Stop Santa Post-mortem

After doing SIX, GeekGirlCon and MGF back to back, I was pretty exhausted and needed a short break.  At the same time, some folks at the Indies Workshop (co-working space I work out of) were proposing doing a game a week for the month of November, ship it to Steam for $1 and talk about our experience.  For my 1 week project, I decided to make a holiday tower defense game.  This is how Stop Santa was born!

So making a game in a week turned out to be a lot harder than I thought and it took me about 2 weeks in the end.  Part of this was because I wanted to ship it across as many platforms as possible to both learn all the store backends and get a better sense of the marketplaces.  In the end I ended up shipping across Steam, iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Microsoft, Gamejolt & itch.io.  The process definetly gave me a better grasp of what each store backend looks like and the process of going through cert, pushing out updates and responding to community feedback.

Downloads & Streamers

A few fun things happened after shipping, some streamers picked it up for the holidays and a few had a large amount of traffic.  The first one was from iTownGamePlay which has a total of 321k views:

The second biggest streamer was ZeratoR who’s twitch stream and later YouTube video reached 38k views:

It was good to see coverage of my first publicly available game and even more informative to see how that translated into store page visits and sales.  Shortly after seeing that TownGamePlay had the biggest viewership, I noticed a spike in visits from Spanish speaking countries, so I decided to do a Spanish and bug fix update to see how it would affect sales.  So how did all the launches and streamers contribute to total downloads?  See for yourself:

As expected, launching on steam provides the biggest visibility and sales by far.  Steam definitely gives you the best launch exposure out of all the platforms I shipped to and continue that visibility for the next few weeks.  As you can see from the chart, it’s really hard to estimate how much impact a streamer will have on your game.  Even though iTownGamePlay had over 8 times the number of youtube views as ZeratoR, the latter seems to have brought over 6 times the downloads.

Conclusion

All and all, making a short game and launching across multiple stores was a really great way to learn and understand the flow which has already helped me in planning the finishing touches for Meow Wars.  Going through the post launch process also exposed me to some great tools that I’ll be using going forward.  AppFigures is a great tool that aggregates all the information across your stores for an easy way to see the total sales over time.  KeyMailer  also became helpful in reaching out to streamers/media and avoiding scam emails by going through a verified system for key distribution.

Additionally, now that I have a game in the market, I’ve started to do experiments with modifying the store page graphics and content to try and increase sales as well as playing around with discount sales.  A lot of game projects get started, but never finished, so doing a small game and shipping it has been a great learning experience overall.  So if you haven’t Stopped Santa, what are you waiting for?