Games

Best of 2020: No more robot bosses on how SwitcheShop encourages publishers to abuse the system

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During the holiday season, we’ll republish a series of Nintendo Life articles, interviews, and other feature articles over the last 12 months that we consider to be the best of 2020. We hope this will give you a chance to catch up with the work you missed. Or just look back on the year when there were some highlights — honest!

This feature was originally published in October 2020.


Since the Switch was launched in March 2017, developers have been told several times about the e-shop, its discoverability issues, and the tactics used to attract attention and sell games at Nintendo’s digital storefront. talked. At launch, the e-shop was very much in line with the console’s actionable home menu — simple, functional, and clearly not flashy.

But over time, Thousands Many games have been dropped on Switch, but the e-shop behaves much like the launch date. This has become a big issue for publishers when it comes to simply getting attention in the Nintendo store.

“The problem with e-shops is that they have never been built for discoverability, which is bad for both developers and consumers,” says Mike Rose of publisher No More Robots. ..Posted by Rose Twitter thread In the last week of September, we elaborated on our publishing experience at the Switch eShop. We caught up with him by email and scrutinized a little more.

In a long thread (above), Rose talked about a comparison of sales performance for four No More Robots Switch releases this year. Not tonight, Yes your grace, Prophet everywhere And Hypnospace Outlaw.. His findings are a fascinating reading, especially alongside SMG CEO’s Ashley Ringrose’s comment from an interview earlier this year about the impact of e-shop discounts on indie game sales. I’ll touch on the point here, but it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes reading the entire Twitter thread.

In the past, Rose’s opportunity to try Switch this year, as well as the “painful” Switch eShop, made frank statements about his dissatisfaction with other online storefronts, an interesting and somewhat depressing conclusion. Was derived.

For example, he believes Metacritic scores are more important on Switch than on other digital game store fronts. I’ve certainly noticed that the game has a prominent display of Metascore in the main Switch eShop image. “As far as I know, it’s partly related to how people find discounts and deals on Switch games,” Rose says when asked in detail.Apparently Significant discount + decent “green” Metacritic score = Instagram purchase For many switch gamers browsing the e-shop. “I know that many Switch users use sites like DekuDeals. These sites tend to show Metacritic scores prominently and can also be filtered by MC score. That’s probably Most of them. “

After previously begging indie developers not to “devaluate” [their] work! Don’t give big discounts! “Rose writes about reaching the end of the tether and having to make tough choices. No More Robots has decided to sell Not Tonight at 90% off, as Nintendo’s charts depend on the number of units sold, not the revenue generated from the sale.

As Rose correctly pointed out in the tweet, it was unlikely that Nintendo would get in the way to promote the rude bouncer Sim about Brexit.
As Rose pointed out correctly His tweet, Nintendo couldn’t get in the way to promote a rude bouncer sim about Brexit slim.

“Yes, that wasn’t a fun decision,” he repeats. “As I mentioned in the Twitter thread, I continued to postpone such discounts, but then the same game and the same publisher appeared many times on top-selling charts, and they apparently operated the store. I used to make a lot of money, that is, how many times I need to see it Thief simulator Before we get tired of it? Obviously not enough, given how often you get 90% off at the top of your e-shop! “

In the end, I had to clench my teeth and try a “can’t beat them, join them” approach … if everyone else is breaking the store, what else do you do? Can you do it?

“In the end, I had to clench my teeth and try an approach that’can’t beat them, join them’. I’m still not sure if I actually plan to do that in other games. It may be maintained as a continuous experiment with Not Tonight. But in the end, what else can you do if everyone else is breaking the store? “

The benefits of the big discount were immediately reflected in sales. Rose wrote in a Twitter thread: “We entered the top 30 charts in 24 hours. We broke through the charts in a week. We sat there for another two weeks before the sale ended. The game sold about the same number of units. During those four weeks, I made a six-digit profit because I sold it on Steam for the rest of my life. “

In a sense, learning to sell in an e-shop feels like a small metagame of its own. Rose finally found a way to “play” the e-shop. “Honestly, that’s the way I see all marketing and publishing, and it’s a lot of fun. As you would expect, the 90% off sales success was certainly spectacular, and It actually led us to explore future plans, along with Not Tonight. But there was also a great deal of feeling. “Yup” Still, I realized that “joining them” meant selling a little of my soul. “

No More Robots couldn’t touch Not Tonight on the chart, but Yes, you used Your Grace to try a small discount that would perform well in terms of profitability. Yes, Your Grace was a hot game in the store, but the hot status on the storefront didn’t lead to the sales that publishers expected. Rose was also worried that the big discounts on the e-shop would put pressure on Steam’s sales, but it didn’t seem to be affected at all. In fact, they enjoyed something very small. To increase..

For Nintendo’s competitors, Rose says only positive things about Microsoft’s Game Pass. No More Robots is in a position to compare sales across multiple platforms. This is a comparison that small developers and publishers may not be able to make. A developer who couldn’t launch on all consoles asked him if he should first “game” the e-shop at a discount or put the game in the game pass first and come to Switch later.

We strongly recommend that big discounts should not be a reliable strategy for developers … Never give big discounts on other platforms

“Be careful because it depends a lot on games, genres, prices, etc. Xbox Game Pass is a blessing to us because the revenue from the console port is immediately profitable, but it’s not. Say it works for all games and developers. “

Despite his tactical success, he remains cautious about his approach. “We strongly recommend that big discounts shouldn’t be a reliable strategy for developers. Perhaps when the game is released for a while and sales are exhausted, it’s a way to explore, especially on the Switch. Maybe. We offer big discounts on other platforms. We usually offer 15-40% discounts on Steam, Xbox, etc., which are very effective. “

If Rose was in charge of the redesign, I was wondering how Rose would tweak the e-shop. Can Nintendo adopt other over-the-counter approaches to improve the e-shop situation?

“Developers are struggling to sell games through e-shops. Consumers are struggling to find something other than the game they were literally looking for. Achieved by other stores such as Steam. That is, consumers like games and tenderly offer similar games or recommend titles that fall into the same genre, price range, etc. Obviously, e-shops are like that for now. I’m not doing anything.[発見]The tab is what Nintendo has decided to drive it. weekly. “

Hypnospace Outlaw is a delicious and weird 90's internet puzzle sim that we enjoyed so much.
Hypnospace Outlaw is a delicious and weird 90’s internet puzzle sim that we enjoyed so much.

“Therefore, the two main points I hit are to create some outlets that can be found in the e-shop, while at the same time ranking everything by revenue rather than units, and all the big discounts easily come to the top. I think it’s to prevent. “

Nintendo’s approach on Switch is far from the platform owner’s previous console eShop, and vaguely scrolling through a long list of discounted games has become a weekly event for many of us. Rose himself asked if he was looking for a bargain in the e-shop.

I have a strong belief in supporting small development teams, so sometimes I want to pick a few games and see what the chat is.

“I go through e-shops often. It’s a way to choose the games I buy often, but these days it’s getting harder and harder. Usually you have pages and deals in front of you. You need to scroll through the pages to find one or two interesting titles just because there are so many titles you’ve seen many times already at 90% off. I’m still trying — I strongly believe in supporting small development teams. Sometimes I want to pick a few games and see what the chat is. “

No More Robots has a fifth game that hits the e-shop this November: Downhill Biker descendants Land on Switch on November 6th. We asked if he felt better in the next Switch launch. Does he expect it to follow the trends of previous titles, or do he expect to throw another curve ball?

“Descender is a bit weird game in that it doesn’t follow the rules in terms of how sales look. Because so many people know the game, and very well on other platforms. At this point, we know it will work for Switch because it’s working. We saw this with the PS4 launch last month. The platform wasn’t pushed significantly during the launch week, and the game was still crazy. It sells like this and simply keeps doing so. If you have more than 3 million players in your game before launching on the Switch, you will always leak to the new platform, so you’ll see the same success on the Switch. I’m sure it will be done. “

Given the volatile nature of e-shop things for many small businesses, “quite confident” certainly sounds like a win for a growing publisher, and Rose says he’s lucky. I know I’m in a position. “As you can imagine, this is a very good situation and it puts a lot of pressure on us. 2020 was a tough and tiring year, so it’s a lot of fun. Haha.. “

Thank you for taking the time to Mike. Descenders will finally be released on Switch on November 6th. All other games listed above can now be found in eShop.

https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/12/best_of_2020_no_more_robots_boss_on_how_switch_eshop_is_pushing_publishers_to_game_the_system

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