Over a month ago we launched our first ever “proper” game (sorry mobile games market) and despite reading every single article on Gamasutra I was still not really prepared for the reality of such a launch. It has been an amazing learning experience but unfortunately it has definitely been one of those where you learn from mistakes rather than glorious success. So where did we go wrong? I mean pretty much everything could have been done better but I think perhaps the two areas where we went completely off the rails were perhaps the two most important – firstly the game was not polished enough to be released and secondly (and maybe most importantly) the price.
Undead Blackout was never going to win any BAFTA’s but I think it is an enjoyable game which is challenging, replayable and has enough modes to keep you and a friend entertained over the course of a few hours. I am still working to improve it and the version on Steam now is hugely improved over the version that launched but that there is the issue, the current version should have been the version everybody saw first of all. Anyone in the Press that saw this version might actually take the time to review it and any reviews we did get might have been more favourable. So the lesson is, if you think your game is ready then spend another two weeks polishing and improving before releasing it.
Before launch I was flitting between $9.99 and $7.99 as the launch price. I had looked at a few games that were vaguely similar and while some were $3.99 others were $12.99 so I felt going in somewhere in the middle would be the right call and allow us the wiggle room to bring the price down if we felt necessary. Unless you are coming out of Early Access you can never increase the price without looking like a dick. What I had not realised and what is now annoyingly obvious to me is that we had not earned the right to charge $7.99 or $9.99 for a game, nobody knows who we are and won’t gamble money on such an unknown quantity when there are other games from better know developers for similar money.
To help with this issue Undead Blackout is now and shall forever be $4.99/£3.99 and aside from sales and discount weeks, that is the cheapest it will ever be.
The current objective is to work on the Xbox One version of the game and get that released sometime this Spring. Lots of the improvement that have been made to that version will quickly find their way into the Steam version. Then it will be a case of harassing the lovely folk at Nintendo to get a Switch dev kit and porting the game over there.
A challenging few weeks for certain but I am optimistic that the lessons learned will serve me well in the future and push Borderline Inappropriate Game Studios onto something resembling success.