So it’s been over a month now, what have I learned from the pre-release beta and final release of my political strategy game Democracy 3 I hear you all asking at the top of your voices? Here is what I have learned…
Launch Discounts do not matter.
As a gamer, you might insist they do, and point out how everyone else had them. I didn’t. Nobody even mentioned it. It’s a new game, people who want it, want it. I think the now standard ‘10% off for the first week’ thing is just a way of losing 10% of your revenue. I’m so glad I did not do this.
Having a decent trailer was worth it.
I don’t know why I’ve waited until this game to get a proper trailer with voiceover for my games. it has been so worth it. At least it convinced me to get another one done and also one for redshirt. here is the first democracy 3 one…
Have faith in your game with pre-release marketing.
I spent more than ever before on advertising to tie in with the launch of Democracy 3. I don’t regret a penny of it, and wish I’d actually had even more faith in, and spent even more. The problem is, at the end of an indie game project you have spent a LOT of money on making a game that so far has not earned a single penny back. The ‘balance sheet’ for the game is always really upsetting. Taking another pile of cash and dumping it into the ‘marketing’ pit of eternal spending seems like the craziest thing to do when things are already covered in red ink, but it seems to be the right thing. Democracy 3 was my biggest marketing experiment yet, and it paid off.
Add steam workshop support earlier.
I underestimated how much work this would be, and how much trouble people would have installing non-workshop mods. This should have been in from day-one, in an ideal world. There are a decent number of workshop items for the game, but would have been more if I’d been more prepared on that front.
A $25 game will sell very well, if it is deep, and good quality and has a market.
The idea that the game should be cheaper to ‘compete’ with other indie games or with discounted AAA games is just wrong. Trust me on this, I have the sales figures. Democracy 3 is my fastest selling game ever. It is not suffering one bit for being a $25 game, in fact I wonder if it would have made more sales at $29.99. This isn’t a game for people looking for a cheap disposable timewaster, but for people interested in the idea and subject matter and prepared to invest some time. I got the price right. I’d even suggest, what with Prison Architect and others, that $25+ is the new standard price for ‘triple A indie’ or ‘premium indie’ games.
So far it’s gone well. More stuff coming soonish…