Today we’ll discuss some handy tools you can use for market research.
The set of tools we’re about to describe here can help you come up with and validate your game concept, plan your game’s content roadmap, figure out your price/pricing model, set your optimal launch date, and reach the right group of players so that you can get the best out of your game’s launch.
Let’s check 6 Marketing Research Tools for Indie Game Developers.
Before that take a look at Indie Games. Indie games, short for independent games, are video games developed by individuals or small teams without the financial or logistical support of a larger game development company. The Indie game developer community is a thriving network of developers who share knowledge, resources, and support for each other.
Some notable indie games include “Minecraft,” “Undertale,” “Stardew Valley,” “Hollow Knight,” “Celeste,” and “Braid.”
The first tool on this list is GamingAnalytics.info. Gaming Analytics was mainly created to give stock exchange investors better insight into the gaming industry. Still, it is an excellent site for devs who want to keep tabs on their competitors and assist with their strategy. This site gathers important chart data (most reviewed, top selling, wishlist ranks, most followed, etc…) on games to help game developers spot trends, estimate audience sizes, determine launch windows, and more.
One of the most incredible things you can do with this tool is that, for Steam games, you can view historical data to see how a given title has ranked on the global top-selling games chart and the global top wishlist chart over time. Because it tracks discounts and review counts too. You can see how discounting has affected a title’s chart performance and # of reviews.
Outside of Steam, you can keep track of top-selling games on other charts, including GoG, Nintendo US/UK, Xbox, and more. Lists for PlayStation and Epic Games Store are currently in the works.
To access this tool, head to gaminganalytics.info directly on your web browser.
No add-ons, logins, or subscriptions are needed to access this site.
Next up is Steamspy,
A popular site that gathers Steam stats. It collects info using Steam User Profile data, analyzes it, and presents it in “a simple, yet beautiful, manner.”
Most devs probably know Steamspy from being one of the first platforms that provided estimated sales information for titles – but it’s so much more than that.
The site was created in 2015 by Sergey Galyonkin as a side project meant for game devs, journalists, students, and everyone interested in knowing stats about Steam games.
As one of the most significant contributors to the community, Sergey also writes a blog in Russian about the gaming industry, co-hosts the podcast “How Games Are Made,” and publishes the book “Marketing Videogames.”
Thanks to Steamspy, many devs have detected and quantified several game-changing trends in the video game industry. As a quick example, back in 2017, Steamspy uncovered that the top 100 games made approximately 50% of the total income on Steam.
With Steamspy, you can view individual titles or the charts where the games are categorized by Trending Games, Recently Released Games, Upcoming Games, and Top Games in the last two weeks by playtime.
When you browse for each game individually, you can access specialized data like estimates # of owners, followers, average and median playtime, concurrent players, and even Youtube stats. It can tell you how many videos of the title have been uploaded in the last day and how many interactions it has had on the platform. That’s just scratching the surface.
You can do even more complex things, like find out if specific titles share an overlap with an audience.
Steamspy is an excellent tool for indie developers that need help with trendspotting, understanding their genre and audience, and of course, understanding the competitive landscape. All the data the site offers makes it one of the best tools out there for scouting and planning your marketing strategies.
In 2018, Steam enabled an option that allowed users to hide their info and owned games. This almost made Steamspy disappear, but the site survived thanks to new and improved algorithms that estimate stats.
While the margins of error are higher than before, the data is still reasonable to use for market studies. You can support Steamspy on Patreon and access historical data offered by the site for more professional assessments of each game. You can check out Steamspy at steamspy.com.
The next entry on the list is steamDB.
Its tagline states it is “a database of everything on Steam .”It contains historical data archives of all a game’s changes throughout its lifespan, including app updates and price changes, and even regional pricing stats. You can even convert all the prices worldwide to the specific currency of your liking, allowing you to compare and assess pricing strategies with precision. As a fun aside, the site also features a Steam Calculator.
How much are all the games in your account worth when added together? Players can use the calculator to estimate their Steam account’s total value. SteamDB was created by data miner Pavel Djundik, A.K.A xPaw, to consolidate all data that may be legally available using the software “Steamkit” (which is available on GitHub under a GNU Lesser General Public License).
SteamDB directly links the store data of each game, including description, logos, screenshots, DLCS, achievements, community items, and more.
There’s a lot more than that to explore on the site.
You can find things like:
* Lists built from player counts – like Most Played Games, Trending Games, and Popular releases.
* Hot Releases: a list derived using the ratings of each game.
* A customizable list that lets you identify which games are currently selling at their lowest historical price.
Steam DB is an excellent tool for studying games similar to the ones you are concepting or developing. You’ll be able to estimate a range of how many players you can reasonably expect to have and what updates and DLC are standard in your genre, and it can also be used to help you price your title.
SteamDB is not currently receiving monetary donations, but they do have ways that you can support them. You can access SteamDB for free and without login in at steamdb.info.
Logging in using a Steam account will give you additional features related to your Steam game library and preferences.
The tool collects data from Steam and other third-party Steam sites and contextualizes it in a particular way.
Its primary purpose is to gather the best part of each of these other sources and present usable data.
Launched in 2020, GameDataCrunch was made by Lars A. Doucet, a former Valve contractor. GameDataCrunch is focused on facts, staying away from estimates made by algorithms. Here you can find customizable lists of New releases, Top Games, and Top Games by Category.
You can also view Steam games individually and find a wealth of data on each title.
Each game page provides information in 4 areas:
* Performance – which ranks the titles using its reviews, concurrent users, followers, top sellers rank, and more.
* Critical acclaim – which uses the title’s adjusted review score, Metacritic score, open critic score, and hidden gem score.
* Category rank – which shows where the game ranks for each tag * And Context – which includes helpful information about release status, pay scheme, pricing, discounts, and bundle participation.
At the bottom of each game page, you can find links to the data sources and dive even more deeply.
Recently Lars Doucet teamed up with xPaws from SteamDB to detect the game engine used across all the games on Steam.
You can access GameDataCrunch for free and without an account at gamedatacrunch.com.
TwitchTracker is a complete tool when it comes to Twitch-related data. It’s targeted at anyone wanting to understand what makes for great Twitch content, making it an excellent tool for streamers and devs. As a game dev, knowing where your title will fit with Twitch content creators and their audiences is essential.
Here are some 2021 stats:
* In 2021, 26.5 MILLION visitors came to Twitch daily
* 93 BILLION minutes were watched per month on average
* There were 2,117,000 average concurrent viewers
* There were 87,500 average concurrent live channels.
TwitchTracker lets you explore much Twitch-related analytics about any streamer or game, with historical records presented in numbers and graphs. If you’re looking for streamers, you can access a list of the streamers with the most viewers ranked by average concurrent viewers for the last 30 days.
If you’re wondering what games are popular, there’s a list of the most-watched games on Twitch with eight different ways of ranking. You can look at Twitch data for specific games for some competitive intel.
Find out where they rank globally, how many streamers, on average, stream a game per day, and how many average viewers a game gets per day.
TwitchTracker is the perfect tool for those who want to direct their efforts toward Twitch streamers – or, at the very least, those who are curious about their title’s viability on the platform. You can find out what streamers play similar games to yours. You can compare your genre’s popularity against others.
You can even find out how your competitors are performing regarding overall reach. If you learn what your audience likes to stream or watch and figure out a way to implement the same hooks into your game or content plan, you’ll have an opportunity to reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of potential players.
You can access TwitchTracker for free and without an account at twitchtracker.com
6. Steam Likes
Steam Likes is simple yet effective and has one job – it lets you know how many games recommend your game in their More Like This section on Steam.
The More Like This section is crucial for getting some organic visibility, so it’s fantastic that there is a dedicated tool out there. Steam Likes was created by Black Tower, a game publisher struggling to reach its core audience and wanted to dig deeper into why.
Not alone in these questions, they joined efforts with the developers of Sin Slayers and came up with Steam Likes. Steam Likes’ home page lists the games with the most “likes” on Steam.
As of this writing, the top-liked game on Steam is Eastward, with 22573 games recommending it on their More Like This section. You can also check out each play individually and see strictly which games recommend it. The secret behind Steam recommendations is that exactly, a secret held by Valve. But by knowing these rough numbers, devs can tweak their game’s store page settings and content to start connecting with the right audience.
The creators of Steam Likes’ advice for indie devs that want to be recommended by more games is to add more screenshots, tags, and an easy-to-understand short description.
Alby Abraham is an technology enthusiast, published blogger, and a content marketer who spends his time on building a career in the digital marketing industry. He also writes a blog on The Last Words for tech lovers.