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  • Postmortem: TILTit

    [01.30.20]
    - Mathias Berglund

  • What went wrong?

    Not planning before writing code

    At the beginning of the project I was eager to see results and started to write code without planning ahead on how to accomplish what I was attempting to do, resulting in an unstructured buggy mess of collection of scripts that either had to be rewritten or sometimes felt like a house of cards ready to fold at any time. Its fun to see quick results, but it's not fun to maintain unstructured and badly planned code. Thinking things through before starting to code anything would have saved me a lot of time in the long run.

    Lack of marketing and optimistic deadlines

    As I was developing TILTit I focused completely on the development part, only showing the game to close friends as things progressed. I intended to start marketing the game and focus only on marketing two months before its release by setting up a steam page, contacting curators and streamers and mailing review keys to the press. However, I was to optimistic with my deadlines and ended up working on the game up until the last week before releasing the game making the marketing content lacking. In hindsight I probably should have delayed the release.

    Selecting the wrong niche to work in

    If you look at similar games on Steam, it is clear that falling blocks puzzle games is a niche market dominated by Tetris much like the MMO market niche is dominated by World of Warcraft. Even established franchises like Puyo Puyo Champions currently sits at 317 reviews making me believe that this particular niche is too hard to compete in as Tetris probably already is the perfect falling blocks puzzle game. As a contrast to Puyo Puyo Champions, Puyo Puyo Tetris currently sits at 2645 reviews.

    Some numbers

    When TILTit released on Steam October 18th 2019 it had 41 wishlists. Now two and a half months after its release the current wishlist count is up at 162 wishlists. TILTit sold 5 units during the release week. It has since sold 7 more units during the Winter sale. The lifetime conversion rate on wishlists is 5.4% which seems to be the average number to expect.

    The lifetime traffic on the store so far is 185 546 impressions while the click rate is 12.72% at 23 607 visitors. The highest peak of visitors came on January the 5th at 3126 visitors where 3102 of those where by direct navigation, this however did not result in an increase of wishlists or any sales.

    Summary

    When it comes to economics TILTit is looking like a complete failure and in this I'm in no way unique. It might be that the game does not appeal to people in its niche, or is seemingly simplistic while actually being a very challenging game as it requires you to plan ahead while keeping an eye at all times on the physics driven balance keeping the player on its toes and constantly engaged. My guess however is that I completely underestimated the importance of marketing done properly, as well as failing to analyze the market niche before hand. The upside however is that I finally made a game of my own - a dream since I started tinkering with my Amiga 500 during the early 90ies.

    Feel free to check out TILTit here:

    TILTit Steam storepage

    MABE Play website

    Trailer on Youtube.com

    Thank you for taking your time reading this postmortem.
    Mathias Berglund

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