Hive, the very first game by Finnish games studio startup, Skydome Entertainment, flew through the Steam Greenlight process in just 5 days last week, gathering over 10,000 “yes” votes.
The Skydome Entertainment team who developed the real-time strategy game “Hive” consists of just 5 people, and the studio has not received any outside funding so far. Additionally, the young studio has no official website, and as “Hive” is the first commercially released game by Skydome Entertainment, they don’t have an amazing track record to show off either. And yet, the studio’s first game still succeeded in gathering over 10k votes in less than a week!
The advantage of being a young startup with no funding and no track record, is that it forces you to carefully prepare everything you do – and that is exactly what Skydome Entertainment did. So instead of spending time building an official website for the studio or the game, the team decided to simply use Facebook and the community forums on Steam, which allowed them to spend more time on preparing what was most important: a trailer, concept art, and gameplay footage
“We had been preparing for Greenlight very well; we already had the game in a playable state when applying. We had a trailer that showed actual gameplay footage, an intro cinematic and a lot of concept art”, Sauli Saarimaa from Skydome Entertainment explains.
That being said, without an existing fan base, you cannot afford to wait till everything is 100% perfect, Sauli Saarimaa continues. Instead, you should test the concept of your game as soon as possible, and from there start building the community of fans who will ultimately help you get through Greenlight once everything is ready.
“Test the concept early; you can get instant feedback for free if you post concept art from the game into the “Concepts” section of Greenlight. Starting to build the community early on is very important.”
When it comes to the actual Greenlight campaign, the first week has a huge meaning for how well the rest of the campaign will do, Sauli Saarimaa explains. A complete marketing campaign should therefore be launched as soon as the Greenlight campaign goes live, in an attempt to keep the initial momentum and hype going.
“If you apply for Greenlight, the first week has a HUGE meaning for the campaign – if you can get the game to stay on the most popular concepts page, it will get a lot more visibility. Use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, different gaming related forums to create hype, and try to launch the marketing campaign on all sites at the same time.”
For some Greenlight campaigns, social media reach is the primary source of traffic. With “Hive”, however, most of the people who entered the game’s store page actually arrived from inside Steam itself, Sauli Saarimaa explains.
Furthermore, digging a bit deeper into the world of Greenlight campaign analysis, the numbers from the “Hive” campaign shows that “no” votes didn’t really matter at all, and that a simple “Favorite” meant more for the success of the campaign than a “yes” vote did.
“Number of “no” votes does not matter, what counts is how many people answer “YES” to the question of whether or not they would like to buy the game if it were available on Steam. In addition, people that “Favorite” the game gives a higher % than a simple “YES” vote.”
Additionally, what also seems to have influenced the “Hive” campaign is the ratio between YES and NO votes. As Sauli Saarimma adds, “Greenlight also tracks YES/NO ratio compared to other top 100 titles that are available for voting .We had 70% yes votes and 30% no votes and other games had an average of 40% yes and 60% no votes. So Valve keeps track of that too.”
What has your experiences been with getting through Greenlight? And where did you get most of your votes from? Let us know in the comments section below!