Steam Launch Diary #7: Mobile is My Second Chance Hail Mary

Missile Cards is OUT NOW on steam. Only $4.99! (And coming to iOS soon, too) – If you want to support my ongoing gamedev efforts this year, grabbing a copy means a lot! Thanks!

MCiphoneWell, I survived Missile Cards’ launch month on Steam! Nothing went quite as planned, as is almost always the case with any game launch, but that’s just another reason to go into every launch hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

I hustled my ass off throughout the month, and I definitely saw some positive results from my efforts. It wasn’t enough to hit my rough goal of breaking even during launch month, but I managed to generate a bit of press, a trickle of sales, some decent interest, and I got over the first big hurdle of simply getting the game out there on Steam.

With that out of the way, I’m 100% focused this month on prepping for a mobile launch on iOS, which is my second chance at hitting my financial goal with this project. I’ve got some exciting updates on that front, but first, let’s look at exactly how Missile Cards did sales-wise during the first month on Steam:

Total PC Steam sales during launch month: 267

# of Sales needed to break even for 6 months of development: 5,000

Launch month revenue (before taxes, after Steam’s cut): Approximately $850

Total number of Wishlists (current): 1,270

Total number of user reviews: 31 – all positive (only 21 visible on storefront, however).

In almost every way, those sales numbers are pretty disappointing. I didn’t come anywhere close to selling enough to break even for the six months it took to build the game, but I’m hopeful that the Steam version will still continue to trickle sales in long-term, particularly with future promotions and sales.

Still, reception among press and players has been super positive, so that’s been truly encouraging. I knew that the Steam edition was a gamble, given the genre, style, and weird mash-up of “turn-based strategy card game” and “retro-inspired arcade theme.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The game is clearly well-suited for mobile, and I’m praying that it finds better traction on iOS. More on that in a sec.

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SELF-CARE AND STRUGGLING FOR BALANCE

My world has been way out of balance the last year or so, and this past month in particular has been a rollercoaster of stress, ups and downs, and disappointments. So far, this is something I’ve experienced on some level with every game launch, but I’ve hit critical mass this time.

Amidst everything, the added stress, anxiety, and downward spiral of the past few months have also exacerbated some chronic health health issues I’ve struggled with for a few years now, forcing me to take a much-needed step back and hit the reset button.

Self-care is super important — both on an ongoing basis and especially during high stress events like juggling a game launch. It’s easy to push that to the side when you’re hyper-focused on hitting a tough goal.

This past week, I’ve made a few changes that are helping me regain my balance (and help make it feel less like my insides are dying).

  1. I’ve stopped drinking (temporarily) I’m a craft beer nerd, but in times of high stress, it’s easy to slip into overindulgent territory. I don’t take medication for depression, ADD, or other issues I struggle with, and sometimes a beer or two at the end of the day is the only thing that lets me turn my brain off after a tightly wound pressure cooker of a day. Fine in moderation, but not super healthy if left unchecked.
  2. I’m eating a super clean, low carb diet Between stress, too much drinking, and other stuff related to my chronic health junk, my stomach has been a knotted pit of hell for 6 months. We eat pretty healthy to begin with, but I’ve kicked that up a notch. I opted to try a gentle detox diet for a few weeks to even myself out to see if it makes an impact. I’m eating well (no sugar, lots of veggies, protein, lower carb intake, no grains, etc), and I’m actually loving the healthier meals I’ve been cooking. Wife seems to approve, too, so double bonus!
  3. Less coffee, more water + supplements – I drink a LOT of coffee. This week, I’ve managed to scale back to one cup a day, switching to a mug of hot tea when necessary. I’m also drinking more water, as I’m always fairly dehydrated. Taking a few immune boosting and detox vitamins, too.

Adding more exercise into the routine and cutting back more on my round-the-clock work schedule is still on my to-do list, but that’s coming up. I have been getting outdoors more, soaking up a little sun and moving around a bit more.

The first few days of this self-care regimen I was cranky as hell, but this is entirely self-imposed, so I’ve stuck with it and pushed through the adjustment period. Now I’m into the new routine.

After a full week, the impact has been a positive one. My stomach is slowly starting to be less agitated and gnarly. I’ve been in better spirits, with a clearer mind (most days, but still brain foggy on others). My headspace, while not perfect, has been a bit more positive. In general, I’m starting to feel a little better overall. This has helped me better cope with the challenges I’m still facing.

I still need to keep this up for a few weeks, then eventually hit the docs office for checkups and testing to get a better handle on what’s going on with my stupid meatform. Beyond that, I’ll be slowly re-introducing some of the things I’ve cut out, but in better moderation.  Overall, taking some time for self-care has been really valuable.

Anyhoo — enough about that. Bottom line: taking time to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically, is pretty key. I do a shitty job at that sometimes, and the consequences can be pretty brutal.

MISSILE CARDS ON IOS!

One final update: I’m really excited to report that, after a few days of frustrating tech tinkering, I FINALLY managed to get a build of Missile Cards on my iOS devices, and it’s running beautifully. I still have a little more internal testing to do, and I’m aiming to run a short public beta test via Testflight soon, but I should be in VERY good shape to start final prepping for an iOS launch in the very near future.

Missile Cards is a perfect fit for mobile (or so everyone keeps telling me), and I have high hopes for the iOS launch. Obviously, a LOT of my potential for success on the platform depends on whether or not I get featured by Apple, whether folks buy the iOS version immediately at launch, whether it gets covered by mobile press and receives positive reviews, and a ton of other unforeseen variables. I’m happy to have another chance to roll the dice on this, though.

I’ve purchased an Apple developer license, so I’m committed at this point to not only getting Missile Cards out on mobile, but making other unique card games for the platform — since mobile seems to be, at present, the best-suited platform for the types of card games I’m creating. At the very least, there’s a stronger audience for the niche on mobile.

I’m praying this game resonates with them, so I can afford to crank out the next few crazy card games I have prototyped.

Mainly, though, the mobile launch is my second (and probably last) chance to break even for the time I spend making the game within the first few months of it being out on the market. Even a moderately successful iOS launch, sales-wise, would be a huge help right now. I’m swamped with bills piling up, and the stress of figuring out how to catch up financially without working myself to death again is…mounting.

But I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m hopeful that the game will do decently enough to help pull me out of this pit I’ve been spinning my tires in for months.

I’ll be updating everyone on the iOS beta test and upcoming launch very soon. In the meantime, the game is out on PC! Woo?

 

3 WAYS TO HELP MISSILE CARDS KEEP ON KEEPING ON

  1. Buy the gameEvery single sale counts. 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!

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2 thoughts on “Steam Launch Diary #7: Mobile is My Second Chance Hail Mary

  1. I’m usually not a big fan of cards-based games but this looks so unique and addictive! Any plans for a PS Vita port?

    • Thanks a bunch! I’m definitely interested in a PSVita/console version, potentially. That’s something I’m fairly well setup to do, but will have to evaluate things after the upcoming mobile launch).

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