So in the last week, I have done a bunch of interviews, the GX Australia expo in Sydney, gone to the MCV Pacific WIG lunch being recognised as one of the leading professionals in my industry and done a million interviews, media grabs, presented in a microtalk session. Oh, and drank a lot while doing the after hours stuff. Oh yeah, and talked on a podcast.
So GX Australia or Gaymer X from its US-parent was a small not-for-profit con of about 1000 or so people in Sydney and it happily coincided with the release of Symphony of the Machine
, and it was media-dense so it made good commercial sense to go there. It was the usual flurry of media, exhibiting, logistics, etc. but it was good to be at such a friendly event and everyone who was there was super happy to be there. It is really important to me to give back to the community that supports us and it was a great chance to see friends from around the country that I normally only get the chance to once or twice a year when we all converge on Melbourne or when I duck into the Arcade in Melbourne.
The whole point of an LGBTIQA/inclusivity-themed gaming convention is that despite recent efforts from organisations like PAX AUS with their diversity lounge and other initiatives, some people still do not feel safe at cons and justifiably so. It's not like the doors get shut to the straight crowd, either. There were certainly enough gamers and hobbyists coming through with their families and we will be featured on Good Game: Spawn Point sometime in the next few weeks too.
We launched on the 25th. So it was a fairly rough time, having to co-ordinate across different regions, plus Steam and Oculus (which turned out to be a nightmare). We were waiting for the US PlayStation store release to pop up which eventually came online at effectively around 11pm our time and went live on the European, Asian and Japanese stores over the next few days (Australia is attached to the European region because reasons). Releasing was stressful and a lot
of work which is accompanied by a sense of relief and also a sense of anticipation as you wait to see your sales figures come through. We have done an absolute tonne of community and PR work as well so it should all do what it it's meant to, but release always has a sense of nagging doubt for me if the game doesn't do well etc.
Launching on VR is a risky strategy as the market is still small, but PSVR users seem pretty hungry for content so we will hope for the best once our first-round figures arrive in the next few days.
On Reviews: I have a love/hate relationship with reviews. I mean, I am always happy to see good reviews as these help promote your game, particularly from a major site, but you don't learn anything out of them. One of the stumbling blocks we found was that due to Sony's Day One Patch system, a lot of the reviewers were actually reviewing an old build of the game (the QA Master) which didn't have all the content in it and that let us down. Other issues seem awfully rooted around the hardware- given we have optimised as much as we can for PSVR, its the systems own limitations that seem to frustrate some people but we cop the fallout. My other bugbear is that games reviewers don't really need any qualifications or experience to just jump on and start reviewing titles and if I am honest, a lot of the review seems to be about them trying to be clever and funny than the content they're reviewing. A review that is genuinely critical of your content is a useful thing for what you are trying to achieve and maybe include next time.
That being said, we have seen a whole heap of good reviews. I've seen reviews from 4/10 to 9.5/10 so that's nice and consistent.
Much larger games than ours go through similar.
So now we are in caretaker mode while we watch our sales, are pushing for the finance to come through and start the pre-production of the next project.