This was a talk by Megan Fox.
Description: A single-person game and, based on community response, gradually scoped it up to a larger game- all the while laying down deals and picking marketing venues so that we knew we’d launch already profitable. Half SkateBIRD post-mortem, half hopefully useful information you can use to plan your own expanding next game, come and experience the joy of what it’s like to develop and market a game rapidly expanding beyond your faintest experience while falling backwards down the stairs.
- Jones on fire – 2012 – made mobile
- Hot tin roof -2015 – Kickstarter, steam game.
- Side note: Hot tin roof pushed Jones on Fire and that did better
- Spartan Fist – Recoup terms meant that there was no reason to continue to update it. Didn’t sell well. Backed by indy fund.
CZ Side note: Really watch out on the recoups from publishers because it meant Spartan Fist couldn’t help them.
SkateBIRD – they focused on marketability first
- Abandoned genre – Tony Hawk
- GIF inspired
- They made a tiny vertical slice
- Funded on Kickstarter
- Before you announce your game, it should look good and look like it could launch tomorrow
- Cant be a total fake. Like don’t use CG to make a fake game. Just make your core assets really good and “fake” it within the engine.
- Know exactly who is going to buy it
- People use your announce screens at launch anyways – be worried about this. Make sure that what you put out is good.
- Look minimally acceptable at launch.
By launch their marketing had improved
- They show variety of content.
- Announce day screens can be a bit more limited.
Why marketing first
- Instead of starting with gray boxes, get some minimal presentable art ready
- It forces you to get pretty fast
- Pretty makes fun 4 social
- Easier to get platform and influencer interest when you have a game that looks good.
- Not pre renders – make it look like a game.
Warning about bugs
- Smaller streamers will be more honest with feedback and you can watch them to see where the bugs or problem areas are first.
But HOW Marketitng first
- Make the logo and make sure to spend money on it.
- Create color palette early so that people share.
- Start with a game that looks good you can make it into a game that is fun and
- Marketing first strategy came from Tanya X Short.
- Not launch good graphics but it is good
- Didn’t lead with their Kickstarter, they wanted to make the game look done which meant their message was really announcing this good looking game.
- Then they did their kickstarter later. If they had announced and kickstarted Megan thought that would be confusing because you are saying “look at this complete game but we need money.” So they just delayed their Kickstarter announce to later so they didn’t have a split message.
- It blew up – Megan was on vacation and had limited internet access. So maybe in the future do an announce when you know you will be around.
- Don’t do a prerender, look like it is done but not THAT good because game fans can understand those minor flaws.
- Aim at the right audience – sometimes you will get fans that wont like your game. Like SkateXL is sim style but that is not their target audience.
- Publishers said no.
- Platforms seemed interested
- Turned into Kickstarter
- KindaFunny has a showcase and they got introduced to KindaFunny
- KindaFunny did feature during E3 2019 at same time of start of Kickstarter
- Budget = 215K
- Kickstarter + platform $ was plenty
- Geoff Keighly saw their stuff and invited them to Video Game Awards / Festivals – huge wishlist boost.
- Nintendo reached out to them based on them.
Danger of hype
- Fans think they were skate 4 which they are not.
- The demo jank was there but They didn’t want to scale up to REALLY fix the jank. They settled in between.
Pandemic changed marketing plans
- Online Festivals started – it distorted their wishlist numbers
- 2020 was when they added Story mode.
- They spent the pandemic working on the story mode.
- Festivals changed how PR worked. Every festival was a pr boost and thing they had to roll out.
- They had to delay so they did a pr press beat around the date change
- They delayed the game further back than they thought they would need to factor in any problems. This was smart.
- Created a cute delay trailer which was fun and the audience liked it. Watch it here
- Sept 16 – was a really hard time there were a lot of launched games.
- They have 85% positive
- Gamepass backing meant they were profitable on the first day.
- Wishlists didn’t convert at as high as everyone talks about.
Virtual festivals really helped
- There were a lot of marketing bettas
- Festivals being virtual helped with the cheap costs.
The final numbers
- Xbox – 50%
- Steam 13.4%
- Switch – 17.5%
- Other – 19.7%
Press beats around festivals
- They needed to generate pr so they could announce things
- Announcing multiplayer
- Announcing partnership
- Announcing secret characters
- Worked with Stride PR – they could put press beats in the right position so that the press would cover them.
How did you get the announce before the Kickstarter? – Cute skateboarding bird is a good sale. A good game for the right audience. The package made it looked really very formal.
Announce didn’t go viral until the Kickstarter – that is when they actually when viral.
Before Kickstarter, early access launch – you make it look like a complete fun game that looks like it could release tomorrow. But the fun was clear and the action looked good. But the playable version of the game wasn’t ready. It just looked great.
Where did they go viral
- Twitter – because they live there.
- Twitter is more popular with journalists
- Slightly older audience for people who played tony hawk
Festival wishlists raised their numbers and the ratio of Followers to Wishlists were 10.