Comparing Cosmic Oranges and Zero-G Apples: Everspace’s Steam Launch Dig

By Admin Jun 26, 2023
Comparing Cosmic Oranges and Zero-G Apples: Everspace's Steam Launch DigComparing Cosmic Oranges and Zero-G Apples: Everspace's Steam Launch Dig

How exactly success is measured is constantly changing, and finding it can be a challenge for studio leaders. But today I can present two data sets that show how sales over time and wishlist value in Steam features depend heavily on (although still desirable) early access and 1.0 launches.

 With our studio’s record-breaking launch, we thought and compared the launch announcement campaigns of Rockfish Games’ flagship titles Everspace and Everspace 2, similar and both successful titles. want to share

 Space games can’t sell in a niche… don’t you think so? The latest single-development surprise Spacebourne 2, No Man’s Sky, Elite Dangerous, Eve Online, Stellaris, the X-series, Homeworld 3, Star Citizen, and the long-awaited AAA space RPG blockbuster Starfield are just a few of the space games in the last decade.

 In fact, Rockfish’s influence may go back even further. Our team is also working on space combat games Galaxy on Fire 1 & 2. The first Everspace Kickstarter was a huge success thanks to a large fanbase that followed us when we launched our new studio, Rockfish Games, and later became a Steam Early Access Platinum Graduate in 2017, PC And nearly 3 million units (including DLC) have been sold on home game consoles.

 The game’s commercial success among roguelike fans allowed us to build a sequel on a larger, more compelling vision for many space game lovers. Within the Everspace 2 development team, there was a catchphrase: “Freelancer with the feel of Diablo and Descent.” But we also had ambitious plans and wanted to conquer our own niche within an arguably niche genre.

 A lot has changed on Steam, so both titles have different starting conditions, but we were doing a lot of similar things. Most importantly, showing off a compelling prototype to the public, proving our case with the community on Kickstarter, working with the community during early access, and several big content updates to reach version 1.0 I did

 While we’re at it, we’re focusing on running KPI-focused campaigns on social media dedicated to Space Lasers, working exclusively with content creators who genuinely want to check out the game without getting paid. bottom.

Everspace in Early Access

 Steam’s Greenlight campaign managed to get a 95% upvote. And after a massive Kickstarter that attracted nearly 11,000 backers, the original Everspace launched on Steam Early Access in September 2016 with solid momentum. During its launch week, it sold 19,000 copies with a lead price of $29.99. Wishlist conversion rate was 10.7% on day 1 and 15.1% on day 7 with 18,000 notifications sent. Our debut work received 93% positive reviews, but the subsequent technical issues with the implementation of VR and HOTAS made it difficult to please audiences with special hardware.

Space games can’t sell in a niche…is that right?

 Launch week Steam store page traffic showed 8.1 million impressions, a healthy 9.84% CTR, thanks to the game being on the front page carousel for two days, with 800,000 store page visits on Steam’s backend led to After subtracting the 6574 activations and wishlist purchases from the total sales during launch week and dividing by the store page traffic, the store page sales conversion was 1.58%.

 The winter sale, which lasted for two weeks immediately after launch, was also a decent success. The impressions to the store were 2 million times, the CTR was amazing at 28%, and the access to the store page was 561,000 times, but the sales conversion of It turns out that the users who did not (yet) did not feel great value.

 However, 178,424 notifications resulted in 3,276 purchases, a significant improvement of 1.8% in 7-day conversions. Overall, the first Everspace sold 65,000 copies in its nine months of early access and grossed $1.67 million on Steam.

 Everspace is now in full swing on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch, and has also debuted on Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, so our team is ready to create the game we’ve always wanted to make: the space-flying looting action RPG Everspace 2 It came to be just in time.

Everspace 2 Early Access Starts

 In January 2021, Everspace 2 launched in Steam Early Access and is gaining even more momentum, but its platform has changed significantly. Everspace 2 launched with 226,000 wishlists, 16 times more than its predecessor, thanks to a significantly extended pre-launch campaign and a successful Kickstarter with just 8,000 people.

 Thanks to this, the title was subject to a global Steam store pop-up, plus a notification sent to everyone who owned the previous game on Steam (750,000 people at the time). Additionally, during launch week, the sequel was featured in a carousel on the store page, garnering more than 66 million impressions. Combined with 92% positive reviews, Everspace 2 became the #1 top seller worldwide on Steam that month.

 Now, with this much increase in traffic, it was expected that the CTR would be low. However, the figure of 3.63% is by no means low. It also sold 61,000 copies in its launch week with a hefty lead price of $39.99 (320% better sales than the first game), certainly breaking the myth that early access games have to be cheap It can be said that there are no complaints.

61,000 units sold with a hefty lead price of $39.99 during launch week, and no complaints about breaking the myth that early access games should be cheap

 In fact, if developers don’t want to leave money behind, I’d argue the exact opposite. Purchases and activations from wishlists were “only” 496% (32,000), but this is due to the high price range of sequels and about 7 from Steam festivals, which are generally considered to be less effective It can be explained that 10,000 items were added to the wish list.

 The 7-day wishlist conversion was also low at 8.9% (versus 60% for the previous game), confirming that wishlists are much less effective than they used to be, at least during early access.

 The Steam store page has a 1.2% conversion rate, lower than its predecessor (76%), but Everspace 2’s 33% higher price point makes sense. 384% peak active players (3072 vs. 801), great!

 Steam revenue of $2,378,074 in early access opening week was a huge relief after teaming up with a large team of about 25 people. – Couldn’t hold out any longer after delaying early access launch 3 times. It’s safe now! Or was it?

 Once again, this is the 7th day of early access and cumulative sales data obtained directly from Steam as of April 20, 2023.

 We were planning to extend the Early Access period from 9 months to 18 months, but to determine if we could sustain that, we looked at baseline performance 28 days after launch. Store page impressions were 431%, likely due to a significant increase in Steam user numbers and the strong organic momentum of the sequel. But the clickthrough rate is much lower at 3.39% instead of 11.28%. This should not be due to the higher price range.

 In fact, the CTR from external traffic was 172%, so it seems that the high price was not a problem considered as a comparison). I also think ditching the linear roguelite formula for a semi-open world space action RPG with loot shooter mechanics was definitely a good move. Still, thanks to higher prices, sales were 129% and revenue was 181%. But with the team doubling and the veteran team’s salaries rising considerably, we had to keep the lights on by running a few sales during early access.

Steam now does a better job of directing the right users to the store page

 Don’t worry, we’ve had great sales in the past, and now we’re making space combat and exploration games that appeal to a wider audience, so we thought we’d be fine… Well, looking at Everspace 2’s first season sale sales during Early Access was pretty shocking. The title garnered him 30.4 million impressions on the Steam front page (15x the first season sales of its predecessor), but the CTR dropped from his 28.2% to just 2.67%. This corresponds to 9% compared to before.

 The external CTR was 112%, so the marketing effectiveness is the same as before. We speculate that the extremely low CTR for the store’s seasonal sales was due to more games being promoted, thanks to the new genres and subgenres that Valve introduced in 2021.

 Thankfully, activations and wishlist purchases are still at 283%, 7-day conversion rate is slightly lower (1.2% vs 1.8%), 567K notifications sent (318%), 20% off 6924 sales (211%) and a high price point (cheap games FTW, again myth burst) led to $507,000 in Steam revenue (403%).

 But Steam did a better job of directing the right users to our store page, as our sales conversion rate rose from 0.34% to 5.13%. So Steam users are 15x more likely to buy Everspace 2 if they land on our store page from the Steam platform, which is a huge improvement!

 Game Pass deals didn’t affect performance on Steam when comparing two nearly identical sales beats.

 Everspace 2 has been a huge success for a fully self-funded studio, selling 224,000 copies during its 27-month early access period and generating $7.59 million in Steam-certified revenue. Combined with a massive PC Game Pass deal with Microsoft, a large amount of revenue from its predecessor on PC and consoles, and various cloud gaming licensing deals, we’re making an even bigger game and much more than planned. We were able to work with the community on a very polished launch build for the long v1.0 release.

Bonus insight: Comparing the two nearly identical sales methods of releasing major content updates synchronized with a 20% sale a few weeks before and after Everspace 2 hits the Microsoft Store, the Game Pass deal is a big deal on Steam. It did not adversely affect sales. Forgive me, but the slight drop in performance is consistent with even more similar beats before and after adding Everspace 2 to Game Pass. Rather, baseline sales were so much higher after a few months.

Everspace 2 v1.0 Launch Week

 VR enthusiasts were disappointed not to support their favorite platforms in Everspace 2 during Early Access, and some fans of hardcore space sims weren’t happy with our more intimate approach. 5% drop in positive reviews.

 Elsewhere, doubling down on fast-paced action, RPG and looting elements, and (more) adding puzzle mechanics seem to have contributed to the negative reviews. Still, on April 6th, Everspace 2 received 87% positive reviews on Steam and an overall score of 83 on both Metacritic and Opencritic, thanks to a very solid review build it sent out to media and content creators three weeks ago. Released v1.0 in the state.

 We also strongly believe that by providing an always up-to-date demo with unlimited time during Early Access, we were able to manage expectations and reduce the number of negative reviews. In particular, it was a wise decision that pilots who set up HOTAS were able to customize the mapping of buttons and flight axes to their liking before purchasing.

I strongly believe that the fact that the latest demo was always available with no time limit during the early access period was a great help in managing expectations.

 With global pop-up messages, a 48-hour Early Access page occupancy, and a full-week presence on the front page carousel, Everspace 2 received 23.4 million impressions, up 246% from its 1.0 release. The low CTR of 2.46% vs. 4.63% (53%) is likely due to the price jumping to $49.99 despite the 10% launch discount.

 Surprisingly, there were only a few complaints about the price, and our community was quick to tell us on Steam’s forums and social media that the game was well worth the price.

 Launch week sales were solid. In the week of its release, Everspace 2 sold twice as many (42,059 copies) as its predecessor (20,445 copies). Interestingly, the 7-day wishlist conversion was the same at 2.0%, with 592,344 (255%) notifications sent. For a 1.0 release, Wishlist seems to be as strong as before, hehehe!

 Thanks to the high lead price, Steam’s first week earnings were $1,834,339 (362%). This proves once again that it’s okay to ask for a (higher) price for an AA product if it has the quality and range and is properly communicated to your target audience. In fact, we were able to see the whole business case where the forecast was 2x sales, 3.5x sales, and 3x investment in Everspace 2 was a good idea.

 It’s unknown whether this sales will continue with seasonal sales and regular sales, but it has 700,000 wishlists, has digested many upcoming sale events, and is about to release game consoles on Xbox and PlayStation. So you can sleep well at night.

 It’s also a big relief that Game Pass didn’t get in the way of the v1.0 launch on Steam. On the contrary, Microsoft’s marketing backing for the v1.0 release of Everspace 2 helped drive media and gamer interest earlier this year. But the only big spike in Game Pass users has come from games released in Game Preview in October 2021.

With the 1.0 release, wishlists seem to be as powerful as they once were

 So, all in all, I think we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do with Everspace 2’s PC launch. As a team, they delivered on nearly every promise they made without botching development, and from their Gamescom announcement in 2019 to their v1.0 release on PC, the self-publishing plan that kicked off with 12 big beats was a huge success and highly targeted All the marketing dollars spent on social advertising became smart. It’s been a long road, but now that the PC launch is over, the team and I have had some time to catch our breath. However, there is still a long way to go.

 Keeping the indie dream alive and bringing old-fashioned excitement to PC and consoles, no one poked their nose into incorporating modern monetization techniques, such as online features and microtransactions, into classic-style single-player games. You can keep making space action RPGs. This is what the fans want us to keep making. I couldn’t ask for more.

By Admin

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