I am preparing for my GDC talks so this is going to be a short newsletter this week. As part of my GDC talk I am collecting data on various games (if you haven’t contributed your data please do so here). I am saving the big revelations and analysis for the talk and for later blog posts. In this week’s blog I wanted to look at 2 very common questions I get a whole lot:
- My steam page has been up for 2 weeks and I got X number of wishlists, is this normal?
- I am getting a lot of wishlist deletions, is this normal?
Quick gut check. This data is totally in progress. It is from only 37 games. Don’t take this as final. I will probably update this post once I get more data; I just thought it was interesting for now and wanted to share.
The 37 games I am looking at are pretty good distribution though. I have one mega game that has over 400,000 wishlists and many that are north of 10,000 wishlists. The average number of wishlists in my data is 6018 and 2980 is the median.
How many Steam wishlists will you get in your first two weeks?
In my official HowToMarketAGame Discord a lot of people post “I just posted my game’s ‘coming soon’ page and I got X number of wishlists. Is this typical?” Here is the answer:
For the first 2 weeks
- Average: 1167 wishlists
- Median: 159 wishlists
Here is a chart showing that distribution:
The blue bars and left axis are the total number of wishlists, the red line and the values on the right are the number of wishlist earned in the first 2 weeks.
My take is that most games earn about the same amount in the first 2 weeks which is right around 159. This is the organic visibility that Steam gives you for free when you first upload your game.
What about those outliers (the spikes?) What is their secret? How do I do that?
Every single game that has a spike greater than the median was from a developer who had previously released a game! This is why I always tell indies not to give up on their first game and also not to invest so much of their personal worth into their first game. Your first game will probably fail.
That is ok!
Every later release will get bigger and bigger. You are rolling a snowball, building an audience, gaining a following. It takes time. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Release more games.
Steam is reporting a high number of wishlist deletes, am I doing something wrong?
I totaled up the number of deletes and the number of total wishlists and calculate the ratio.
- Average delete percentage: 10%
- Median delete percentage: 7.35%
Here is a graph showing the delete percentage and total wishlists.
I don’t see any real relationship here other than if you have fewer wishlists your deletion percentage is a lot lower. I suspect that games that have a HUGE number of wishlists typically got them from big festival appearances and being played by streamers. It could be that the audience is much less invested in the game and are wishlisting it as means of a bookmark to follow up later. They don’t actually like the game, they just want to keep track of it. So they are more likely to also delete it from their wishlists later.
What is up with those games that have high wishlist deletion percentages (30%)?
In both of those cases the games were played by well-known streamers like Sodapoppin and the game’s premise is a bit of a lighthearted fast-follow of another popular game. So the high publicity and meme-like aspect of the game could have led to a more fickle fan base.
If I had more time (I don’t)
I would like to calculate the deletion percentage from recent months compared to those about a year ago. Anecdotally I have heard other developers say that they are seeing more deletions recently. This could be because of all the recent virtual festivals that are bringing in thousands of wishlsits. Either Steam is actively encouraging people to re-evaluate their wishlists, or the improved event-ing system is better at showing people news for the games they wishlisted which is reminding them they really aren’t interested in that game.
Can you help me?
This analysis is only possible because of contributions from generous and altruistic game developers. If you would like to better understand Steam (and help everyone else too) please contribute your own numbers.