Gamasutra has released some highlighted data from its 2014 Indie Salary Report, an annual survey of non-salaried game developers in North America. The data shows that 2013 was not a great year for solo indie developers, with individuals in that category earning an average income of $11,812 in 2013, down a whopping 49 percent from 2012’s $23,130 average.
On the plus side, indie developers that were part of a team of developers earned more in 2013: they earned an average of $50,833, up 161 percent from 2012’s $19,487.
The survey also found that 57 percent of indie developer income came from game sales. Around 27 percent of those surveyed said they made additional income through contract work. Less than six percent (in each category) of respondents said they made money through other avenues including sponsorship opportunities, awards or grants, crowdfunding, or other methods.
While crowdfunding is a popular way to raise capital for development, only five percent used that funding model in 2013. Around 8 percent of those surveyed said that they made money from paid alpha sales (Steam Early Access, for example), but nearly half of those developers who made money from paid alpha sales said those sales comprised 96-100 percent of their total game sales in 2013.
Finally, around 57 percent of indie game developers (including both solo indies and members of indie teams) made under $500 in game sales. On the other end of the spectrum, around two percent claimed they made over $200,000 in game sales.
For some more fascinating information on indies, check out Gamasutra's 2014 Indie Salary Report (PDF).