieved it. With the investment already paid off and discussions in progress about bringing Q.U.B.E beyond PC, we’re feeling pretty hopeful.

Our heartfelt congratulations to Toxic Games. We’re proud to have played a small role in what has already been a great success.

  • http://mpopov.com Mikhail Y. Popov

    Wow! Congratulations to Toxic Games AND the Indie Fund!

  • Valent

    Best indie game of 2011. Completely desrved it.

  • Mulet

    Fuck yes. And the second 4 days, and third 4 days after that should ensure their next game.

    Living the dream.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/102695540897185625713/about Space Indaver

    Congratulations, folks. Fighting the good fight.

  • Matt

    Great news! would be great if you could keep us updated on how many more copies you sell in the next few weeks.

  • http://twitter.com/thetinycolossus Tiny Colossus

    Very good work, both by Indie Fund and Toxic Games. Thanks for sharing the figures, it gives a good insight into how things work.

  • Anonymous

    awesome game and great news!

    if possible, as schedules/budgets/etc. are a vital part of the game creation process… is it possible to discuss why Toxic went over budget (personnel, resources, etc.)? i ask as i believe it would be a good discussion point for individuals/collectives/companies to discuss why these things happen and thereby learn from them (in real life examples), especially in the indie-game landscape. also, were there any clear-cut reasons why Indie Fund was willing to make 2 payments that were approximately 1.5x (per payment) higher than the prinicpal? Again, just curious as to the numbers of it all (if that’s ok). thanks :D

    • Ron Carmel

      qube went over budget/schedule for the same reason that the vast majority of software projects go over: we all suck at estimating how much work software projects take :)

      • Anonymous

         that’s what people like to think anyway… even themselves ;)
        i think overconfidence plays a major role as well. i’ve seen it time and time again. people would even with some arrogance say “pah! of course i’ll be able to do that in X days!”. and then they weren’t.
        it’s especially great if you yourself are a modest, realistic kind of guy but you’re the only one to calculate that way. is sure to earn you unpleasant looks from your supervisor. and by the time all the others are lagging behind and you are still on schedule for your more realistic calculation, they may have already forgotten about that. only disappointments seem to stick very well.
        anyway… that’s just my experience and i’m clearly not saying everybody is like that.

  • http://twitter.com/FlyingRoosters Flying Roosters

    Congratz on the success! Inspiring story for all of us :)

  • Greg Spiridonov

    good to see things going so well! i truely believe in this project, and hope that one day I have something that I could pitch to you guys.. great work both ec and toxic!

  • gcoelho

    Great story! Congratulations to both you.

  • http://www.newgamenetwork.com nutcrackr

    First Indie Fund game makes profit? Good news for you and potential indie devs. Hope you go from strength to strength.

  • http://twitter.com/nixontim Tim Nixon

    Well done guys, a fantastic start for Indie Fund :)

  • Shane Dent

    This game really looks fantastic and deserves all the sales it can get. Really excited that the Indie Fund’s first partnership is a success!

    As an aside, I do hope that there is a possibility of funding a console version. I don’t do any gaming on PC or Mac but am still very interested in playing Q.U.B.E. someday! :)

  • http://blog.gambrinous.com/ Colm

    Congrats guys – great news for the Indie Fund (and for Toxic themselves of course!)

  • Scott

    I’d be interested in seeing the actual budget numbers. Does this include man-hours/salaries? Or is it just basic costs of computers, housing, food, etc?
    Budgets like this can confuse the industry due to the lack of clarity in this way.

    • http://twitter.com/shredhead1989 Daniel Da Rocha

      Basic living costs, hiring people and industry events (E3, GDC etc.)

  • http://twitter.com/richtaur Matt Hackett

    Helping game developers become independent… this is really a beautiful thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003646377 Bo Blond Daugaard

    Awesome story!! Congratz!

  • http://www.gamersramble.com/ Retronaut42

    I wonder if Notch tweeting about Q.U.B.E. to his army of over 500,000 gamers had a small part to play in the game’s early success.