We recently released a game on Steam(March 25 2022) and I want to share the results with you.
So, Gentlemen, let’s see the results.
Please note that I could write an entire book on this experience and I can only show a small tip of what went behind.
What went bad
Man, there are still so many things that went wrong but I am just trying to highlight the big ones
– BAD TIMING: We had our peek of the Email marketing campaign during the February Steam fest meaning content creators were already having tons of content to choose from
– BAD LUCK: More than 30% of our Wishlist were from people in Russia and we lost them all because at the point of release they could not get money on their Steam wallets to buy the game but the ones who still had funds in wallets they could, still very hard strike for us
– BAD UPDATE: after release, my partner programmer Sadoff made updates each day based on feedback and bug reports we had and during one update he made a mistake so the game did not start anymore, it was maximum stress on our side since negative reviews started coming all of a sudden, we hardly manage to rebalance the situation with fast update fix and PR but it was one of the most stressful moments we had, we almost went to negative rating at that point.
– BAD RESOLUTION: Many streamers did not touch our game because we did not have zoom-in for big-screen resolution, the agony of having a custom game engine and everything is so small on 4k resulted in the loss of many streamer opportunities.
What went good
– COMMUNITY: we implemented a Discord button in the game’s main menu and added achievements with rewards including one that gives extra new game ammunition if players join our discord, I do not know exactly if this was the reason why they joined but many joined our Discord community and the activity was tripled. Having a solid community will be a critical element for our future releases. Long-term benefits. (remind me to show you guys my DIscord LVL up the internal template for community management)
– SOCIAL MEDIA: The social media campaign started in 1st March and was active with daily posts until March 28
A. Facebook: here I posted again only in specific target audience groups and I got a lot of support, by this time many admins were already familiar with me, and some of them pinned my posts. I also made an event for my friends and contact with the release date countdown and constant posting in key places(to much to explain) results were good I also managed to get few of my posts viral again.
B. Twitter & Gamejolt: they both have a somehow similar system so I used very similar content in my MK campaign.
1. GAMEJOLT & ITCH.io:
On Gamejolt we had some posts featured in some communities + we got featured on Gamejolt hot new games and had good results but we also had constant engagements. most translated into wishlist additions on Steam. We also released a free Short version of the game a few days before the main Steam release, this was a nice move, it did not generate many downloads & results but still, a spark of magic was added.
Here are a few examples of posts from Gamejolt that got Featured:
2. TWITTER. Long story short: we did not get many Wishlists from Twitter but we got a lot of networking with content creators and media and even Branding, this was also a very good long-term investment. Feel free to scroll on our Twitter wall and see what types of posts we made and what engagements we had: https://twitter.com/16bitnights
– TEAM SYNCHRONIZATION: as some of you know I only work in teams 1+1, and TBH I think it is the best amount. So our sync was going perfect, my partner Sadoff was making updates each day after the release and he was responsible for bug reports topics, while I was responsible for PR on email(I also should make a different topic just for this alone), discord community, and additional Steam community. Also having an already fan base of testers helpt a lot in identifying new bugs fast that was caused by additional updates.
– RELEASE DAY: We wanted Splattercat to make a release video but we thought that he already made an exclusive Beta video on our game so we did not want to be insistent since he seems to like to always have fresh content.
But we got Mr. Falcon to make a video review on our game and he synchronized perfectly on the exact release day:
– ORGANIC MARKETING: this was probably the best result ever for me. We invested a lot in having high re-playability with 30% RNG content, multiple paths, multiple ways to play, and multiple endings and this paid off big time, just go on youtube and search for “Chromosome Evil”, a huge amount of players that brought the game made videos not to mention I saw it streamed on some Discord rooms.
– CONTACTS/NETWORKING: Having been doing games for 10 years got me some nice connections and most of them were very supportive. Here is an example from the Mud & Blood community, as a bonus we both share a similar audience of top-down tactical games audience. I have full respect for them, and I hope one day I can return the favor.
– EXCLUSIVITY: the exclusivity marketing approach opened some extra doors for us
And so much more things that I am just too tired to talk about and probably best to keep a few things in mystery
OK let’s move on to the final chapter of results.
Steam Release Results
1. Before the release, we got featured in “Popular upcoming releases”. At this point we had I think around 8k-9k Wishlists and growing ultra-fast
2. After the release we got featured in New & Trending / Popular new releases
24 March (few hours before the release )
Steam wishlist – 9800
Steam followers – 1455
Gamejolt followers – 267 / Gamejolt demo downloads: 57
Discord – 434
Twitter – 1456
Itch.io demo downloads – 48
25 March (1 day after release )
Steam wishlist – 12.700
Steam followers – 1986
Gamejolt followers – 267 / Gamejolt demo downloads: 65
Discord – 468
Twitter – 1456
Itch.io demo downloads – 73
units sold on steam – 1093 (half were from Wishlist)
31 March (final release discount day/1 week after release )
Steam wishlist – 20.700
Steam followers – 2728
Gamejolt followers – 276 / Gamejolt demo downloads: 96
Discord – 534
Twitter – 1462
Itch.io demo downloads – 124
units sold on steam – around 2550
After 1 and a half years since release
Steam wishlist – now at 22.000 and it had a peak of 38.000
Steam followers – 3700
Gamejolt followers – 313 / Gamejolt demo downloads: 517
Discord – 636
Twitter – 1491
Itch.io demo downloads – 557
units sold on steam – Around 12.000 units
Our priorities now are:
– Consolidation of our fan base on Discord
– Consolidation of reviews & steam rating
– Consolidation of our personal contacts
All of these tasks are aimed at the long-term.
And here is something I want to share with you, maybe it seems like a cliche but for me it’s deep:
This is EXACTLY HOW I FELT!
Releasing a game feels like a gladiator entering the Arena. BEAUTIFUL S**T! I will admit I had some tears in my eyes on the release day.