So an interesting thing happened last weekend. I’d gotten my hands on Ben Esposito‘s Donut County, acquired off the strength of a bunch of people talking and sharing screenshots about it. Earmarked as a review game, I figured I’d play it a little to close out my Sunday night, and then plan how much I’d have to play more to get a good enough idea of it and where that would fit in my schedule. You know, the usual stuff.
And then I blinked and it was two hours later and I had completed the whole game. Even got a few of the secret achievements to boot.
I’ve thought about doing a full Donut County review, since obviously I liked it enough to play the whole dang thing in a single sitting. There’s just… not that much to talk about? A full analytic deep-dive would pretty much turn into me describing the whole game blow-by-blow, and I don’t want to inflict that on anyone. Least of all you.
I still want to give Donut County the added publicity it deserves, though. And if that’s not what the Indie Shortieland formula was ad-hoc-created for, I don’t know what is.
Okay, so maybe, new isn’t exactly the right term given that the last daily video went out two months ago today.
Since then, as I mentioned back in April, I have stuck to a much lighter release schedule. Each week I release a tip video and a stream archive. The idea behind this lighter schedule was to cut out the content almost no one was watching (i.e. the Let’s Plays I started the channel to do), and consolidate them into a single video once a week. The hope was that reducing the amount of content that people didn’t care about more people would be tempted to hit that subscribe button and then stay subscribed.
How has it worked out?The first third of this graph is the last month of daily videos, the last two thirds are under the new format. What I see in this graph is an initial drop in viewership as my audience adapts to the changes, but not much of a drop because after all, not many people were actually watching the Let’s Plays as they were drawing to their close. More recently there are some peaks, but they are relatively isolated, which means they are probably from external sources, rather than something sustainable.
But what about subscribers? The view count might be mixed, but are subscribers hanging around longer?This is not exactly what I was hoping for, again we see a drop off shortly after the change from daily to less frequent videos, but on the other hand I have seen a burst of subscribers recently. Linked fairly closely to one of the peaks on the watch time graph above. I seem to be getting fewer subs that drop within a day, but I am not sure if that is simply a change in how subscribers are reported to me.
In conclusion, outlook hazy try again later. Changing the release schedule hasn’t provided any sort of clear signalling, it was neither an immediate success or an immediate failure. As things stand I will continue my current approach and reevaluate towards the end of the year.
I got into Zachtronics‘s latest release, EXAPUNKS, the same way I get into all Zachtronics games: Learning about it way after everyone else by seeing emails or Twitter messages about release dates and special editions, buying one of those special editions on the promise of cool manuals and physical goodies, and then promising myself that maybe this time I’ll actually see one of them through to conclusion. Poor return on investment for the third bit so far, but maybe this time! It could happen.
Now, last time I reviewed a Zachtronics game (Opus Magnum, which I reviewed here), the review turned into a sort of distributed reference block about which other Zachtronics games that one pulled from most and least. Which is fine, in a sense, they are all similar. But I realized after the fact that a review like that won’t be very valuable for someone who’s not already way into Zachtronics games: Saying ‘just read these review and play these games if you want to understand this one’ isn’t exactly accessible. So for EXAPUNKS, I’m going back to the normal ‘full’ treatment: Early-game impressions, options menus, the works. If you’ve got no idea what this game is like or what the deal is with this publisher, I should hopefully have you covered.
And if you are already a Zachtronics expert, no worries! I’m sure my subconscious will sneak in more than enough references to other games anyway.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium to high, depending on how well you read the screenshots.)
I am having real trouble keeping ahead on my tip videos, I have clear plans, but I am starting to spend my time increasingly on other games, meaning I have to specifically go back and replay sections of Into the Breach to gather footage. I am often up late on a monday night trying to put together the video for Tuesday. This is not a sustainable situation, I either need to get ahead or change game.
Ranneko Plays reached 200 subscribers this week, in the past month I have gained more than a dozen subscribers. That is about a quarter of all my subscriber growth in the past year. Looking into the YouTube analytics, most of them have subscribed while watching a tip video. It seems that the time investment on those videos is really paying off!
Real life is interfering somewhat with my streaming schedule at the moment. This week’s stream was delayed until Thursday because the rest of my things from Australia arrived, so I was busy moving boxes and assembling a bed. Next week’s stream clashes with a meeting. Unfortunately I am then travelling from Wednesday through Monday, so there won’t be an opportunity for a make up stream.
I succumbed to temptation this week, rather than playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong as initially planned. I decided to play the literally just released BattleTech, after all I am working this weekend so I figured I could try to finish up Shadowrun: Hong Kong in a bonus stream on Thursday or Friday.
It turns out I wasn’t quite as close as I thought I was as it took 2 bonus streams to finish it out. Next week I will be streaming on Thursday rather than Tuesday, because the 1st of May is a public holiday here in Sweden and I have other plans.
I have finally finished up Pillars of Eternity, but that does not mean that the Let’s Play will wrap up any time soon. I recorded about 12 hours of footage last weekend in the process of finishing it and the videos going up this week are from an even earlier session. In an effort to speed things up somewhat I have decided to put it up three times a week. That means daily content for my channel for a while yet.
This week I picked up and then abruptly lost 2 subscribers. In addition my Hint to the Breach videos are getting disliked but no one doing so comments. At times like these I really wish there was a way to ask why.
YouTube already does this for things it cares about. When you click not interested on a recommended video, you are given the immediate opportunity to Undo or Tell Us Why. If only they did that for other metrics. As always raw numbers can tell you what is happening, but why is a harder question.