For Independent Developers, a Game’s Store Page is Everything

September 28, 2020 — How important is your game’s store page? The short answer: extremely important. But any amateur on the web can tell you that, sure, a store page is paramount when launching a video game. That said, perhaps you’d like to hear it from the perspective of an experienced publisher?

Passive Marketing Lets You Focus on Development

Your game’s store page is what is known as “passive marketing.” Once you’ve published it and made a few tweaks, you can focus on actual development all the way until launch day. Occasionally, you may revisit your store page to update artwork and copy, post a development update, or interact with fans and potential customers through various discussion boards and community systems. That is why your game’s store page is a “key marketing asset,” albeit a static/passive one.

If you’re an independent developer, your store page is ten times more important than an AAA game studio. At least. Most big-name studios already have a consumer base and marketing budget to funnel players to their Steam, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, and Epic Game Store pages, which are often built and maintained in-house content teams. But once a major developer’s marketing budget dries up, the store page remains. This is as true for indies as it is for the big boys.

It’s Just a Page, Right?

Nope, your game’s store page is a vehicle. That vehicle is leading you to greater sales and visibility on any digital distribution platform you choose. Smaller Game Developers typically don’t have a multi-million-dollar marketing budget; unlike major AAA corporations like Activision, Rockstar Games, or Ubisoft. What all game developers have in common though, is that long after any marketing budget is through, store pages tend to become their only sales and marketing asset.

Unlike the big developers, you’ll devote time and patience to updating and improving your store page as development continues. If you’re soft-launching in Steam Early Access or Xbox Game Preview, posting regular development updates and interacting with the community is essential to continuously promote your game — none of which would be possible without a store page.

A Closer Look at Steam Wishlists

On Steam, your store page’s goal should be to entice players to wishlist your game over the competition. The wishlist is an essential feature for an indie developer. When you launch, anyone who added your game to their wishlist will receive an email. Upon receiving the launch announcement from Steam, they are far more likely to buy your game if (a) they remember it exists and (b) if you beat out the competition for their attention.

It’s the whole point of launching your game’s store page up to one year early on the platform. One year? That’s right; for an indie studio, it’s recommended you launch your store page one year in advance, or even earlier.

The number of wishlists your game has, directly and indirectly, impacts precisely how well your game performs upon release.

  • Players who wishlist your game are among the first to purchase on launch day. They’ll also be among the first to review the game after a few hours of playtime.
  • Steam and its algorithm look kindly upon upcoming games with a high wishlist count. If you’re in that boat, they’ll promote your title before launch, thereby increasing visibility and boosting your sales potential on release day. If that happens, here’s where you’ll be featured:
    • Top Wishlists (a section for pre-launch and unreleased upcoming games)
    • Capsule Features
    • Hero Banner Features

Now, that’s not to say you’ll convert every single wishlist user. According to a developer’s post from 2018 on Gamasutra, one wishlist entry equates to, on average, around 0.5 sales. So, if you have 10,000 users who wishlist your game, it’s likely you’ll receive about 5,000 sales from them under optimal conditions. Not too shabby! But again, there is never any guarantee. Ever.

So, to put things plainly: As an independent developer, the entire point of a Steam store page for your upcoming game is to garner wishlist additions prior to release, and to funnel long-tail sales and passive marketing long after your title’s launch.

Your game’s storage page should be a top priority early on, regardless of platform. If your page is updated and looks exceptional, also make sure there is proper localization in place for key markets.

Mark LoProto
As a Cultural Advisor to the board of Legendo Entertainment, US-based Mark LoProto specializes in everlasting entertainment trends and has a soft spot for 80s music and horror movies. He is well-versed in the history of video games and knows both retro and modern console game culture by heart. Follow @Parakrueger on Twitter.






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