After a frenzy of emailing, tweeting and generally begging everyone I could think of for PR coverage, Overcrowd: A Commute ‘Em Up has passed through Stream Greenlight. Overall, it took 7 days which I understand is quite a good thing, though not as amazing as it may once have been considered. Overcrowd garnered a pretty positive reception from the Steam audience, and there were a lot of nice comments made, and really very few negative ones. So what about the figures?
Steam Greenlight poses users the question: Would you buy this game if it were on Steam – Yes/No/Ask me later. The ratio ended at 53:43:4. According to the average figures Steam supplies you with this is a good result, as the top 50 average is the inverese at 42:58. The process was pretty nerve wracking, and because I have not released so much footage or screenshots before (in defiance of much sensible indie marketing advice), it was a huge relief to have a decent vote rate and to pass through quickly.
The relative ranking of your title on Steam changes constantly as games above you in the pile are periodically approved. At various points, the cumulative Yes votes placed Overcrowd up towards the #43 before it was approved, at which point you have no ranking. Out of some 1500 games it’s not bad, as there are some high quality games in the mix made by larger teams. There is also a lot of dross too, it has to be said – but as a one man project I’m pleased to have got that high.
This graph is kind of hard to interpret, as you can see after 7 days votes ceased as the game was Greenlit. It’s possible this was because of the positive Yes/No ratio Overcrowd got, but as I see it, that indicates at 7 days Overcrowd yes votes matched what the current #10 item has on Greenlight at that point – it’s a closed system and the rules seem to be niether hard and fast nor fully understood.
Some thoughts on PR
There are enough articles written about how to market an indie game out there, so I won’t do an extended write up here, but will say a few points. Having a well written press release is useful. If you can’t do it, you need to find someone who can draft your release for you, and it’s possible this may require money.
In all, the game received some really nice write ups on a few little indie websites and blogs, and a few tweets/retweets of support, which all helped boost traffic. Of particular note was a tweet from Introversion which brought a huge boost in traffic from essentially my “target market”, just as visits to the page started to plateau.
To other developers without a PR budget like myself, I would also suggest trying Games Press – a free news wire focusing on games that will get your release around to a few places – if they run it. You can see What The Press Says on the Overcrowd game website – but there are some pretty juicy quotes which should help with marketing down the line, and I’m very grateful to all those writers/tweeters who helped me! To other devs I can suggest keeping a list of coverage so that next time you have a release, you ensure writers who care about your game will get to hear more.
So what now? Well, the next step for me is to build a tutorial and get the demo/early access out there. Looking at past devlogs, it has been a year since I said I need to build this! But this week I have made some good progress already. When its done I should be in a better position to get the game out either as alpha or beta, and into Steam Early Access. The other options here include running a kickstarter – and it’s something I’m pondering at the moment. Ideally, of course, I’d like to work full time on Overcrowd, but so far, not possible. Watch this space!