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Planning to develop art assets for marketplace. What should I expect?

I’ve been looking for statistics about the marketplace for the past few days.

I’m currently a AAA 3D artist who’s going back to school very soon to learn programming. During that time, I’d like to have some form of income and the most obvious solution to me was to develop art assets.

Obviously, the first place I’ve started looking is at the Unreal Marketplace. Something I find a bit odd is how the statistics related to the marketplace are basically… well, there’s just none. It does make some sense considering the large variety present both in assets quality and price, but there’s a huge amount of assets being sold there. It’s puzzling to me that there’s just no information whatsoever.

To this end, I’ve come here to ask a few question, which I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering:

What have been your experience selling on the marketplace?
How’s Epic feedback when you submit an asset?
Did you get great (or not so great) sales and what did you sell?
What should be an average revenue for high-quality assets?
What price should be an average package of assets?
How is the customer/seller relationship in general?

Of course I can understand that some questions might sound a bit intrusive, so feel free to just answer parts - or completely dodge questions if you feel they are too personal. In my name and in the name of all the people who’ll use this thread as a reference, thank you for contributing to the community.

Lurianar

I would love more arch viz stuff

I can’t comment on how successful people may or may not be, but there was a similar thread a few months ago about this very topic. From what I recall, the most successful asset sellers on the marketplace make just shy of $30,000/year working ~40 hours per week on art asset creation.

Again - that is far from fact.

I think I have a good chunk of experience in this, we have about a dozen or so packages on the Marketplace. Ive always wanted to write one of these posts as when I was starting out, like you I couldnt find a lick of direct info on it. I made some leaps of judgement where I saw a trend of sellers make 1-3 packs in a short period of time. But then have a huge break between their next pack. This led me to believe they made their original content blind, waited for sales, got them, and decided to continue forward. Then for the people who made 1-3 and quit altogether, i noticed a distinct lack of quality. So I made the guess that I was able to reach that bench mark of quality, and become like the former, and be able to stick with it. In the end, it worked out.

So Ill try to share as much of my experience without divulging too much personal info, and hopefully you find it helpful. Id suggest most people to try their hand in it, if they are good enough. I personally dont like the idea of shooing away competition, I see this as we are all working together to create a healthy market. This type of industry is so new and fragile, that if we act cut throat early on, it will just hurt it all in the long run. I guess im an idealist at heart.

One of the biggest things to consider is this, whos buying your content and why are they doing it. Obviously buying ANYTHING on the marketplace is great value. To hire an average artist is $25 an hour, and most packs would cost between $1,000-$10,000 if you paid the artist directly. But you arent really dealing with customers who are thinking…hey should we spend $5000 on an artist, or $50 on this pack. Anyone who has the bank to spend $5000 most likely will spend that on custom art. You will be dealing with guys who maybe saved up $500 for their start up project, and you need to convince them why they should spend 10% of their budget on your stuff. The other part to consider is who is buying it. Its usually not artists. Its programmers and designers. Artists can well…make their own art. So just make sure you arent making art for artists, make it friendly, easy to use easy to understand easy to adjust content. Building blocks for designers, drag and drops for programmers.

Anyways, onto your questions.

What have been your experience selling on the marketplace?
Co founder of PolyPixel. So far ive really enjoyed doing this. I too was from a AAA background in games, and decided to do freelance to be my own boss. I knew the Marketplace was coming in 2014 so i took a month or so off and focused on a couple pieces to test it out. Eventually the packs got released, then eventually I got paid(on average its about 4-6 months from when you start your first asset till getting your first payment). And from there, I decided I liked the idea of taking that whole, be your boss thing, to another level.

How’s Epic feedback when you submit an asset?
For the most part pretty good. Only issues ive had is the time it takes to have a quick conversation as they are swamped beyond imagination. But they let you do your thing, as long as theres no glaring bugs or errors, most of its on your shoulders. If you think your quality matches the stuff on the store, they likely will do, and will throw up your stuff.

Did you get great (or not so great) sales and what did you sell?
Some things have sold great, others I would say Ive lost money if you consider my hourly rate, and the time spent on those packs. But the thing is, they still trickle in sales so I cant say for certain how much its made. But overall its been worth it monetarily speaking. The only thing I should add here is we have a small team with an extra handful of outside contractors. So our overhead cant really be compared to someone whos going to solo it part time.

What should be an average revenue for high-quality assets?
Honestly, this really depends. Im not privy to a lot of other content creators sales, and I know a lot of people want to hold their cards close to their chest in this regard, but Ill say that you should at least get a good return on just about anything with good quality. It should(no promises) give a return similar to what a freelance gig gives you at the least. But theres always a risk it bombs, or is a home run. Ive been on both spectrums, one month im day dreaming about how big my Yachts going to be, the next month im getting my resume ready to send back to EA.

What price should be an average package of assets?
ill let you know when we figure it out. We make some of the bigger environment packs out there, so we might not have the best insight for overall marketplace prices.

How is the customer/seller relationship in general?
Ill be honest, these forums have been really harsh to us over the years. A part of me has to put on my thick skin suit before I jump on here. Im usually very good with feedback, you have to be to be in this industry, but my egos been bruised a many times here. But for every mean spirited post we get here, there’s 5 direct emails or private messages where we get great feedback thats very constructive or compliments. We work with the customers a lot(almost goes back to selling fewer is better) and its always been a joy. Lots of customers realize we are in the same boat as them, and I love to think of us as their art team. Because for every great piece of feedback we tailor to their product, will translate to improved products for everyone next time. Its very rewarding to see emails with a link to a steam game with our assets in it, or a kickstarter with our maps.

I hope this helps, it was fun to write up.

Cheers,

Cody Spahr
Polypixel

Got that thread bookmarked by any chance?

Sellers like Allar (FPS shooter kit etc) seem to be making pretty useful money…
But Indications for art makers imply earnings are more humble (sales trail off)…

Here’s the thread I was referring to: How many people typically buy marketplace items? - Marketplace - Unreal Engine Forums

I was way off in my estimation. Regardless, Allar said “more than you expect, less than you’d like.” If I’m following all of the information correctly, he made ~$15,000 in a year on assets. I suppose it depends on what your definition of “pretty useful money” is. :stuck_out_tongue:

A lot of interesting answers! I’ll break it down
@SBiegun_PDG all things considered, it’s not that bad when you look at it from a business perspective. Even 20 000$ can be viable in some cases. Since I’m going to be part-time on this, it’s already much better than I initially expected.
@PolyPixels your post is incredible. I saw your company’s art on the market when I was doing some research about this subject, so when I saw your post I got a bit excited. Considering the position you have in this industry, your feedback is incredibly valuable.

One thing I saw is that you sell on multiple platforms; for instance, your most recent pack is both sold on Unreal Engine and Unity. Would you recommend going on a broader market or could it be possible to have a steady income only through the marketplace? What’s your experience with these two platforms?

Another point I’m curious is that you mention your ego has taken a hit; by this, do you mean disrespect or mostly harsh criticism? And how did you handle such situation?

In any case - and I know I repeat myself - but thank you for the well thought post. It’s really helpful!
@franktech
I’ve added the page you’ve linked to my bookmarks. There’s a lot of feedback there and it’s really interesting - it gives a broad idea of what to expect.

Yup, its been worth it for us to expand to other markets. I personally worked with Unity back in the day, so it was very familiar with me. And some members on our team are really experienced with it. So if you feel comfortable, it can be a viable option. That market is very very saturated, be warned.

As for the ego hit, theres feedback/criticism, and then theres just cruel words haha. Things like “&#% these guys suck” “Your work is %@$&” are not very fun to come across. Theyve banned a lot of the guys on here, but the forums were pretty bad in the early going. Just a few bad apples. And honestly, we just ignore them now. If people have suggestions, why would we not take it into consideration. If the feedback improves the pack for one person, most likely it will improve it for everyone. Theres 100 ways to make art, and its tough to find the best general approach to make everyone happy sometimes, guidance from the community is great here. Sometimes theres a bigger picture and we cant appease everyone however, but we are doing our best.

Keep in mind that the Epic store and game ready markets is not the only market out there. Daz3D for example is a good place to sell art assets to collectors with a bit of effort in repackaging.