Recent marketing strategy fears (mostly for PC releases like Cold Steel ports)

Discussion in 'I H8 XSEED' started by PasokonDeacon, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. PasokonDeacon

    PasokonDeacon Member

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    Hi guys! I hope the following paragraphs don't come across as needlessly harsh, but I'm growing concerned about how the company's been handling its Steam releases lately, at least in certain cases. This also revolves around social media presence which can keep current fans aware of upcoming releases, but would also help optics with anyone unfamiliar with XSEED's releases coming up.

    Recently some good and bad things have shown up during release cycles. What irks me is how "relying on the fans" only goes so far these days, even when a game looks great. I'll point to a couple of PC releases, Senran Kagura Estival Versus and Xanadu Next, as counter-examples. For the former, you had a preview stream, Twitter and Facebook reminders, and good hubbub around launch because of fans, but also because it's an attractive, fanservice-laden game which was going to stand out even in a crowded digital-download market. When Xanadu Next got the same treatment, but much less consistent (two trailers?) + no countdown or preview stream to make up for measly press coverage, it sold poorly, only a little better than Little King's Story which got negative word of mouth and hasn't turned around. Positive word of mouth only went so far, as seen with initially disappointing (public SteamSpy) numbers for Ys VI: Ark of Napishtim after a month.

    I understand that Estival Versus shows you've made a little improvement here so far, and Trails in the Sky 3rd definitely benefited from having a release countdown, preview stream, sneak peaks at achievement art...little things which added up and gave the release more presence. But so far you've only done half of this for Trails of Cold Steel coming to PC very soon. Making this launch as successful as possible, which involves aggressive but free and easy online signal-boosting, should be a priority. So far there's no unique trailer up on Steam, just the comparison video you used when announcing the port (which shows relatively little). And there's little done to highlight the game's low specs, which seem tailored to lower-end PCs and even handhelds and laptops.

    One key ingredient here is release date announcement timing. XSEED announcing release dates even a few months out is rare, and seems ultimately like an overreaction to the endless delays for Trails SC (despite no cursed localizations like that since...not even Corpse Party PC had so many problems). If there's other pressing reasons for this, please let me know. I personally wouldn't mind a delay for Cold Steel's PC port into August if QA's wrapping up and you have the chance to build up hype for this release. I also wonder if there's been trouble with you guys handling the Twitter and FB feeds for a while, since both Tom and Brittany have had to resign from manning those posts for understandable reasons. There's no reason why you couldn't remind followers about releases more often, not just with pinned tweets, as they're coming soon, and I'd rather you nag me about it than otherwise.

    Some more positive ideas for marketing include showing how easily PCs (or even a GPD Win!) can run XSEED's PC releases so far, or making a quick supercut of similar, cool-looking moments in games across your library both released and coming soon. Definitely consider showing footage and new screens of this port, too, since the release is nigh and Why not delay for a little bit in order to make a safer release date announcement? Some decisions lately are mind-puzzling, and I'm not afraid to ask other localization studios to look into games I'd otherwise suggest here (provided they can do a good/great job localizing them).

    And please consider writing Steam page descriptions to better fit (a) prospective audience(s) rather than fans who already know about and can research a game you released a year and a half ago. The page description for Trails of Cold Steel is lacking in appeal to new players or anyone who's just stumbled upon the page and has never heard of the series. Top bullet points should sum up what kind of game/series this is while playing up the positives, then list new features like added voice lines. I don't think you'd have to do this for all releases, but in cases like this it would help.

    I'm just really concerned that certain games are getting way less exposure than they deserve despite the amount of quality work you've put into them. And I hope you'll consider most of these suggestions and work on them proactively over the coming years, rather than fixing up for some games but not others. I won't claim to know what you've discussed in meetings about these topics, but I'm still worried and I know you all are more transparent than many localizers. To be selfish for a minute, I'd love to see Zwei II do much, much better than Xanadu Next for some karmic rebalance (it sold poorly in Japan for Falcom, one reason they left PC development), which is why I'm glad to see you pushed it at E3—still I don't see why other announced titles are falling to the wayside (from Cold Steel on PC to Exile's End which came out of nowhere).

    Please respond when appropriate (not that this counts as an interview or interrogation).
     
  2. Chaosblade77

    Chaosblade77 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much agreed on all counts.

    We're within a few weeks of the release of Cold Steel on PC, but we have no specific date other than "this month," no trailer (not even the PS3 one), and I haven't seen much of any buzz for the game. I don't know that the store page description is entirely catered to existing fans, but it definitely seems a bit slanted in that direction.
     
  3. IdiotByProfession

    IdiotByProfession New Member

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    I guess Tom had to resign because of the Akiba's Beat "KKK Whitches" thing, but what happened with Brittany?
     
  4. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Not by a long shot! I stepped down from Twitter back in 2014, long before Akiba's Beat even existed. It was actually Akiba's TRIP that contributed to that, as that was the era of the "trap" controversy (see the topic on the Akiba's Trip forum here called "The Controversy" for details). That's kind of what made me decide that Twitter and I aren't very well-suited to one another. I'm much, much too long-winded for 140 characters. ;)

    Also, to briefly address the OP: we are aware of the issues you've noted, and we have plans to address them (a lot of what's there right now is more or less just placeholder so that we could put the Steam page up in advance, and will most definitely be revised in the coming weeks). I can't say anything more right now, but I will say I really appreciate the detailed writeup, as it really does help put into perspective what a fine line marketing and PR can be, and how easy it is to make missteps in both.

    -Tom
     
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  5. soundersfan84

    soundersfan84 Member

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    If i can offer an opinion, it would help with marketing if new stuff was shown like a new never seen trailer or something rather than something that was already shown
     
  6. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh, we're well aware! We just haven't been able to make an all-PC-footage trailer to share just yet due to some technical hiccups on our end, so like I said: placeholder. You can't make a Steam page for a game public without a trailer, so we threw our previous PS3/PC comparison video up as temporary filler until the first full trailer is ready to go. It's not the best trailer for showing off the game to prospective audiences, but it still does show off the game, and should be fine in the interim until we're ready to fill out that page more thoroughly.

    Basically, we just figured it was better to have the Steam page go live sooner rather than later, even if it's not quite "complete" yet.

    -Tom
     
  7. PasokonDeacon

    PasokonDeacon Member

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    The more I think about it, I just wish you guys would bring a social media specialist aboard. Even Natsume USA has one! And they really aren't doing as well as XSEED at the moment. Why not welcome aboard someone who can get the word out about all these upcoming releases? There's no shortage of the kind of people and talent you'd want for that position, not in SoCal anyway. I appreciate what Brittany, Tom, and others who have managed the company Twitter/Facebook have done over the years, but it's starting to feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew. Social media's your basic marketing medium, not these forums (much as I like them), and I still remember the lack of word-of-mouth for Xanadu Next to compensate for XSEED announcing that game and not riding the hype for even a whole week. Most of what I mentioned in the OP could and should be addressed by a social media manager, not one of the editors who has other things to worry about (and hasn't Brittany been sick lately?).

    Just gotta say, 4 PC releases in this short a remaining summer? I think you'll need to market them both individually and as a separate "SUMMER!" slate, at least on Twitter/FB to get the word out. There's been a lot to process and remind friends about recently, and fans can only do so much.
     
  8. Moxx

    Moxx Member

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    I figured I'd add my 2 cents to this by quoting my post from one of the Trails threads.

    How there isn't a basic trailer already cut and up on the Steam page, I have no clue. Something simple, setting up the story as a "what happens next?" hook to draw people in, a basic overview of features like combat, fishing, field studies, Blade minigame, fully realised world with highly detailed world building, bonding/anime dating, maybe a second separate "PC features trailer" that quickly shows the stuff in Durante's blogs ect ect. This is the first chance to introduce modern Trails and Falcom to the PC audience and I can't help but feel as if it is being horribly squandered which imo, would be the death knell of our chances for any future localisations of this series on PC.
     
  9. Theswweet

    Theswweet Active Member

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    Still no CS PC trailer? The game is out in under 2 days...
     
  10. Chaosblade77

    Chaosblade77 Well-Known Member

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    As long as it's up before launch it probably won't make much difference at this point. They already missed the first big opportunity for a trailer by not having a proper one when the store page went up.
     
  11. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    You cannot pre-purchase it anyway.
    (Don't pre-purchase digital goods, it's a poor practice).
     
  12. Tetsucabra

    Tetsucabra Member

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    Even if you can't pre-purchase there is still a lot to be gained from building up hype.

    I know I'd like to see XSeed do a better job with marketing their games, though I don't have a concrete idea of what that would look like right now.
     
  13. Eviane

    Eviane New Member

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    I'm going to be really upset if the Cold Steel 2 PC release ends up being as dry as the CS1 release was. No trailer until an hour before launch? Seriously? Not trying to derail the topic, but damn. It's like they don't care if word gets out there about the games. Relying on word of mouth only goes so far.
     
  14. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    It's rather pointless advertising Cold Steel II by itself outside of saying it's available for those who have the first game already, however.
     
  15. KlausRealta

    KlausRealta Well-Known Member

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    But wouldn't advertising progress on the CS2 port help sales of CS1 as well?
     
  16. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    Probably not that much, though that's why specifically dedicated stuff to the sequel won't likely have much an impact, maybe has to be more widespread.
    Advertising that both parts of the story are available and whatnot maybe? Not my area, honestly, they're niche things!
    Lots of people ain't got time for 140 hours of game.
     
  17. LFVoid

    LFVoid New Member

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    While the conversation going on here right now is pretty interesting, I have to say I'm worried for a different game right now. That being Zwei 2.
    So I saw the post yesterday on twitter, treasure hunter vampire bar blah blah blah, and while it was nice seeing it being talked about at all in the first place it also came as a surprise to me simply because I personally haven't heard anything of it since the blog post by Nick. And that doesn't exactly tell me anything good. So if I may ask, will we be seeing more Zwei related things in the days to come and for the game to get more exposure? Or is this going to turn out like, as Eviane above me stated, Cold Steel 1?
     
  18. PasokonDeacon

    PasokonDeacon Member

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    Watching how things have gone since I posted this has been interesting.

    Ys Seven, for example, had more of a push than I expected, and the release countdown was a great idea. Sadly I just can't agree with its pricing despite the port effort (let's hope XSEED discounts Seven soon and frequently), but it wasn't going to launch super high anyway. And releasing the game after VIII would have been just as risky in different ways vs. nearly two weeks prior. Then you have Cold Steel simply not getting the push it deserved...y'all could have shouted "Durante's handling the PC port!" from the heavens, every day, and that would have helped the launch. Fate/Extella did better mainly because Fate fans are a strong captured audience, but that still got a distinct marketing push from XSEED and Marvelous Europe which registered more on Twitter (if not Facebook).

    Please give us more info about Zwei: Ilvard Insurrection soon. A release date's most important if we're to get the word out about this game sooner than later, and it's one of the last big releases this year. One major observation I've made, too: XSEED doesn't consistently update their feeds on weekends. Just because you're out of the office doesn't mean you can't schedule Twitter/FB posts to go up on Saturday or Sunday, and that's when a lot of followers have more time to look at their timelines if they aren't watching XSEED like a hawk for some reason.
     
  19. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Don't worry, we plan to push Zwei like nobody's business -- it just wasn't quite ready to be pushed until recently. But from here until release, you'll be seeing a LOT more about it!

    Regarding Ys Seven's price, that was something that had to be done. A "necessary evil" of the business world, if you will. We can only hope others agree that the port was worth it!

    Regarding Cold Steel, I agree we could've pushed it more before release, but I don't think constantly calling out Durante's attachment to the project would've been the best way to go about doing so. For one thing, Durante himself might not have appreciated that! ;) Regardless, Cold Steel PC seems to be doing quite well thus far, thankfully, but I do feel like we've learned a few things we can employ to make the launch of Cold Steel 2 even better.

    And regarding updates on weekends, you may have noticed the return of a familiar face on Twitter recently -- and with it, a LOT more in the way of weekend posting. So we're definitely working on that!

    -Tom
     
  20. NesterTheLark

    NesterTheLark Member

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    I'm hoping to see Zwei II get a bigger push, also, because I like seeing these older Falcom PC games get localized. But if they end up DOA due to lack of marketing, then we're unlikely to see any more, so what's the point.

    Also, just want to say that I'm totally cool with the price of Ys Seven PC. Especially if those extra few dollars help it be profitable enough to ensure that a Memories of Celceta PC port is in the pipeline. ;)
     

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