This is an article in the ‘Behind the scenes’ category where I shed some light on what it takes to make games. I warn you: they are real, these articles might discourage you to develop games yourself.
How did the launch of ‘Find the Gnome’ go?
Thanks for asking 😉
Well, it was a really great launch. Way better than expected and received way better than expected. The sales do lag behind, but more on that later.
Expectations on forehand
First of all, what was my expectation before the release:
- A few more people on my steam page due to being in the ‘just launched’ section. So instead of the normal 30 views/day average, an increase to about 120 views/day.
- First 3 months a wish list conversion of around 50%.
- One to three reviews, probably all negative or just indifferent. And a few notes in them how to improve the game for my audience.
- A better understanding who the audience of ‘Find the Gnome’ is.
- A few bug reports.
Reality at launch
The day before launch day there was a massive increase in traffic to my steam page. 11 times more to be precisely. And on launch day it peaked at 43 times more traffic. It has seen a decline since then but way less then I expected. Still on all time highs on 5 days since launch.
The wish list conversion is zero to nothing. But still got around 25 buyers in 5 days.
I got a load of people adding the game to their wish list: 4 months having a store page life NETS THE SAME amount of adds as from the day before the release until now (5 days)…
And I got a bunch of reviews: 1x steam review, 3x steam curator reviews, 5x YouTube gameplay coverage.
There were no bug reports.
But there was certainly some expression of not knowing what to expect. In the week before the launch I contacted reviewers to review my game and some of them told me the game was unclear in what to do: I immediately countered it by adding a help section to the game. It became clear to me that there the game-play is not guiding the people in what to do.
Retrospective of the launch
The game was received better than expected. The sales lag behind but I can’t be for certain yet because it is a common known phenomenon that you need to start doing sales in staffels to get people to convert. But yeah, this game is in the lowest regions of Steam units solds, compared to the other Steam games.
I am exhausted. That’s not good: It makes it a lot harder to counter some known issues that did arise on the launch day. As a father working full time at a job, I have a hard time directing energy to any kind of mind activity after working hours. I did promise some more updates on the game but I’m really glad I didn’t mention a time span. So mental note to myself: don’t target launch day as ‘the day there will finally be some rest’ but rather 2-4 weeks after it, and spread the energy accordingly.
The reviews were all-right. Although I did think my audience through, I have a hard time reaching out to them. Instead a whole other audience is playing my game now, and of course they have other expectations of the game.
But that’s oké for me. I just need some months redirecting the game a little so it fits my ‘real’ audience better.
The youtube coverage I got so far: