During february 2022, with Alchemistry I participated for the first time to the Steam Next Fest, a Steam event that highlight hundred of demos from the game that will release in the following 6 months. I hoped earning few more wishlist, but I got far more than I expected. Here’s a small article describing my journey during this crazy week.
The first thing to talk about, is the next fest page layout. You can filter it by games categories, then you have sections with subcategories (with game placement randomized). That layout was my first luck. Why ? Because in the “puzzle” tab, the first section was “minimalist puzzles” and … I was there with Alchemistry.
As you can imagine, being able to be on the top of the page, even on a “secondary” page, helps a lot visibility. And that was completly based on Steam choices, not mines, the first element was luck.
The second element, is less about luck. Steam let developer organize up to 2 Steam Next Fest livestream that will be featured during an hour on the next fest page. I chose dates and time, planned a duration of few hours, but having a different content from the other indie devs, I wanted to stream as I does on Saturday on my Twitch channel (I speak french, but answer in english as well, if you pass by 😄), I wanted to work on the game and talk about it with people.
So I started this live stream on Tuesday 22nd, 10 PM CEST, and surprise, almost 2k viewers at the start second, that was pretty stressing at first but then I managed to stream a few hours without problem. The featured hour got between 1.5k and 2k viewers, enormous, and the next one, few hundred viewers.
When you have in mind that I’m used to have 1-5 viewers on Twitch, it’s a bit different. I did the same thing on Saturday 26th morning, and got less visibility, but still hundred of viewers, far more than I expected !
Even after a month, having the graph a bit flatten (the oldest event has originally been seen only few hundred times), we still see huge differences between next fest events, and non next fest ones:
Well, Steam Next Fest is about game demos, I should talk a bit about it as well. This demo was released months before Steam Next fest but didn’t get a lot of visibility. I worked on the demo as a limited version of the game (less content, but same features).
I like to work this way because I think that’s a fair way to present game to people and to game feedbacks from players. I managed to have 20 elements and 5 challenges, enough to play at least 15 minutes if you’re fast, 30 if you’re more chill.
I got nice visibility and feedback from people but … not enough, because some bugs weren’t spotted before final game release (I probably will talk about it more deeply in another blog post). Conclusion: be sure your have easy click to action to let players contact you.
Now, don’t lie, you’re here for them (:D), let’s throw some graphs. I will keep few days before and after next fest to see the differences, the event goes from Feb. 21st to Feb 28th
View amount on Steam Page
Demo concurrent users
Discord community is pretty small, but it still grew during and since next fest.
I have no graph for this one, as I manually count, but Dysnomia:
- posted/commented 6 times
- have been retweeted 9 times
- have been liked 15 times
- have been mentionned 2 times
- have been quoted in a blog post 1 times
- gained 4 followers (17 => 21)
As you can see, even with a small community, and a small marketing, you can gain a lot of visibility if you have some time to invest in nice screenshots, trailer and a livestream. I strongly encourage any indiedev to seriously try out steam next fest if they can.
If you want to check out my game, you can go on Steam. I will post some other blog posts about the game and gamedev in the near future :)