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How changing my game image tripled the sales

by Milan Babuskov on 04/26/18 10:18:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


My game Son of a Witch has been in development since 2015 and entered Early Access on Steam in November 2016. The game was initially named My Mom is a Witch. This name was memorable and unique, but many players and Youtube and Twitch streamers had problem saying it out loud. Take these curators for example:

Because of this, I began to think that another name would be better. However, changing the name was a tough decision. The game won hearts of many players, including official selections from IndieCade and IndiePrize, all under the old name. Changing the name would mean losing some of the search engine traffic, word of mouth marketing and confusing the players.

Since the main character is a son of a witch, the new name was obvious. It would even fit the story better. The only problem was that Son of a Witch is also a pun to a well known pejorative slang phrase which doesn't work well with cutesy graphics of the game. Because of this I decided to ask the existing players on Steam, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive: everyone agreed that the new name is much better and easy to remember. There wasn't a single comment saying that I should keep the old one.

On July 3rd 2017 I changed the name of the game. It meant going through all the marketing materials and updating the logo. One of the big problems were dozens of YouTube videos using the old name. The game basically vanished from YouTube that day, as nobody would search for the old name anymore. I e-mailed a bunch of YouTubers who had the videos with top number of views, but only one of them went back and updated the titles.

Since I was updating all the graphic assets for the game store page with the new name, I decided to go and update the key promotional image. I still kept key actors: the knight and the Ogre Mama boss, but I changed the character poses and the way the scene is framed to give it some life.

This change might look trivial, but the effect was huge. In the weeks following the name and the graphics change, the game sales went up 306%, i.e. the game sales started to triple. At first I thought this was just some temporary effect. But, now that I have 9 months of sales data, I can confirm that this increase in sales is permanent. A couple of simple changes moved the game to a completely new level.

TL;DR: No matter how good your game is, the game's image is very important. Even if you think it's good, it's worth trying a couple different things and see how the players would react.

By the way, Son of a Witch is leaving early access on May 16th, so check it out.

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