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[The GameDiscoverCo game discovery newsletter is written by ‘how people find your game’ expert & GameDiscoverCo founder Simon Carless, and is a regular look at how people discover and buy video games in the 2020s.]
So that’s so important that the whole part is dedicated to one topic. If you understand the potential success of the game before its release- What is one stat that more people should pay attention to, but not?? To solve that, we need to start with an example …
Case Study: Great Wish List / Game, Minor Results?
I recently chatted with Fred Tarabout, creator of Batbarian: Testament Of The Primordials, a Metroidvania with many interesting features / depths. Fred has been working on this title for years and just made his debut in October with the “Very Positive” Steam review (great!).
However, I don’t know the exact number here, but given that there are only 70 user reviews on Steam, the game doesn’t seem to work as well as everyone wants in terms of sales. (Use GameDiscoverCo’s sales review survey to get a metric number of sales from it.)
And that’s especially frustrating for Fred and his team. That’s because they created quite a few Steam wishlists before the release. He shared this annotated graph of how they earned over 20,000 of them-and often because of attending a pre-release Steam “feature” or festival. was:
In our view, the most dangerous issue after the release of Steam is that the game doesn’t live up to expectations. So when people check the page and see things like “mixed” reviews, sales are exhausted.
However, this was clearly not the case for Bat Varian, with 95% player reviews. (Of course, you can still call all streamers who read this newsletter after the release!) So what happened?
Steam Wish List-Look at troughs, not spikes!
As you may know, we’ve been talking a lot about the quality of our wishlist lately.So I went back and asked Fred How many wishlists did Batbarian get when they weren’t featured at a Steam pre-release event or festival? And he checks and it 5-10 wishlists per day Most years before the release.
So if you pretend that your game has only 8 wishlists per day throughout the year and then launch it, it will look like 2,900 “organic” Steam wishlists at launch. And frankly, the performance of the game and its apparent (current!) Audience size make much more sense in that context.
If you talk to other developers or find out which games you can access, Natural Organic Steam Wish List Addition Number-Let’s call it “Baseline Daily Wish List” -Pre-releases can be radically different for each title.
That’s the article: Pay more attention to the number of “baseline daily wishlists”.
why? Well, we saw it from almost zero per day to 200 per day. (I’m sure it will be much higher for big games.) And I’m starting to think that the correlation with post-release success is much better than the entire Steam wishlist at release.
(Supplement: It’s a good idea to focus on the added Steam wishlists, not the individual day’s wishlist balances. The large pre-release feature removes more wishlists than you add later. You may be able to, but you don’t have to worry about it-it’s an organic addition.)
So, Example-This is an example of a pre-release Steam Wishlist from another game we have access to. This is a little “sleeper” mini-hit. But in the first place, it sold about 5,000 copies in the first week of sales on Steam.
These are part of a wishlist that was added a few weeks before launch. You can also see that the baseline daily wishlist adds an average of about 25 wishlists per day.
I also looked at other games. And yes, from the data we saw, it scales in a somewhat inaccurate but somewhat reliable way. (More baseline wishlists, increased sales at launch.)
Why do you think this way? Now, the problem with the number of existing “first week sales from wishlists” is that they can incredibly diverge. This is much more diverse than something like “review to sale”. This tends to stay in the narrower triple band.
After all, there’s a reason Valve says it’s not possible to actually estimate sales from a wishlist in a record. Here’s the percentage of “wishlist to sales” for the first week surveyed by GameDiscoverCo: It fluctuates up to 100 times.
I think there are two reasons for this.Initially Everything that comes after the release -Especially your game has lived up to expectations and has a very positive Steam rating, but is the streamer picking it up, getting reviews, etc.?
But the second is that The quality of the pre-release Steam Wishlist is fundamentally different.. And I think a lot of games are loaded into the wishlist equivalent of “empty calories”-(especially) features and (sometimes) pre-release wishlists from festivals.
“Empty Wish List” Problem
To be honest, this section (wishlist of different qualities) will probably be a completely different newsletter at some point. But to put some emotions and two specific anecdotes on this, this is what we told fellow developers when we recently discussed this:
“I remember when the number of games in the store was low and I had to push for months to get 8,000 Steam wishlists at launch. Why so many people suddenly 20,000 Will you launch 40,000 wishlists from? (I think this is related to the dilutiveness of large wishlists for sales and features.)
You welcome adding those wishlists-and they may be converted in the future. Therefore, if the cost is reasonable, do not try to add them. However, developers continue to believe that after getting 90% of their wishlists in these ways, they can break the first week (wishlist to sales ratio) by 0.5, so even more after the release. I’m disappointed. “
By the way, one tip about this. If the pre-release Steam wishlist surge is gradually leveling off, it could be related to an organic event like the streamer playing it, and could be converted better. There is sex. However, if you see a “straight up and down” wishlist spike, it may be due to the ability to suddenly appear or disappear. And you may want to treat these wishlists differently in your plans.
Two specific anecdotes about this:
As part of GameDiscoverCo’s client survey, we started tracking Discord server participation numbers and mapped them to the addition of the Steam wishlist for selected client games. We strongly recommend that you try this. About one game we were watching Thematic pre-release Steam sales (Like what Bat Varian was) It’s a soaring wish list, but basically no one participated in the discord... (The streamers playing the game have increased Discord’s participation.) Interesting / suspicious.
In a previous Game Discover Co free newsletter, Gary Burchell stated that his new game SENTRY received over 1,500 wishlists as part of its “pre-release sale” debut on the Steam page only. He also worked: “This means that 35% of store page visits have been converted to wishlists. Many people pressed the” Add to Wishlist “button on the capsule image of the festival’s main sale page. Isn’t it? “ So who is seriously interested in adding a game to your wishlist and buying it without actually looking at the details on the Steam page? Hmm …
As part of this conversation with a colleague, I wanted to conclude this section by quoting what I perceive (with permission!). Robert Zubec (SomaSim) said: “If we consider the wishlist pool to consist of different cohorts with different conversions to players, this is entirely because we saw a hierarchy of this player’s behavior in another corner of the industry, F2P games. It makes sense.
They quickly realized that the quality of the installation would vary significantly depending on how the installation source matched the game and the existing player base. If you buy the wrong type of installation without monitoring the installation costs, it’s very easy to lose a lot of money to a player who is unlikely to turn into a payer just by installing the game out of curiosity.
SIt makes perfect sense to me to see this behavior on the oSteam wishlist as well. And it’s a real shame that Steam can’t provide this kind of detailed funnel information about individual player behavior. You can’t do any kind of goal-achieving process analysis because you can only get aggregates. “
Given the amount of money flowing through Steam and other platforms, it would be great if we could get more analytics on all platforms. (The fact that you are trying to resolve this ex post facto using a monthly wishlist conversion method like a hack is not the best.)
We also respect the privacy of our users. I think this is one of the reasons Valve hasn’t delved into this. But .. Perhaps consider the post-release conversion stats for the day, week, and month when the wishlist was added. This can be very helpful even if you can’t tag exactly how your wishlist was created.
(By the way, some people I’m talking about are convinced that all pre-release Steam features (especially those for themes such as Citybuilder sales) are “bad” for wishlist conversion than regular organic features. Not available, but not known by current features.)
Conclusion-hooks, lines, sinkers?
Of course, the scary thing about looking at a baseline wishlist is how it affects the baseline’s daily Steam wishlist. Isn’t it mainly about the basic appeal and hooks of your game?
Batbarian, for example, is a great title, but it’s also a crowded sub-genre game that doesn’t show up in trailers or screenshots because of its eerie, dark visual aesthetic.
I think a lot of clear communication and community marketing can improve the baseline wishlist somewhat over time. And by hitting the appropriate outlet and streamer before launch.
Still, the core hooks and charms of the game (which you should have played before you started making the game) are the daily interests of the “baseline” (and the pre-release Steam Wishlist on behalf of organic interests). ) Is the majority of the reasons for winning. !! )
We believe this “baseline interest” idea is far more realistic than putting the game into the Steam pre-release feature and doubling the wishlist in three days, resulting in doubling sales. You can do it in a “cargo cult” style by treating the total on your Steam Wishlist as a monolithic number.
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