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Game Dev

How many Steam Wishlists is good enough for a launch?

Did you know that the number of wishlists your indie game has can significantly impact its success on Steam? The more wishlists, the better your chances of a successful game launch and effective marketing strategy.

  • Aim for at least 7,000 wishlists to increase visibility and a chance to appear on Steam’s ‘Popular Upcoming’ list.
  • Wishlist count milestones: 1,000 for low visibility, 2,000-4,000 for appearing in players’ Discovery Queues, 7,000-12,000 for ‘Popular Upcoming’ box, and 25,000-50,000 for front page and Featured carousel visibility.
  • While there is no direct correlation between wishlists and sales, on average, week-one sales can be roughly 10-20% of the launch-day net wishlist count.
  • If your game has a low wishlist count, focus on marketing strategies like social media promotion, reaching out to journalists, creating attention-grabbing content, using targeted ads, and participating in festivals and competitions.
  • Transitioning from early access to full launch may result in lower wishlist conversions, as most dedicated fans have already purchased the game.

What is Steam’s discovery algorithm?

Steam utilizes a sophisticated algorithm to determine which games are displayed to users and how frequently they appear. This Steam visibility algorithm plays a crucial role in game visibility and discovery rankings on the platform.

The discovery algorithm evaluates various pre-sale metrics to assess the potential interest and demand for a game. Two key metrics include the number of visits to the game’s store page and the number of users who add the game to their wishlist. These metrics provide Steam with insights into user engagement and their likelihood of purchasing the game upon release.

By analyzing this data, Steam’s algorithm determines the visibility of a game within the platform. Games with high traffic and a significant number of wishlist additions within a short period of time are more likely to be featured prominently, increasing their visibility to potential players.

Understanding and leveraging the discovery algorithm is crucial for indie developers and game publishers in strategizing their marketing efforts. By driving traffic to their store pages and encouraging users to add their games to wishlists, developers can enhance their game’s chances of gaining visibility and reaching a wider audience on Steam.

Key takeaways:

  • Steam employs a sophisticated algorithm to determine game visibility and discovery rankings.
  • The algorithm considers pre-sale metrics, including visits to the store page and the number of wishlist additions.
  • Games with higher traffic and wishlist additions are more likely to appear prominently on Steam.
  • Understanding and strategically leveraging the discovery algorithm is crucial in driving game visibility and increasing wishlist numbers.

How many wishlists does my indie game need?

The success of an indie game launch can be influenced by the number of wishlists it has. While the ideal wishlist count varies depending on individual goals and desires, there are certain milestones that indie developers can aim for.

  • With fewer than 1,000 net wishlists, your game is likely to have low on-site visibility and will require manual traffic driving.
  • Somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 wishlists, your game may start appearing on the Steam store in different ways, such as in players’ Discovery Queues or higher in tag search results.
  • At 7,000 to 12,000 net wishlists, your game has a higher chance of appearing in the ‘Popular Upcoming’ box on Steam’s front page.
  • And at 25,000 to 50,000 net wishlists, your game stands a reasonable chance of appearing on Steam’s front page and in the Featured carousel, giving it visibility to potentially millions of target customers.

These wishlist milestones serve as benchmarks for developers, providing guidance on the number of wishlists to aim for to increase the visibility and potential success of their indie game.

Why are wishlist milestones important?

Reaching these wishlist milestones can have a direct impact on the discoverability and visibility of your game on Steam. The higher the number of wishlists, the more likely your game will be featured in prominent positions on the Steam store, increasing its exposure to potential customers. This can translate into higher chances of sales and a more successful game launch.

To further enhance your understanding of wishlist milestones, let’s take a look at the benefits of reaching each milestone in detail.

Benefits of reaching wishlist milestones

1. 1,000 net wishlists: At this level, your game may still have low on-site visibility, but it can serve as a starting point for driving traffic manually and increasing awareness among potential players.

2. 2,000 to 4,000 net wishlists: Reaching this milestone can result in your game appearing in players’ Discovery Queues and higher in relevant tag search results. This can significantly boost exposure and attract more potential players to your game’s store page.

3. 7,000 to 12,000 net wishlists: If your game reaches this milestone, it stands a higher chance of appearing in the ‘Popular Upcoming’ box on Steam’s front page. This prominent placement can generate significant visibility and attract a larger audience to your game.

4. 25,000 to 50,000 net wishlists: Reaching this milestone gives your game a reasonable chance of appearing on Steam’s front page and in the Featured carousel. This level of visibility can expose your game to potentially millions of target customers, greatly increasing the chances of success.

While these wishlist milestones can provide a general roadmap for indie developers, it’s important to remember that the numbers are not set in stone. They should be used as reference points and adjusted based on the unique circumstances and goals of your game.

In the next section, we’ll explore how wishlists translate to sales, providing valuable insights into the correlation between wishlists and the commercial success of your indie game.

How do wishlists translate to sales?

When it comes to the relationship between wishlists and sales, there is no definitive rule. However, wishlists have a significant impact on driving sales by influencing the discovery algorithm and generating player interest. While the direct conversion rate may vary, there are some loose benchmarks to consider.

On average, the number of sales in the first week after launch can be roughly 10-20% of the total launch-day net wishlist count. For example, if your game has 10,000 wishlists on launch day, you can expect to sell between 1,000 and 2,000 copies within the first seven days.

Furthermore, the number of copies sold in the first year can loosely correlate with the number of people who had added the game to their wishlist before release. This means that a larger wishlist count prior to launch can potentially translate to more sales over the long term.

It is important to note that these benchmarks are approximate and can be influenced by various factors such as the quality of the game, market competition, and marketing efforts.

Want to see how wishlist conversions can impact your sales? Check out the table below:

Sales Figures Based on Wishlist Count

Wishlist CountEstimated Week-One Sales

Remember, these estimates serve as general guidelines and should be considered alongside other factors to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for your game’s launch.

My game doesn’t have enough wishlists! What should I do?

If your game has a low wishlist count, there are several strategies you can employ to increase it. First, don’t panic if your launch is not imminent. Marketing takes time and persistence, so continue to promote your game through social media channels, reach out to journalists, and consider sending preview builds to streamers.

Additionally, you can create attention-grabbing content such as short trailers and utilize targeted ads on platforms like Facebook, Reddit, or TikTok. Participating in festivals and competitions can also boost wishlist numbers.

Remember that building a clearly mapped out marketing strategy, measuring results, and allowing sufficient time before launch are essential in driving store page traffic and wishlists.

Putting effort into marketing your game can significantly impact the number of wishlists it receives. By actively promoting your game through various channels, collaborating with influencers, and creating engaging content, you can increase visibility and generate interest among potential players. Additionally, participating in industry events and competitions can provide valuable exposure and attract more attention to your game.

Consider utilizing social media platforms to engage with your target audience directly. Through targeted ads and engaging posts, you can capture the attention of potential players and encourage them to add your game to their wishlists. Also, reach out to gaming journalists and influencers who may be interested in showcasing your game or writing about it, helping to spread the word and increase wishlist numbers.

Remember, increasing wishlists requires patience and consistent effort. Keep refining your marketing strategy, monitor the results, and adapt as needed. By implementing these tactics, you can work towards achieving a higher wishlist count and increasing the potential success of your game.

Benchmarks for wishlist count at launch

A successful game launch on Steam requires careful planning and strategic marketing efforts. One crucial aspect to consider is the number of wishlists your game has before its release. Aim to have a minimum of 7,000 wishlists to increase your chances of appearing on Steam’s ‘Popular Upcoming’ list. This list highlights the top games that are soon to be released, providing significant visibility and organic impressions for your game.

The exact number of wishlists required to make it onto the ‘Popular Upcoming’ list may vary based on the level of competition during the release week. To gauge your game’s chances of making it onto the list, you can check your game’s rankings on SteamDB and monitor its rank among wishlisted games. By tracking these metrics, you can make informed decisions regarding your game’s launch strategy.

If your game is close to reaching the 7,000 wishlist milestone but falls slightly short, consider delaying the launch to allow for a marketing blitz that can boost wishlists. However, if your game is far from reaching the desired number, it may be beneficial to release the game and focus on creating a strong marketing plan for your next project.

Having a substantial number of wishlists at launch can significantly enhance the visibility and exposure of your game on Steam. It can boost the chances of your game appearing on the ‘Popular Upcoming’ list, attracting the attention of potential players and increasing the likelihood of a successful launch. Therefore, prioritize building a strong wishlist count to maximize the impact of your game’s release.

Early access and wishlist conversions at full launch

When games transition from early access to a full launch, the conversion rates for wishlists tend to be lower compared to regular or early access launches. This is because most dedicated fans have already purchased the game during the early access phase, resulting in fewer wishlist conversions at the full launch. On average, the conversion rate at the full launch is around 2.4%, indicating that the majority of wishlist sales occur during the early access period.

The length of time a game spends in early access can also impact the conversion rate. A longer early access period provides more opportunities for fans to buy the game before the full launch, leading to higher conversion rates. It’s crucial to take these factors into account when planning your marketing and release strategies for early access games.

To illustrate the importance of early access, consider the following example: Suppose a game has 10,000 wishlists during early access. Based on the average conversion rate of 2.4%, the game would be expected to sell approximately 240 copies upon full launch. Therefore, nurturing and engaging with your fan base during the early access period is crucial for driving wishlist conversions and maximizing sales when your game reaches its full launch.

To achieve optimal results, focus on creating a strategic marketing plan to maintain and grow your fan base during the early access phase. This can include regular updates, community engagement, and highlighting the benefits of purchasing the game in early access, such as the ability to shape the development process or exclusive content.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Games transitioning from early access to a full launch tend to have lower seven-day wishlist conversion rates compared to regular or early access launches.
  2. Most wishlist sales occur during the early access period, as dedicated fans tend to purchase the game before the full launch.
  3. The conversion rate at the full launch is around 2.4%, highlighting the importance of early access in driving wishlist conversions.
  4. A longer early access period allows for more opportunities to convert wishlists into sales upon full launch.
  5. Focus on nurturing and engaging with your fan base during early access through regular updates, community engagement, and exclusive content.

Sales per Wishlist and setting wishlist goals

When it comes to measuring the success of your game launch, understanding the relationship between wishlists and sales is crucial. On average, each wishlist is worth approximately 0.58 sales, although this can vary depending on various factors such as your existing fan base, marketing efforts, and the overall quality of your game.

When setting goals for wishlist counts, it’s important to consider the total number of units you need to sell in order to break even or make a profit. By using the average sales per wishlist ratio, you can estimate the total number of sales your game might achieve based on its wishlist count.

For example, let’s say you need to sell 10,000 units to break even. In this case, aiming for around 20,000 wishlists would be a reasonable target. By setting realistic wishlist goals, you can align your marketing strategies and ensure the commercial success of your game.