Note: This feature is taken from our monthly newsletter. As such, the content included is a month out-of-date. Though the following states the game releases tomorrow, Landlord’s Super is available in Steam Early Access right now.
We released a game last month. After 26 patches, containing hundreds of fixes and changes, let’s take a look at how this first month went.
First though, I must say thank you to the Yogscast for believing and supporting the project, all the journalists that covered ups, all the influencers that made content on us and a huge thanks to Seb for the community support. I owe you all a beer once this pandemic is done.
The Quintessential Construction Simulator
Landlord’s Super Release Overview
We released a game into Early Access last month. The second game under the MinskWorks moniker. For those unaware, Landlord’s Super is a “Quintessential Construction Simulator” set during the polarising years of 1980’s Britain.
Knowing the niche appeal of a British construction simulator, I expected Landlord’s Super to do markedly smaller units than our previous game, Jalopy. But then I never expected Jalopy to be anything more than a portfolio piece, so it’s success is something I’m still wary of. Using the established wisdom that your launch wishlist’s convert to 45% of your first month’s sales. With a launch price of $19.99 (10% discount), I had the goal in my mind of aiming for 10,000 wishlist’s before launch.
The barometer I opted to use for predicting success was Steam wishlist numbers. The main reason for this is there just isn’t much else you can work off to help predict how well a game will do.
Two weeks out from launch, we sat at about 4,000 wishlists. This meant we’d likely be losing money on the project long-term.
On launch day, following a great trailer, great pickup on the social medias, great influencer campaign by Yogscast and great traditional outreach by Honest PR, we managed to hit over 11,000 wishlist’s. Thus, the project had surpassed our internal target.
At close to 70%, our first month wishlist to sales ratio has been much, much stronger than expected. I think this probably indicates that the game has a larger appeal than the current niche we’re targeting. Especially considering our actual wishlist conversion rate is about as expected.
There’s been a lot of talk about the value of predicting sales through wishlist’s. With people often citing Goodhart’s law (“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” – which, appropriately, was used to criticise Margaret Thatcher’s monetary policy). Whilst the established guidance of a 45% sales prediction from wishlists numbers was off for Landlord’s (Incredibly in the more positive direction). I still think it’s a valid metric to use. Like I mentioned above, what else do we have at our disposal?
Higher Price Point
One aspect I wanted to cover was why I priced the game so high. First, development of Landlord’s Super is planned to be continued for a few more years. I wanted to make sure I could support this financially without having to resort to price increases down the line. We raised the price of Jalopy by a dollar when we exited Early Access and the review score hit was significant enough that I wouldn’t want to launch lower than our target price again. The messaging of Jalopy’s price increase was consistent and clear but did little to prevent a backlash.
Another reason is that, while of course we want to make sales, we’re really not ready to handle support for much more than cheerleaders and the enthusiast crowd right now.
Jalopy Audience Conversion
Due to a dispute with Jalopy’s publisher, we have very little access to that audience. We launched with no announcement on Jalopy’s store page, and no real access to our previous fans. Couple that with the fact Landlord’s is entirely new assets and code, we were for all intents and purposes starting from scratch again.
Regardless of not being able to access our previous audience didn’t concern me much for several reasons. Firstly, any goodwill we had built up from developing Jalopy had largely been burnt by the publisher’s actions. Before launch, we tried try to clear this up.
Thankfully, none of this seemed to matter much.
(I feel like I’m back in school writing a scientific paper with how I’ve structured this.)
Landlord’s Super has been a bigger success than I hoped or predicted. With the benefit of keeping the player-base small enough that I can reply to everyone’s support emails and even some steam reviews. We’re in a position now where the game has hit the ground running, and I can continue to add content, breathing more life into the project as it develops.
Remember that this is just the start. I’d like to again thank everyone for their understanding and patience with this project, but most importantly thank you for your support.
(from left to right) Einin discorving their own free build glitch, Jonthefuzz with a cryptic meme, tuinkers with a visual representation of gameplay and Seals3051 with probably our first meme post launch. Thank you all for the content!
Remember to Join the Discord to get involved.
Jalopy A Story in Three Parts
Till next month,
Ruta & Greg