The first 4 days of Greenlight – What to expect

By April 25, 2016News

This not a post about “what you should do to get Greenlit in 5 days”. This is a simple report with a few thoughts from a small, relatively unknown team, on their Greenlight campaign.

There has been a notable amount of Greenlight posts lately on Gamasutra, however I wanted to share our viewpoint with you. I see very often posts of the “How I got Greenlit in 5 days” but somehow I feel they don’t really reflect the experience of the average game dev team. However I need to clarify our team’s current status. We have developed a few games, but none of them was a big hit, we are in a country (Greece) with very few accomplished game developers, and most media have only local content and fanbase. So we are not exactly in the most fortunate situation. So I hope that this post will interest those in a similar state.

The cause

Moribund (our game) launched on Greenlight on April 20th. Before launching we sent a newsletter to about 1200 sites and editors about our new game. We had very little coverage. On the day of the Greenlight launch we sent another including the Greenlight page (be sure to take a look, so you know what this post is about), our very first trailer and new screenshots. Again not many people cared. We do have indeed a niche market (focusing on local multiplayer games) however I am not aware whether that is indeed a problem for press sites despite what seems to be a growing trend around local multiplayer games. But, anyhow, maybe the game is not catchy enough.

Now, on the right you can see the 2nd newsletter that we sent regarding the announcement of the Greenlight launch (below there were more info about team/ images etc).Based on the analytics, we have quite good statistics in terms of clicks and opens, and feedback was quite positive, so we believe that it was a good newsletter. So in our case lack of coverage didn’t stem from copy quality.

Now, regarding our promotion. Most of our fans and friends are gathered at our facebook page, which I don’t really see as the norm. Most developers have them gathered at their site or twitter account or some other medium. We had our site reconstructed about 3 months ago, so the current one is relatively “new”. These guys really helped the first day, and as you can see below it was our best traffic source (besides steam).

 

 

…and the effect

Analytics

So here are the stats of the first day

The Yes/No ratio is a bit lower than what we wanted but it’s not bad. Comments were quite positive, apart from a couple. Now we knew that the organic traffic will drop a lot by the 2nd day so we had to make sure that everything was ready. On the next day we posted on reddit, in order to have some feedback regarding the trailer. It’s something we should have done earlier and I really recommend it. Guys over there had plenty of good ideas. We are currently making a few fixes in order to release a new improved trailer. In the next couple of days we continued posting on facebook groups, twitter and reddit, and we noticed something interesting. Organic traffic was minimal, which meant that most of the people visiting the site were directed there from us. And they were heading over there with the intention to help. Either by providing feedback or by voting for us. Now let me clarify something here. We weren’t just spamming “Vote us”. We were sharing our stats, starting discussions, trying to improve our campaign.

This meant that we had really decreased the influx of negative votes. A few people have mentioned that it is possible for a good ratio to get you in Steam before even hitting the top 100%. It is something that we hadn’t thought about. We can’t drive incredible amounts of people to our page, because we are not known by many people, but we can drive people who actually seem to like and care about the game. Thus in the last couple of days we have been steadily improving our ratio. And here is our current status 4 days later.

Analytics2

Moribund Greenlight4

From what i’ve seen on other campaigns, our “Ask me later” ratio seems a bit high, and I haven’t figured that one out yet, so I would appreciate your thoughts on what might be the reason and effect of that.

The lesson

So here’s what I think (my opinion, not a fact, just to be clear). Those who don’t already have a huge player base, should try to focus on quality over quantity. Don’t go buying ads on facebook and reddit just to have people visiting your page. Even if you are not famous in the indieverse and you don’t have the next big thing there is a way. Slowly grow your reach by breaking down your game/campaign and sharing it for feedback on social media. You will be judged and criticised. But it will be for the best. If you have the luxury of time, don’t wait for the launch of something important to post your concerns. Remember this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

We are quite confident that through reddit and twitter we will be able to improve the trailer and of course the game, and maybe make a 2nd “attack” on the media this time with an improved trailer, personalised mails and possibly an overall improved Greenlight page.

Feel free to comment thoughts on our Greenlight or share your experiences.

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • kingcoyote says:

    Sending out 1200 emails announcing the game seems to be almost spamming. When I get ready to put my game out there in Q3 2016, I plan to find bloggers and journalists who favorably reviewed games that compare to my game, and reach out to them on a more personal level. Did you give any consideration to something like this? That might have given you a greater amount of coverage before launch.

    • Traptics says:

      Initially we thought that we should start with a generic simple newsletter in dawn of our campaign. Indeed having a more personal approach has a much better outcome, it’s just that we have tried that before and it did not work for us. So now we prefered to allocate our time differently. How did it work for you? Did the media respond better?

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