One of the things that is often talked about on games industry magazines is the importance of marketing one’s game, so today I’m taking a look at the analytics data for two games I’ve released in the last year and their analytics data. The two games are Larf Tack (releeased August 2014) and NORnS (released December 2014). Both were created for game Jams, Larf Tack for an unknown Vapor Wave game jam which had less than ten entries and NORnS for the Ludum Dare which had 2639 entries and is probably one the biggest jams in the world.
For Larf Tack I almost no effort to market it, for NORnS I contacted journalists, promoted myself on twitter and instagram, and made the best use possible of the Ludum Dare commenting platform to improve the number of people that played my game. I wouldn’t say I went to extreme lengths to promote it, but I certainly tried more than usual.
Below are the analytics for the two games.
Bear in mind that Larf Tack has a fourth month lead on NORnS. However NORnS received a massive 258% increase in the number of people who downloaded it and a 55% increase in views. Furthermore the ratio of view to downloads conversion was 4:1 for Larf Track and 3:1 for NORnS, again a significant improvement. My guess is that much of this comes from the write up the game got in KillScreen, however, I also got some people with significant followings on twitter tweeting about the game as well which definitely helped to propel the game. Furthermore the fact that Ludum Dare forces others to play your game if they want theirs judged probably helped to spread the word, as I certain felt motivated to tweet about genuinely good games I found on the Ludum Dare.
This brings us to the somewhat uncomfortable truth about these analytics being misrepresentative as evidence by the ratio shift. While I promoted NORnS more than Larf Tack, I also think its a much better game, with a striking aesthetic and soundtrack, whereas Larf Tack is niche at best. I’m sure my marketing and promotion helped my analytics a lot, but the potential gains of actually having a better game seems hard to quantify.
In the current games culture we are often told, that if you market, no matter how good your project is you will have success. Actively working against a relationship between quality and success is not one of the games industries best qualities. Perhaps my experience is unrepresentative, as, in all honesty, the numbers are so small, but its nice to see that in my own work, what I think is better, is doing better. Seeing a direct relationship between my abilities to produce good work and market well, Rather than just my ability to market, is a very motivating feeling.