Yacht Club Games has now sold more than 1.2 million units of Shovel Knight, 200,000 of which came from its physical retail release in October 2015.
In an extensive breakdown of its sales so far - the second time it has shared this kind of analysis - Yacht Club emphasised two aspects of its success that many indie developers don't consider: first, maintaining a high price was important for audience perception, and second, a retail release was a good idea.
Shovel Knight has been released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, 3DS and Steam, but it has never sold at a higher discount than 33 per cent. As one might expect, Steam was the platform where it was most frequently discounted, but Yacht Club has been careful to maintain that 33 per cent limit.
"Keeping our game at full price has been a major part of our strategy," the company said in a blog post, "as we believe players will be more invested in the game and therefore hopefully enjoy it more if it isn't bought at a bargain-bin price."
In assessing Shovel Knight's retail release - on Wii U, 3DS, PS4 and, in Europe only, PC - Yacht Club acknowledged a number of difficulties it encountered: "How small the margins are, how long and arduous the process is of creating and shipping discs/carts, how difficult and finicky retailers can be to work with, and much, much more." However, despite this, it regards the decision to launch a retail version as beneficial, reaping 200,000 sales and raising public awareness among, "kids, families, and an all around wider audience."
Yacht Club noted that, while retailers requested more PS4 stock, the Wii U version of Shovel Knight has been the biggest seller. It also observed that, "retail sales did not cannibalise digital sales at all. The sales data looks more like we're selling on a new platform rather than a percentage of people moving away from digital." However, there was a clear separation between physical and digital in the other direction, with no obvious impact on digital sales coming from the retail release.
The retail release also opened up a new revenue stream: amiibo figures, made possible by the early emphasis Yacht Club placed on Nintendo platforms. Since the Shovel Knight amiibo figure launched in January, it has sold 180,000 units of 200,000 units manufacturing run.
There is a great deal more detail in Yacht Club's breakdown, and it's very much worth your time.