During February 2022, with Alchemistry I participated for the first time in the Steam Next Fest, a Steam event that highlights hundred of demos from the game that will release in the following 6 months. I hoped to earn a few more wishlists, 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 game 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 with visibility. And that was completely based on Steam choices, not mine, the first element was luck.
The second element is less about luck. Steam lets developers organize up to 2 Steam Next Fest livestreams that will be featured for an hour on the Next Fest page. I chose dates and times and planned a duration of a few hours, but having different content from the other indie devs, I wanted to stream as I do 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 stressful 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, a few hundred viewers.
Keep in mind that I’m used to having 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 hundreds of viewers, far more than I expected!
Even after a month, having the graph a bit flattened (the oldest event has originally been seen only a few hundred times), we still see huge differences between next-fest event 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 the same features).
I like to work this way because I think that’s a fair way to present the game to people and game feedback from players. I managed to have 20 elements and 5 challenges, enough to play for 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 the final game release (I probably will talk about it more deeply in another blog post). Conclusion: be sure you 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 a few days before and after the Next Fest to see the differences, the event goes from Feb. 21st to Feb 28th
View amount on Steam Page
Demo concurrent users
The Discord community is pretty small, but it still grew during and since the 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 mentioned 2 times
- have been quoted in a blog post 1 time
- 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, a trailer, and a livestream. I strongly encourage any indie dev 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 game dev shortly :)