So you want to release a game on Steam? Awesome, here is a bit of advice that will increase your chances of success.
Create and launch your Steam page early!
- Create your Steam page early in the development process. This allows you to gain more followers/wishlists and provide your audience with updates on the game.
- Ask people to wishlist your game. Use call to actions in your communication with your audience that prompts them to wishlist your game. Don’t overdo it but people tend to be lazy so help them to your game and ask them to wishlist it.
Steam marketing tips to increase your chances of selling mooooare
Can’t emphasize this enough: Create your Steam page early and ask people to wishlist the game. You can expect a conversion rate on about 10% from wishlist -> sold unit. Example if you want to sell 1 000 units then you need 10 000 wishlists entries. However you’ll also get people who buy your game without wishlisting it so that statement is a bit generic.
- After launch, get 10 reviews ASAP this will push the Steam algorithm to show your game much more.
Post frequent updates on your game about the progress.
Use Steam Navigation Traffic to see how your traffic develops and see what works to pull in people to your page.
Use your own Google Analytics account and connect it to your store pages to get more insights which external sites gives you traffic. It also helps to understand your audience, which you can use a decision for localization and pricing. You also get realtime analytic and on your launch day you want to see this with a bowl of popcorn and possible beer if you are old enough.
Setup a Google Alert with your game name that way you can react if your game pops up on a page or youtube etc. You can use that to help promote awareness of your game and you also see what gives you exposure.
- Add your game to Twitch with box art so it will look good when people are steaming your game.
- Add your game to YouTube so it will link to the correct game when people play it on YouTube.
Create a Steam homepage for your studio under creator homepage setup.
Use the connect with curators feature and invite as many relevant curators as possible. Most likely you will need all the marketing exposure you can get.
Ask for reviews from your beta testers, friends and family. You will need all the reviews you can get.
Do a press release, no matter how simple, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org that will get you coverage on Gamasutra and a bunch of more pages as they pickup press releases from Game Press. Feel free to extend your list with more contacts.
Use Keymailer (at least the free version) to send keys to steamers, youtubers and review sites. The good part with keymailer is that you see how many followers the request has on social media, youtube, twitch etc. It also manages Steam keys for you with the ability to recycle them if they are not used.
Use the discount launch option to get more exposure.
- Run frequent Discount campaigns, a discount over 20% will trigger a notification to people who have wishlist your game.
Steam certification, yes there is such a thing
Steam does actually have a lightweight certification for indie games. It’s not like on itch where you just upload it and go.
Getting through Steam certification isn’t hard but ensure you plan for it so you don’t miss your planned release date.
In your trailer ensure that you include a Steam logo if you display any other store front logo, otherwise thou shall fail cert.
Auto pause the game when a Steam overlay is opened.
Stop reacting to input if the Steam overlay is open.
Ensure that your ship package includes depots of all your supported platforms, the default is just your first depot.
Make sure that your launch parameters actually work after installed through Steam. You can test this with beta builds or your dev branch.
Don’t include any links to other store fronts, it’s not allowed.
Don’t have any “work in progress, unpublished” achievements when submitting to cert.
Don’t wait to long to press the cert button as it takes a few days to get through and your release date will get pushed forward.