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Unhealthy interest in sales figures

Discussion in 'Iron Tower Studio' started by t, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. t Arcane Patron

    t
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I have noticed AoD jumping between 30-ish, 50-ish and 70-ish place in steam top 100 best selling early access games pretty rapidly. Since I have recently aquired a highly unhealthy interest in the sales figures of Incline(tm) games (even before releases thereof), I hoped I could fish for information a little bit.

    Since the jump between 50-ish and 30-ish place happens on the matter of hours or a single day, my best guess would be that games in the second 50 of the top 100 are purchased barely or even not at all. Every restless soul deciding to buy into the fantasy of early access games would then contribute to a jump of several places in the hierarchy.

    The other, less grim hypothesis would be that there is a positive feedback loop between going up in the ranks and selling more copies, as being higher in the charts would somehow promote the game more. Unfortunately, it seems rather far-fetched, as I cannot really see why having to scroll two additional pages in the best selling chart would constitute a significant hindrance.

    There might also be some other factors that I have failed to pinpoint. Definitely every update propels the game upwards on the list, I guess because of the exposure? Maybe steam has some quasi-random way of promoting various games and every time it happens, a couple dozens of copies are sold.

    I believe steam has some strict policy about the sales figures transparency, but any tidbits from the devs/other informed people would be highly appreciated.
     
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  2. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    We sold about 7,000 copies on Steam since Nov 15. On a good day we sell 50-70 copies. On a bad day 10-15. Usually, it's somewhere in between.
     
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  3. groke Arcane Patron

    groke
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera BattleTech
    Have you sold enough to warrant the boxed copy?
     
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  4. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    I'm not sure there is enough interest. We can probably sell 70-100 boxed copies, but the quality I want requires a run of at least a 1000. I don't see us selling that much.
     
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  5. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Thanks for the continued hard, frank numbers VD. It seems to accord with the suggestion that outside the top 10 or 20, sales figures are rather small, and I'm sure there's an insane kind of curve between the top 5 or so and the rest.
     
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  6. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    I wish more developers were open about it. There is no shame in low sales and not every indie game can sell 100,000 copies in the first month.

    You need the front page exposure. It's what drives sales and keeps a game on the top 10 list. We were on the front page for less than a day and it shows. A certain indie developer (not Dead State) had the front page exposure and sold 10,000 copies in the first month (but less than a thousand in the second month, when his game was no longer on the front page). Dead State also did significantly better.
     
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  7. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    The last time you said anything it was below 2000 steam sales I think. So I imagine you're pretty happy with how things are going?
     
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  8. Kleptocratic debt serf Educated

    Kleptocratic debt serf
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    I'm not really a steam user so I have no clue, but is it possible to get back on the front page?

    Also, only if you don't mind answering, did you have any target sales goals?

    Oh and do I have to buy AoD off steam or is there another option?
     
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  9. t Arcane Patron

    t
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    As much as I find most of the so-called "youtube personalities" annoying, you might want to consider sending steam keys to some of the pundits with huge following when the game is fianlly released. I'd love to see https://www.youtube.com/user/TotalHalibut make a video about AoD, it might be even more profitable than having your game on the front page of steam. On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure if anyone spitting out several yt videos a week is willing to put in enough amount of time and effort to do this game justice.
     
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  10. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Yes. I'm aware, of course, that many indie games have done much better, but AoD isn't the most friendly and welcoming game, so selling 8,500 copies (overall) is already an achievement.

    Yes. If Steam lets you. WL2's recent update was on the front page (the big banner, not featured or updated). I assume it's tied to sales. If your game sells well, it will remain on (or get back to) the front page for weeks and months. If it doesn't, it gets moved. We had a slow start - sold under 300 copies in the first 3 days, which probably explains why we got moved so quickly. It's just my guess though.

    Not really. To have realistic goals, you have to know something about the subject. To have unrealistic goals is counter-productive.

    My only goal is to sell enough to be able to make more games. Looks like we have a fighting chance.

    At the moment, you can buy it either from directly from us (via BMT Micro) or on GamersGate:

    https://secure.bmtmicro.com/servlets/Orders.ShoppingCart?CID=7483&PRODUCTID=74830000

    http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-TAOD/the-age-of-decadence
     
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  11. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Pretty much.

    When we launched, we got over 40 key requests from various youtubers. We gave them keys but got maybe 3-4 LPs out of it. Not that I blame them - the game is really not suitable for it.
     
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  12. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    We're running a 4-ad campaign in PC Gamer now. Just to test the waters.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. t Arcane Patron

    t
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I'm not an expert in marketing, but I'm not sure how much does a typical ad-watcher read even if he is your target audience. Assuming AdBlock would miraculously fail to work and I'd have been able to see tha ad, I'd probably just glance at the title and move on. Not sure about others though.
     
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  14. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Such things are never expected to get more than 3-7% of people, so it doesn't matter how many people will ignore them. What matters is the few % that do click on them.
     
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  15. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    That's why it would be interesting to try. For big corporations, for example, 1 in a thousand (or was it even more zeroes, I forget) click-throughs is considered cost-efficient compared to the return rates from traditional ad equations. Obviously the economics will be a bit different for an outfit like Iron Tower.

    (VD if you mean 3-7% clickthroughs expected, I'd love to know by whom and in what circumstances, since I know this stuff from books rather than marketers)
     
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  16. Kleptocratic debt serf Educated

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    Thanks for the responses and links, you'll be able to add at least one more sale to the tally shortly.

    How effective is posting in other gaming or computer tech forums as a means of boosting exposure? Silly question, I know, but I'm trying to ascertain what other little to no cost marketing options you have since you've already tried the keys for youtube LPs.
     
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  17. mindx2 Codex Roaming East Coast Reporter Patron

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    :rage:
     
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  18. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    My sentiments exactly. We have to try different things just to see what works.

    Past experience (not with games though).

    Anyway, out of 4 ads that we're running, the one above performs best - 3.78% CTR. I assume that a more appealing ad (high fantasy, half-naked elven princess, monsters) can easily double that.
     
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  19. hiver Guest

    hiver
    One correction if you please. You are far away from your first month.

    Considering that, i think the sales are actually rather spiffy.
     
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  20. set Cipher

    set
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    AoD is a niche title. It's also not something that naturally lends itself to 'virility' or uh, 'viralocity?' oh, 'virulency' sorry. Goat Simulator will probably sell 10k copies in the first day (or more) just because it's stupid casual shit that's funneh with the lol dead island spoof trailer.

    Like you said, you need naked princesses and elf monsters (or some combination thereof). If you've got the dignity to not do that, you should be pleased you can continue developing anything at all. Grit your teeth and make something memorable and meaningful or go for the gold and make tripe. It's rather hard to do both and probably an unreasonable goal as an indie game.
     
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  21. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

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    Glad you guys are selling more copies.
     
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  22. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

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    It all has to start somewhere and 8500 copies is a pretty nice start. I'd imagine you'll get more sales once you actually finalize it and sell it as a full game rather than early access.
    Facebook might be a good place to test the waters too. You can be pretty targeted and test different headlines/images/copy without spending a lot.

    Also, AdBeat.com is a good tool to see what kind of banner ads are working for companies in your vertical across the internet (except facebook), so you can get ideas. They have a free trial if you google it.
     
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  23. Bubbles I'm forever blowing

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    Have you thought about Oculus Rift support?
     
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  24. Hormalakh Magister

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    i'd imagine a lot of people, like me, are waiting until thursday to buy it, not when it's in development. when your game is done, i'd hope you'd have more buyers.
     
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  25. I just wish the game were isometric.
     
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