Wishlist Wednesday Post: I just concluded a major survey where I asked as many game developers as I could to submit their wishlist history so that I could analyze it for trends for what ACTUALLY works when marketing your game. My findings will be presented as part of GDC 2021. You can find the description for the upcoming talk here.

Not everyone will be able to watch that talk and not everyone can wait that long so I am starting a series of special 1-month only Wednesday micro posts about a single cool thing I found combing through a lot of data. 

Are you ready to be deleted?

The Steam Summer Festival is starting very soon and yes that means that if your game is for sale you will sell a lot. But it also means that you will see a lot of deletes. It is going to happen. There is very little you can do to stop it. I just want you all to be mentally prepared for it so it doesn’t surprise you.

I saw this when I decided to graph the daily deletes for a bunch of games that have been around for a while. Here are their delete graphs.

Note I graphed them in black because they are the anti-wishlist. They are the anti-graph. You want these down as low as they can be.

Look at those spikes? What happened there?

The answer: The Steam Summer Sale. For just about every game I graphed the biggest delete spike corresponded to the Steam Summer Sale.

The biggest one was definitely 6/25/2019 Steam Grand Prix when due to a bad bit of copy writing  on Valve’s part it was interpreted by fans that they should delete their wishlists to potentially get a free game. It was a big thing 2 years ago. You can read about it here 

Deletes are just cleaning the pipes

Here is the thing though, all Steam shoppers delete games from their wishlists during the Steam festivals. On the first day they get an email with tons of games on sale so they go cruise their wishlists looking for the games that have the biggest discounts. They also think “do I really want this game?” or “If I am not going to buy it now at this low low price will I ever?”

They even delete games that are not for sale yet.

Marketing juggernaut The Riftbreaker lost 290 wishlists in a single day when the Steam Sale started. You can’t even buy it yet!

So no matter what, your game will get a bunch of deletes in a few days because of the summer sale is starting. It is normal, it is not because Valve is running some dumb promotion like “delete your wishlsits.”

It is mostly because all of a sudden millions of shoppers are looking really hard at their wishlist. We will get through this.

4 Possible things that can help you through this week

I haven’t tested these but they are just ideas.

  • Change your capsule art and add a banner that says “Updated June 2021” – The thought being someone is less likely to delete a game from their wishlist if you show them the game is still alive and there might be a reason to check it out.
  • On the first day of the sale light a candle and take some deep breaths.
  • Change the capsule art banner to say “Please don’t delete me from your wishlist”
  • Embrace the pain. Those people were never going to buy your game anyway. They weren’t worthy. Yell this at your screen on the first day you check on wishlists.

I need your help

If you participated in the Steam Summer Next Festival 2021, I am collecting data on how well various games did. Please complete this form.

Headline photo by Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

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