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June 23, 2021
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Your complete 'game discovery' primer

by Simon Carless on 07/21/20 02:08:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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[Hi, I’m ‘how people find your game’ expert Simon Carless, and you’re reading the Game Discoverability Now! newsletter,  which you can subscribe to now, a regular look at how people discover and buy video games in the 2020s.]

So, having added a bunch of newsletter subscribers recently, I thought this was a good opportunity to look at the year’s worth of content I’ve posted on this newsletter (and also mirrored over on Gamasutra).

I’ve picked out around ten of the most ‘universal’ articles that will stand out in a few months (or maybe years!), and themed them below, so you can pick out any you might have missed:

Steam-Related Tips & Best Practices

Analyzing the top Steam tags
”Nonetheless, there is definitely a recurring theme that games need to be special to stand out on Steam. Sometimes it’s complexity/deepness - or perceived deepness - that really helps.”

Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight.
“On each game’s Steam page is the ability to ‘Follow’ a title to see announcements about it in your Steam Community Activity Feed.”

Steam: the new 'wishlists to first week sales' expectations
”For every wishlist you have when you launch your game on Steam, how many sales can you ‘expect’ at the end of the first week? Here we go…”

Other Platforms/Sales Trends

Game Discoverability & The Nintendo Switch: Where We're At
”This time I’ll talk a little about the state of the Nintendo Switch for game discovery in the year of our Wario 2020. The first part of this newsletter series is on the overall Switch market, & then we’ll dive into trends around specific recent games in Pt. 2.”

Mobile game discovery - why it's tricky for indies
”I think mobile games are super important. But they’re a tough market for many small and medium-sized independent studios to target.”

The surprising way that paid DLC works
“I’ve… found an enthusiastic group of devs who insist that paid DLC is good for business, and good for their games.”

Case Studies

Steam sales case study: 'Academia: School Simulator'
”Many thanks to Ryan Sumo for allowing us to check out lifetime revenues for Squeaky Wheel’s Academia: School Simulator on Steam. [which grossed around $1 million] since its late 2017 launch (up to mid-December 2019).”

iOS/Android/Steam sales case study: Golf Peaks
”So what do we have here? A game that’s sold over 40,000 copies PLUS the Switch version (presumably another 5 figures at least!), which seems like a very creditable result! But… almost all of those copies were sold at $3-$5 each.”

Steam game sales for 'the other 50%'
"[We] speculated wildly that 50%-70% of all Steam games don’t sell more than 1,000 copies during their life time. But we rarely see the back end data regarding them. So here it is [for Bad Logic Studios’ games]”

Overall Strategy

The Five Deadly Sins Of Game Attractiveness
”Here are the top five ‘sins’ that I see from many of today’s indie games. Each of these sins negatively affects your game’s attractiveness and therefore saleability to game publishers (if you want one!) & the game-playing public (if you don’t!)”

Why you may be underpricing your video game
You'd think this was a simple subject, but I'm convinced that at least 50% of all people launching games in 2019 [or 2020!] get it wrong. And the core of the reason is this - you're undervaluing your game.”

Developing Your Game's Community For Maximum Pre-Release Fans
This one is simple but important. It’s aimed more towards small/medium devs than publishers… it’s about how you should develop a fanbase - and increase your game’s discoverability factor - before your game actually comes out.”


Hope these were helpful - and there’s a lot more insight readable for free via my official Substack newsletter archive! (I may end up setting up a domain of some kind to host these highlights/FAQs in one place.)

But in the meantime, bookmark this if you need to come back and look at something.

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