Three recent successes. Three completely different approaches and strategies in order to make the project profitable. Among Us, Fall Guys, and Hades couldn’t be further apart from each other, but they share a similar story.
All three are games that in one way or another, and to a greater or lesser extent, have been ignored or belittled and that, due to a marketing strategy and / or good work, have gone from “let’s see how it is” to resounding success.
They are there because luck, money, quality, or a mixture of all of them, has wanted it that way. A situation that could be completely different in any other game or project.
Out there could be the game that laughs in the faces of all of them and have gone completely unnoticed. It may have happened to one in particular. There may be hundreds of them in the last year.
Name one hundredth of the games released in 2019 from memory
Steam closed last year with a total of 8,290 games published, slightly less than the 9,050 that arrived in 2018. Logic – and some common sense after a walk through Valve’s digital store and its wardrobe – tells us that great some of those titles do not deserve five minutes because they are pure shovelware, cheap copies of other hits or more than questionable ideas.
A possibility, of course, because no one in their right mind has stopped to see what is really among those more than 8,000 games. Of them could you name how many? 20, 50, 100?
Memory has never been my strong suit, but I put my hand in the fire that the games that passed through my eyes or my hands, even with a mere image, will hardly exceed one hundredth.
How we have gone from the 356 games published in 2009 to that insane figure in just 10 years is another topic that we have already talked about and we will probably talk again, but what really overwhelms me in a way that – I imagine – from the outside must be seen quite a bit comical, it’s how many favorite games I’ve missed.
And to show a button. The Among Us phenomenon is that of a game launched in 2018 that in its first months had, as a record, 25 simultaneous players. After some success among Korean and Brazilian streamers, the game ends up in oblivion and its creators decide that they will not continue updating or supporting it. And suddenly, the boom.
From zero to hero
What begins as a stream on Android soon spreads to iOS and, from there, to Steam. As in the success story of Angry Birds and the Olympian who went on TV talking about the desire he had to return to the hotel to continue playing, someone comments or plays Among Us at the right time and place.
The most surprising video game butterfly flapping in recent years turns those 25 simultaneous players into 438,524 (Steam only).
It was Among Us, but it could have been any other of those more than 17,000 games released between 2018 and 2019. And to make it even clearer how marketing and money save the lives of some and get others to stick, the case of Hades.
After a period of early access in the Epic Games Store, last December it landed on Steam under the same premise. Here the fact of being a game from a recognized studio has its reward. In the media we talk about him and his videos or images appear here or there.
A peak of 8,000 simultaneous players that gradually falls and recovers briefly with the arrival of updates. One month after its launch, just an average of 1,000 players per month.
After that, arrival on Switch, a new trailer and, with it, the game that nobody was talking about and that much of the public did not even remember comes to light again: ah, yes, Hades. But this one hadn’t already come out?
The GOTY that we will never discover
It turns out that it had been a great game all this time, but even with a recognized team behind it, it had gone unnoticed until that day and that moment. Suddenly, more than 37,000 players come to him on Steam.
If another bombshell coincides with your ad that has us talking about it for two or three days – what do I know, a Sony buys Konami and here you have Metal Gear VI by surprise to play it for free -, you may be interested in Hades would have been almost completely diluted.
Any butterfly flapping that comes to your mind is a good example to ruin what today seems set in stone. Even more so if, unlike the contacts and money of Supergiant Games, we are talking about any other independent game that comes out of early access with more fear than illusion. That’s right.
It is mathematically impossible that along the way we do not miss an absurd amount of games that were worthwhile.
The price of progress, they say. To be lucky enough to hit a ball with Devolver Digital and have a Yellow Humor or Wipeout style game stand out from the rest.
It is not only the idea that has raised Fall Guys, Nippon Marathon is proof that something similar has been tried with much less success, and searching among the 40,000 games that swarm on Steam we will surely find some more example.
The problem is not that they succeed and others do not, the problem is that it does not give us life no matter how much the FOMO tightens and that, despite what it hurts, we will close 2020 knowing that we have missed a lot of great games than ever we will come to discover. Luck exists, but if it worked the same for everyone it would not be such a thing.