There’s no way to sugarcoat the news: Inferno 2 on Steam has been a major disappointment for Radiangames, and its dismal sales have demolished Radiangames’ chances of publishing Legend of Gigatron on Steam without going through Greenlight. It’s also made me wary of making a Steam release the focus of such a large and important game.
There are many reasons why Inferno 2 may have failed to sell on Steam so far, but it mostly comes down to this: Almost nobody knows the game is there. I completely failed to get any press attention for the game, and when the game was on the front page of Steam for a couple hours on launch day, it didn’t get enough sales to merit placement on the auto-generated charts elsewhere on Steam.
In any case, Inferno 2’s launch dud has made it obvious that trying to launch Gigatron on PC as my next game would be unwise. I don’t want to spend 4-5 months on a game only to have it flounder on Greenlight for who knows how long.
Back to the Wall
Due to Inferno 2’s poor PC sales, Gigatron taking too long, the larger non-Radiangames project I’d been working on being on hiatus, and some other unrelated money troubles, things are actually looking a bit grim for me staying independent. It’s been 5 years of Radiangames being on a financial roller coaster and right now the end of the tracks are in sight. I need to do something drastic immediately, so…
Back to the Well
Radiangames’ most successful and consistent launches have been in 2012 and 2014 when I launched 4 or more mobile games within 6 months of each other. The sales on iOS in particular have been quite dependable, though Google Play helped solidify the sales to keep Radiangames going.
Part of the reason for that success has been consistent press coverage for my games from big sites like Touch Arcade and Pocket Gamer, and decent feature placement by Apple. That kind of exposure is invaluable. Yet for various reasons, I’ve switched away from mobile-only games despite these successful runs and the almost-automatic coverage. In both cases, switching away has been costly and Radiangames has ended up on the brink of collapse less than a year later.
So I’m going back to do what has worked the best for Radiangames: Lots of small, high-quality mobile games. If it works, Radiangames keeps going and I get to do what I love. And this time I’m sticking with it to the end. If it doesn’t work, I’ll get a full-time game development job and stress a lot less.
The thing is, Gigatron isn’t small, nor is it close enough to being finished. I also need to set it up with a smaller game or two. I have to make sure I still know what I’m doing on mobile, that the mobile market for premium still (kind of) exists, and that Gigatron’s not going to die a silent death.
I also don’t have any more ports left to pull out of a hat, or games to re-release, or nearly finished games laying around. That means I have to make a small all-new game.
Playing to My Strengths
To be fair, that’s the thought process I had the day Inferno 2 launched, not what I’m thinking now. I switched to mobile-only development (iOS and Google Play) the day after Inferno 2’s Steam launch.
In other words, I have been working on an all-new arcade game for almost 3 weeks and it’s almost done. Rather than pushing the boundaries of what I can do (like Gigatron, Bombcats, or Powerpuff Girls), I’ve been focusing on what I do really well and doing it the best I can. I’ll announce the new game, and show a trailer, by the end of this week, so you won’t have to wait long to learn more.
I have no idea if this is the end of Radiangames, or the beginning of a new prosperous era.