Steam Spy Kids – Doing your homework before a release

Written by Petri Pekkarinen

The final version Gunnheim is supposed to be available on multiple platforms, but our first goal is to get the game out on Steam. Steam is a familiar platform to us as gamers, but there are indeed a lot of question marks floating around when we are getting closer and closer to releasing our first game on it.

Today I started to do a little market research and began to list games even with the slightest similarities to our game. While we believe that based on the feedback our game has been given so far it should be quite well received once it hits Steam. Guessing won’t take us far though, so all kinds of facts, comparisons and honest case reviews of other games out there is very relevant to making the last crucial decisions about the game, especially in terms of marketing it effectively.

Not the best approach for... well, anything really.

Not the best approach for… well, anything really.

Steam Spy has been a great help in gathering that kind of data. Steam Spy “automatically gathers data from Steam user profiles, analyzes it and presents in simple, yet beautiful, manner.” What this means is that you can search and export various stats about basically all the games currently on Steam. The numbers come with a margin of error, the estimates are well explained and the service is improving all the time. You can also easily export any results in a few different formats.

With case Gunnheim what is interesting to us are of course co-op games, both online and local. I’ve also reviewed comprehensive lists of games with the following tags: roguelike, shooter, beat ’em up, and so forth. After listing each category I’ve checked the games’ Steam Store pages and some gameplay videos to get a broad enough view of any given title and then decided whether they should be used in comparison when planning the release and estimating the success of our own indie game.

Afll the feedback, data from other games and our own gut feelings are pointing more and more to the fact that Gunnheim will find it’s way to players who will love playing it. You just can’t have too much (local co-op) fun with friends, and after a bit of research I can honestly say that vikings with guns could be something new in the top-down shooter genre.

So whether you are a passionate gamer or also a game developer, you too should do some digging on Steam Spy and browse all the really interesting stats it holds! For us it has been one very welcome tool with the ability to turn many questions into known facts. Of course it’s not a crystal ball for the success of any new game, but with a little bit of organized research you can get a good impression of the success of similar titles.