When releasing their games on Steam or other storefronts, developers need to carry out a variety of different tasks. In doing these things, there exist different strategies that can help promote their games and boost sales.
Veteran game developer and co-founder of publisher Valadria, Matt Hackett, has created a “Steam Dev Cheat Sheet” that offers tips for releasing a game on Steam. The cheat sheet has caught the attention of many fellow developers.
In general, anybody can release a game on Steam. First, you must sign up to Steamworks as a developer and pay a fee of $100. After this, you must complete several other procedures, including the creation of a store page. With this system, even indie developers that don’t have support from a publisher can still release their games. But simply releasing a game does not mean that it will sell a lot of copies. That’s why Matt Hackett has decided to share different strategies to help beginners sell their games on Steam.
Some of the information on the cheat sheet is aimed at preparing your game’s store page—specifically, advice for creating your Steam capsules and trailers. Capsules refer to the graphical assets that are displayed on your game’s store page as well as within game lists when browsing Steam. Basically, they include the title and key art of your game and are the first images that users will see when they visit Steam.
The cheat sheet recommends that your capsule images include the game’s name and are clear and readable. Also important are the genre, and hooks to grab the attention of users. One possible option is to hire an artist to create an image that includes all of these elements. In short, they should be clear and leave an impact, as the goal is to catch the eye of potential players.
As for trailers, Hackett notes that viewers tend to skip through them, so you should keep this in mind when making them. Tips include making sure the trailer starts strong, showing gameplay straight away, and trying to keep the total length to 60 seconds or less. While most trailers tend to start by showing intro logos of the developers or publishers, Hackett recommends that you omit these.
Also included in the cheat sheet are tips on how to achieve more visibility on Steam and other bits of useful info, like how one review represents about 20-55 sales, about 15% of wishlists convert in the first week, and to discount 20%+ to email wishlisters after launch.
Hackett’s tweet currently has over 900 retweets and more than 5,000 likes, so it has certainly gained a good deal of attention. Many developers have used this opportunity to ask questions on various topics, and Hackett has taken the time to answer some of these too.
Some topics include whether Steam Deck Verification results in a boost in sales, the strategy of putting your game on sale every eight weeks or so, and how having a demo might be a good way to attract interest from streamers and YouTubers.
Hackett has mentioned that there is more information out there that delves deeper into these topics, and that his cheat sheet is meant to serve as a way for developers to quickly confirm the major points. He intends to make improvements to the sheet based on feedback and ideas from other users. Those who are interested should keep an eye out for new versions in the future.
Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-04-26 18:43 JST)