The first week
Almost 10 days have passed since the release of my latest game, Rolling Arcade, so I thought I share some of the results of this period.
The game is a simple arcade game, where you have to steer a small ball into the correct position while avoiding the non-active holes. It is not a complex game, some say that it is more suited to mobiles, but since I develop to PC, I released it on Steam (and on Itch.io). The size of the game also means that the price is very low, only $0.99. I also released a level pack for it (also costs $0.99), which doubles the content of the game.
You also have to be aware that I did basically zero marketing for the game. It is not my strong point, and I really don’t enjoy it. I like making the games first and foremost, so all I did was the mandatory twitter, Facebook posts, and occasionally posted on Reddit. I also wrote a few devlogs, but that’s it.
So if not more, you can see how well a small game does, when it is not backed by marketing and you can only depend on the Steam algorithm.
Launch visibility and sales
First, let’s get the Itch.io sales out of the way. Zero. 0. Null. Nulla. I really appreciate that Itch is giving a platform for indie games, and you can decide the share of your sales, but it doesn’t give you any exposure. Your only chance is to get featured, but nobody knows how that works. I’ve heard that it is decided by the curators of Itch, but this is not confirmed. If they like your game and think it has potential, it is featured, other way there is no exposure to you. But the quality of featured game is all over the place, so good luck with that.
In the first 9 days I’ve sold 66 of the base game of Rolling Arcade and 34 level packs (DLC), so I count it as a total of 100 sales. It is not much if you take into account the game costs 90 cents (it was discounted during the first week).
Let’s how many impressions did Steam provide:
You can see that the first 3 days are the most successful in terms of impressions. Impression means that your game was shown to a Steam user somewhere in the store. This doesn’t mean that they clicked on your game however. After the 3rd day, there is a huge drop in the number of impressions. This usually means that your game disappears from the first couple of page of the New Games tab of your Steam.
Now let’s see how many users clicked on the game and checked its store page:
The trend of the visitor number somewhat mirrors that of the impressions. After the first 3 days, it decreases and levels out. The DLC had a nice upcurve however, which was surprising.
Unsurprisingly the number of sold units followed the visitor number. The first 2 days are critical, this is when you will make the most sales. Rolling Arcade is a small game with barely any marketing, so as you can see the sales are not exactly skyrocketing, but maybe there is some takeaway from this for you. Overall I’ve sold 100 units in total of the base game and the DLC in the first 9 days.
Wishlists were minimal for the game. The main reason is that I’ve released the game only 2 weeks after the Steam store page going live. As I’ve said I didn’t spend too much effort on marketing, and this shows in the wishlist numbers. With a few more months before release, I could have pushed up this number. I recommend having a store page as long as you can to gather wishlists. For me, Rolling Arcade was just a small side project (and I was lazy), so I didn’t care too much.
In numbers, this means that I had 85 wishlists for the game + DLC, and from those, I got 14 sales, which means a conversion rate of 16,5%.
The main takeaway is twofold:
- Create your store page as soon as possible, so you will have months building up your wishlists.
- Price your game as high as you can, keeping in mind how much the game worth in your opinion. Although I’ve sold 100 copies, the $0.99 price point means that taking the region pricing and Steam’s share into consideration, I earned 48 dollars. Just for comparison, my previous game sold for $9.99 at release, and although I’ve only sold 19 copies at launch, but I earned a net revenue of 93 dollars.