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A few weeks ago I wrote an article explaining the methods we used to gather wishlists for our published game Ruinarch and ended with a prediction on how well it would do. As a recap, here are my predictions for the first week:
Pessimistic Launch : (0.075 of wishlists) 2100 units
Realistic Launch : (0.25 of wishlists) 7000 units
Optimistic Launch : (0.5 of wishlists) 14000 units
Before the big reveal (just scroll down if you simply can’t wait!) I wanted to share the first few moments pre and and post launch.
We’d scheduled a little online get together to hang out on our discord server in the hour leading up to launch. Ideally at this point you’re all set and you’re really just waiting to push the green button (If you’re pushing a build right before launch you’re doing it wrong!)
Around 15 minutes before our expected launch, I got a Steam notification saying the game had launched.
Me: Hey Marvin…did you launch the game already?
Marvin : Ah no that’s just the announcement, I timed it to release at 10pm.
Me: Uh, are you sure?
Our Discord Server: DID THE GAME JUST LAUNCH? IT LAUNCHED FOR ME! (Cue fight about the game launching ahead of time in certain areas, which btw you can’t do afaik)
Marvin : What? WHAT? Wait, WHAT DO I DO?
Me: IDK I mean…just launch it I guess.
And so that’s why you all got Ruinarch 15 minutes earlier than intended. As an aside, I was a little miffed that my marketing idea of getting people to RT the launch to speed up the launch time (100 RTs and we launch NOW!) was vetoed. I feel like we launched early anyway so we might as well have tried to hype it up. 😛
For a few glorious minutes after launch we were in the front page top sellers list, alongside ACTUAL hits like Fall Guys, Flight Simulator, Among Us, and Crusader Kings 3.
Happily, we very quickly blew past our pessimistic and realistic predictions, but fell just shy of our optimistic launch expectations. We sold 13882 units, which gives us a sales to wishlist ratio of 0.49, closer to Jake Birkett’s old number and exceeding the average of 0.36 and median of 0.2 established by Simon Carless’ (limited) data. As you can see there is a very sharp dropoff after the first few days, and that slow decline continues to this day.
We’re absolutely thrilled about these results but more importantly so are Maccima games, who are now planning a trip to Bali as a reward for themselves once the worst of covid19 is over.
One thing I was a little puzzled by was a lack of Streamer releases in the game. Based on past experience and given the great launch, I had fully assumed at least one more Splattercat level streamer would take on the game and give us another bump. But despite tens of people requesting keys on keymailer everyday and my previous outreach not a single major streamer played the game, neither on Youtube or Twitch.
There could be a bunch of reasons for this. There were a lot of great games launching around the same time, like Rogue Legacy 2, so that could have been taking up people’s attention span. I’m kind of mystified as to how almost none of the keymailer keys that we gave out manifested in a sizeable streamer. I’m pretty sure I saw some big names there. I’ve heard some rumors that a lot of the folks on keymailer are actually scammers, but I can’t really verify this.
I feel like telling streamers they’re missing out! Splattercat’s original video is now nearing a 298k views whereas his typical videos bring in 50k-100k. That says to me that all things being equal, Ruinarch has brought Splattercat more views. Come on guys, what are you waiting for! 😀
I thought it would be good to compare week 1 with a more realistic week 2 result. While obviously a strong start is great, I’m weirdly always in a hurry to see the numbers drop down and normalize so I can have a better idea of how the game will do on a regular, non sale basis. On week two we sold 1518 units, which is around 11% of week one sales. I’m not sure if there’s a lot of data comparing week 1 to week 2 sales but I’d love to see them in the comments.
Ruinarch had the kind of launch that hopefully sets up Maccima so that they will no longer need Squeaky Wheel for their next game. I think that is my Platonic ideal of a publisher. The developer should succeed in such a way that they no longer need you in the future.
But in the meantime, we’re still gearing up for future updates. We are expecting the Steam Halloween sale to happen in October. Given the theme of the sale and Ruinarch’s successful launch, we’re hoping we have a chance at a daily deal. Regardless, we’ll be joining the sale and trying to get our ducks in a row to maximize our visibility in the days leading up to the sale, the goal being to try to match or beat our week 1 expectations.