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3 Years of Astroneer Stay: A Advertising & Comms Publish-Mortem

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Three years in the past in February 2019, the System Period workforce had simply pressed the stay button on the 1.0 model of Astroneer, our chill house sandbox journey, and the primary sport of our new studio. Leaping ahead to 2022, Astroneer has grossed over 75 million {dollars} in income, is posting its finest participant numbers since that launch day, and has been performed by 8 million individuals the world over.

The highway up to now has been actually attention-grabbing to look at play out, so I need to break down a number of the key factors that we took away from the advertising and marketing and communications perspective over three years of energetic improvement.

When you simply need to see the numbers: we made an enormous infographic that breaks down intimately issues like general income, person break up between platforms, income from our in-game retailer and extra.

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Earlier than I get into takeaways, some context: When early entry ended, we knew we needed to place out the 1.0 model of the sport and proceed to assist it over a number of years with free content material. That meant we’d be specializing in new gross sales for income, so we needed to maintain present gamers joyful to create an atmosphere the place new gamers felt comfy shopping for in.

Listed below are a number of the issues that caught with us after doing our greatest to market a stay product for 3 years publish 1.0.

PLATFORM EXPOSURE IS #1

Truly that is not true – making a strong sport is – however let’s fake you’ve got a superb sport with a superb plan for including content material over time. As a advertising and marketing or comms individual, your finest and most constant path to promoting copies of your sport is assist and publicity from the platforms that promote the sport.

It could sound apparent, but it surely wasn’t to us for a very long time. We hung out doing weekly dev vlogs, streaming, press outreach… . we LITERALLY launched an Xbox into house!!! (hyperlink) All through all of it, working a sale on the proper time, driving wishlists on Steam, or getting Xbox dashboard publicity have been essentially the most impactful path to getting eyeballs on Astroneer.

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Knowledge for direct hyperlinks to retailer pages solely began being collected April 2019

For reference: Astroneer’s Steam retailer web page has been visited 33 million occasions since 1.0. Over 70% of these visits come solely from the Steam ecosystem (eg, house web page publicity, discovery queue, extra like this, seasonal sale pages, and so forth.). All our advertising and marketing – advertisements, social media, influencer movies, streams, press outreach – accounted for round 15% % of these visits.

Which means all of the platform-specific issues:

  • wishlists
  • Nice key artwork and screenshots
  • Considerate trailers
  • A strong gross sales pitch
  • Cautious platform tagging
  • Translating retailer pages to different languages
  • Having a properly thought out plan for reductions
  • Launch visibility

… .turned an enormous focus for us as a workforce. This is not an exhaustive record, and I might do a complete discuss on simply platform-specific advertising and marketing (I’ve earlier than truly!!!), however I implore you to be eager about your retailer web page and platform presence early and sometimes. conversion price and evaluation rating pays dividends for months as they imply you’ll possible see extra web page site visitors from the platform as you get highlighted in urged that includes for different related titles or feeds.

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Astroneer in lists on Steam have been clicked on greater than any of our social media hyperlinks mixed.

To be clear, that does not imply you should not take different advertising and marketing avenues significantly. Forward of launching your title, you have to be doing issues like refining your worth proposition (learn Victoria Tran’s nice breakdown about this), doing market analysis (I like this actually nice discuss from Steve Filby about Useless Cells), and beginning to construct an viewers on social media. Astroneer wouldn’t be successful with out Twitter: we initially created an viewers largely from strategic reveals of the unreleased undertaking. As soon as the sport was out, our advertising and marketing efforts throughout stay improvement obtained us tens of millions of retailer web page hits throughout all platforms which definitely led to numerous unit gross sales, however by it all of the publicity from the platform ecosystems we bought on obtained us extra site visitors than any of the BANGER memes we posted on Twitter.

GAMES ARE GLOBAL

Astroneer is a novel case as a result of by design, the sport is constructed utilizing numerous visible communication. That ends in a sport we are able to promote in tons of various locations with out having to beat as many cultural/language limitations. Astroneer is out there in 13 completely different languages, and almost 20% of our income on Steam comes from Asia. Here’s a take a look at a few of our top-performing nations, in addition to platform break up only for enjoyable.

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Our knowledge strains up largely with Steam’s personal communications on regional gross sales: In 2018, income on Steam from Asia and Western Europe mixed for round 50% of all gross sales on the platform.

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Supply: Steam Enterprise Replace – GDC 2019

Which means for those who aren’t translating to as many languages ​​as you’ll be able to, you might be leaving out big viewers teams on your title. Moreover, for those who can, spend time translating your retailer web page for every language with trusted translation companies who can contextualize your pitch for a neighborhood viewers. Deal with methods you can also make every language web page distinctive for the potential gamers that can be studying it.

We additionally discovered success making content material for particular regional audiences! We do a few of our greatest gross sales in November and December, however we additionally take time to think about how we are able to embrace different regional occasions as properly.

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Lunar new yr has turn out to be an enormous second we rejoice yearly

YOU CANNOT BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE

As a comms individual, you should be two voices without delay: The one which brings the phrases of the workforce to gamers and potential patrons, and the one which distills all of the issues gamers say into issues the workforce can motion on. How do you execute on the imaginative and prescient the workforce has whereas additionally bringing in new audiences and giving gamers what they need?

After 1.0 launched, we targeted on clarifying our message for the way forward for the sport by being direct with what we had been going to do (and, maybe as importantly, what we weren’t) and why. Early Entry was stuffed with numerous huge desires about what we might do, but it surely was time to be extra disciplined. We regarded on the 1.0 product, did market analysis, made an in depth go to market plan, and obtained the entire workforce on board.

We might cease making an attempt to be all the pieces to everybody and give attention to efforts that might make us cash.

Here’s a visible that helps illustrate how buttoned up our exterior comms turned:

Roadmap at 1.0

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Roadmap publish 1.0

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I’m not knocking Trello roadmaps, however we used them to trace approach too many issues publicly. Dozens of playing cards had been simply concepts that we MIGHT do though internally the workforce had all however written them off. From the advertising and marketing workforce’s perspective, we did not need to lose potential prospects! However externally, stringing individuals together with options that may by no means ship was a nasty technique that distracted the workforce and confused gamers. Additionally, our new roadmap was simply approach prettier and far simpler for extra individuals to grasp.

Coincidentally, the above Trello screengrab is from a stream the place we let the neighborhood know that mod assist was simply not going to ever come to Astroneer. It was a troublesome dialog and I thank our producer Veronica for serving to navigate it, however in the long run, it was so useful to the workforce to simply rip the band help off. That was the principle concept: Give the comms workforce house to give attention to issues that bought the sport, and let the event workforce focus assets on making content material that might maintain bringing in new gamers.

Total, stay improvement of Astroneer has far surpassed expectations. Our Nintendo Change launch in January contributed to an incredible month the place Astroneer bought over 220,000 models on all platforms. We nonetheless have a wholesome neighborhood, our month-to-month participant numbers are a number of the finest we’ve got ever seen, and we’ve got enjoyable plans for content material within the coming yr. Astroneer has been extraordinarily fortunate, however I hope that a number of the knowledge we shared and these insights different groups may be barely extra knowledgeable when making selections. We are going to maintain going (about our in-game retailer, how we zeroed in on our messaging, to debate the perfect taste of lacroix), however for now be happy to peruse our full data graphic and do not hesitate to ask us questions on issues that curiosity you.

You will discover me on Twitter at @staymightyor drop me a line at [email protected]t.