Steam Launch Diary #1: Surviving the First 24-hours

Missile Cards is out NOW on Steam at 10% off this week! Only $4.49 – If you want to support my ongoing gamedev efforts this year, grabbing a copy this critical launch weekend means a lot! Thanks!

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I’m sitting here typing this at the 24 hour mark threshold since launching my new game Missile Cards on Steam, which means I survived launch day! As you’ll see in a moment, there’s still a LONG ways to go before Missile Cards becomes profitable, even for a small game designed to be a minimum risk thing. This weekend is my big push to try to get as much sales traction as possible, and I’ll need all the help I can get.

All-the-while, I’m blogging my way through the ups and downs of launch month, so you can get a window into what it’s like doing this stuff as a solo indie (hint: it’s really not easy). So! 24 hours in. Where do we stand with Missile Cards?

Social Support: People Are Nice

So far, this launch has felt a little different from my past few games. On the whole, it’s been really positive in terms of people’s feedback to the game, a few small early bits of press and YouTube coverage, and a ton of goodwill on Twitter. Fridays are a tough day to get traction, but folks really pitched in to help spread the word yesterday, which I’m grateful for.

Here’s a screengrab of my Twitter impressions from tweets and retweets of (mostly) Missile Cards-related stuff yesterday.

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That’s a lot of eyeballs. Awesome! This stuff definitely helps get visibility for the game. Visibility is great, especially in the vortex of Twitter, which sucks content up into the void quickly. Unfortunately, this hasn’t translated into a lot of sales…yet.

One big problem with a Friday launch is that most people are at work during the critical time you’re hustling for traction and game sales. With a Steam game, a lot of people don’t have ready access to their Steam account if/when they hear about your game at launch. That’s where this weekend is so critical: a lot more folks will be in front of their PCs…and be able to buy the game (if they want). Fingers crossed.

First 24 Hour Sales

I blogged recently about my “Quest for 5,000 Steam Sales During Launch Month” – AKA my “Quest to Break Even Quickly.” In short, I’m gunning as hard as possible to get 5,000 Steam sales before the end of the first month. This is my break even point for the six-month dev cycle, and sort of the my minimum threshold for a “small, decent success” with this project.

As of right now, I’ve only sold 58 copies of Missile Cards at the 24-hour mark. I need to hit 5,000 to break even, then push beyond that point to actually have this be a financial success. I have a long ways to go.

Here’s a fairly depressing chart that shows what that looks like in relation to my “break even” sales goals.

Day1 sales copy

Oddly, I’m not feeling super upset about that. This is about what I expected for a bumpy but non-catastrophic first day. I’m doing ALL of my own marketing, and Missile Cards is a pretty niche game that’s not likely to get any major press or reviews coverage. Much like my last few games. So this isn’t the worst scenario, but I really need things to click into gear this weekend if I want to salvage this launch.

I’m still cautiously optimistic, but I knew going into this that even a seemingly small goal of selling 5,000 copies during launch might be a shot in the dark. This project was designed from the ground up to be a short-cycle thing to minimize this very risk. Still, I haven’t given up and I can’t help but want it to succeed.

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Press Coverage and YouTubers

So far, there’s been a few nice and unexpected bits of press, especially here at the Indie Games Blog and this awesome writeup over at WWG.

A handful of smaller and med-sized YouTubers have also picked up some coverage, which is encouraging! Fingers crossed that some of the other YT folks I reached out to, or expressed interest in the game, drop some video love this weekend.

Here’s a rather fun one (that also shows the second base instead of just LV1)

So 58 sales in 24 hours. That’s where I’m at this morning, kicking off what will probably be the most critical day for games sales in the entire launch cycle. I’ve REALLY appreciated every bit of coverage, every retweet, and every sale so far. Those who’ve left Steam reviews seem to be really digging the game, which is encouraging, too.

I’m about to dive into a busy day of hustle to try to get some traction for this thing. I’d love your help. Here are three KEY things that you can do today that would make a world of difference.

3 Ways To Help Boost Launch TODAY!

  1. Buy the gameEvery single sale counts during this launch period! Seriously!
  2. Leave a Steam review – If you’re enjoying the game, please also take a second to leave a short Steam review as soon as you can! That makes a HUGE difference. Most players don’t take the time to leave them, or they often only do if they don’t like the game.
  3. Tell a friend / Share on social media – I’m doing all of my own DIY marketing, so every little bit of help getting the word out means a lot! Have a pal that likes retro pixel art or strategy card games? Maybe pass the link along! And I always appreciate signal boosting or Twitter/social media support.

Thanks so much! I’ll be blogging about the game and my progress on the “Quest to 5,000” throughout the month at www.nathanmeunier.com.

Today is critical, so I’m putting my “get shit done” cap on. See you in the trenches!

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2 thoughts on “Steam Launch Diary #1: Surviving the First 24-hours

  1. Hi just curious to know, how many people wishlisted Missle Cards before you released it? How many of those people who wishlisted bought the game? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Ann,

      I believe I had about 300-sh folks who wishlisted it, roughly, by the time it launched yesterday. In the past 24 hours the wishlist has jumped to 600+. total. I think roughly 26 people who wishlisted it, bought the game so far.

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