Getting greenlit in 8 days
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
On March 25th, 2015, we launched our first ever Greenlight campaign for our upcoming game Street Fist 2. 8 days later (though I do like to call it a week!) on the 3rd of April just after midnight, we were Greenlit. Here's why I think that happened.
You can have a look at our Greenlight page HERE.
We spent two solid weeks leading up to the launch of our Greenlight campaign preparing our trailer and Greenlight page, recording and editing video of gameplay, rendering sprites for the trailer stills and promo posters, putting together our animated banners, preparing our press kit and mailing list, and tons of other little things. We even went several days over our initial deadline for the launch, just trying to add a layer of polish and flair to the trailer, which we felt was missing.
We feel that this extra level of work paid off in the end. Missing out on our self-imposed deadline was frustrating, particularly because we were all so excited and anxious to get the Greenlight started. We received a lot of positive feedback and praise for the quality of our trailer, and how professional it looks.
This Youtuber did a nice video as part of his Good Greenlight Trailers series about it, and while it didn't garner a massive number of views, I'm sure it drove some traffic to us, and we appreciated the ego boost!
We contacted quite a few members of the press, ranging from smaller publications, to much larger sites, such as Rock Paper Shotgun, and Kotaku. Our response from the press was lukewarm at first, and very few of the people we contacted actually responded, but, as the week drove on, we did get a few nice write-ups, which I am sure drove us a few votes.
We approached the press in a fairly direct manner. I trawled through as many sites as I could find, and tried to find any evidence at all of them covering Greenlight campaigns in the past. I didn't see the point in contacting a bunch of journalists who have no interest in covering Greenlight, as they were obviously less likely to care. I tried to choose my targets carefully.
I then sent each journalist an individual email, telling them a little bit about the game, sending them a link to our Presskit, IndieDB, our trailer, and of course, our Greenlight page. I followed the advice given in THIS article, for those interested.
We followed up our launch with a social media blitz. We had built a decent following on social media prior to our Greenlight, and we utilized hashtags to try and ensure the right people were targeted. Many hashtags, such as #gamedev and #indiedev are automatically retweeted by Gamedev Robot style accounts, so they can reach pretty far, even without your own following. We talked about our Greenlight on Twitter and Facebook constantly, probably to an annoying degree, but it kept a solid stream of visitors pouring in, and after direct traffic from Steam, was by far our biggest traffic generator.
We made some nice posters showing off the characters, that we attached to our tweets to increase visibility and try grab an extra bit of attention. We also created a Web Comic, called Street Fist Comics, which tells the story of the events that led to Street Fist 2. This will be updated weekly until the games release. I think this is an important factor for Street Fist 2. It's a cool added extra, and it's gotten some people interested that might not normally be interested.
We also talked about the greenlight page on our IndieDB. The staffers at IndieDB added us to their Greenlight Collection on Steam, but I have no idea how much, if any, traffic that drove our way.
Reddit was a bit of a bust for us, as rather than using my own Reddit account, I created an XDStudios account. This was a really bad idea, because, as the account was fresh with no other activity, it was marked as a spam account, and all of our self-promotion messages were deleted from r/Gaming and r/indiegaming! This was a rookie mistake, and i'm sure Reddit could have been a valuable tool for us if it had been handled properly.
We feel like we came out of the gate strong, after day one we were 22% of the way to the top 100, and by day 5 that had risen to 88%.
From here we just kept climbing. We kept up our pressure on social media, and we got a few press mentions. This kept our visitor rate steady. We reached 42nd in the top 100 before we were greenlit. Here are our lifetime stats:
I believe our timing had a lot to do with how quickly we were Greenlit. Looking at Greenlight Updates over the last few months, I noticed a trend where a lot of games are being pushed through in a relatively short amount of time, and it seems like a lot of games which have been on Greenlight for a very long time, some as old as 2012, have been pushed through recently. I can only make assumptions, but my guess is that a lot of the top 100, and the higher levels on the rest of greenlight, were full of games with very low yes/no ratios, which had only gathered such a large level of yes votes based on the time they have been floating around, rather than the games actual appeal. In fact, when we were in 42nd position in the top 100, the yes/no ration for the top 50 was only 28%yes. This recent spate of games getting pushed through may have cleared the way and made the process a little smoother for new entries. This is what allowed us to reach the Top 50 very quickly, and with a relatively small number of votes. Maybe.
Below is a summary of the things i think were most influential in our Greenlight Journey:
- Production Values: A slick trailer and solid Greenlight page
- Animated Logo
- Building a social media presence early
- Utilizing hashtags on Twitter to full effect
- Blitzing Social Media, even if we got annoying
- Lucky timing
Other Things of note:
- Most press outlets don't seem to care about Greenlight anymore
- Don't try to utilize Reddit with a fresh account, you need to have some activity first
- The average yes votes in the top 50 was only 28%
Our main take away is this: Quality is important, and you need to make your own traffic. Don't be complacent and expect the voters to roll in on their own backs. Go and find them.
If you have any other questions about our Greenlight campaign, feel free to ask!