Is asking streamers play your game the only way to get some feedback?

rpgLord69

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Just wondering...

The not-finished version of my game got ~70 downloads in 6 weeks (Itch.Io and MF link combined), which is more than I expected. But I only got like 1 comment, when I asked. Plus 1 (to my knowledge) small streamer played it, but their stream crashed after 30 mins of actual play.

I kind of thought that - considering the platforms - at least 10% of players would leave some kind of feedback, but that's obviously not the case. It just feels somehow lame having to ask streamers for feedback or do some review-for-review deals.
 

TheAM-Dol

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Once we can put behind the shame of feeling like self-promoting is a bad thing, I think the world would be a much better place (for artists, that is). It's not "lame" to contact a streamer, it's just marketing. What do you think all those mobile games do? They reach out to the streamers.

However, I wouldn't expect a high turn around on that either. In general, giving feedback is difficult for a lot of different reasons:
They might not know what to say. Perhaps they like it, but they don't know why. Perhaps they hate it, but they don't know why. Either way, if they don't know what to say they aren't going to say anything.
They might not have the time. Even if it takes 1 minute to write something, that's 1 minute where they are not doing something else.
They might not know you want feedback. It's not the first thing people think about when they download a game. Usually when they download a game they are more interested in just playing it without considering ways to improve the game. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to encourage users to do something (in this case, give feedback), which we call a "call to action". This is a common practice you'll see influences use often where they ask users to subscribe, like, and comment. Does it get repetitive hearing it often? Of course, but they reason they do it is because it works. If your game is a demo, consider adding something at the start and end of the demo politely requesting users to leave feedback.
Similar to the first point, and something I briefly mentioned in the previous point: users may not want to take notes or think about what could be improved when playing. Playing a game to look for improvement is a lot different than just sitting back and enjoying the experience, and maybe some people are not interested in doing that.

The main thing I would say is: don't be afraid to put yourself out there. There does seem to be a strange internet rule about not self-promoting, but the reality is: if you can't promote yourself, how will people know about you? But at the same time, don't expect a high turn around on feedback.

For some perspective:
My last album I released, I spent 2 months using multiple sock-puppet accounts on reddit, personally emailing musicians, music reviewers, and any influencer with even a passing relationship with music in their content, plus forums, music blogs, and countless other outlets. It was probably the hardest part of the release. At the end of the day, I still only made about 30% more sales over my previous album's release, and to be clear: I'm not a big name, so 30% for me is....not a lot.
My own business I run I often hand mail flyers to people's mailboxes (yep, snail mail spam). The percentages vary depending on the time of year, but I'd say out of 1000 flyers, I get 2 - 3 responses. That's a 0.2% response rate.
Don't expect high turn around from people, but keep trying your best :LZSsmile:
 

myenemy

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In my humble experience, it's somewhere inbetween 1/100 and 1/1000 I consider you to be lucky with 2/70.

Most of people won't leave comments or feedback for multiple reasons, often a mix of these:
- So they do not cause a flame war
- In order to not be complained at
- So they will not be inquired anymore about ther opinion
- Because they are lazy
- Because they forgot
- Because they want to keep their mind to themselves
- Because they are shy about their opinion

The only way to get a bit more of feedback, is to ask or require of it (the later will cause many upset minds).
- Saving the user and mailing them one month after they downloaded the survey
- Having the game say "please, give us feedback"
- Having the game conducting the survey
- Making the uninstall send user's browser to the survey...

The last two seem to be favorites for the end player.
How to make the opinion required? Lock part of the game until they get some code received from the survey.
Also, if you have paid products at all, and you just want to encourage the opinion rather than force it, you can give in the survey one time discounts on these paid products. This is almost the same as the "unlocking" thing, being some kind of "free dlc"-esque reward.
 

SGHarlekin

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Why would it be lame? You receive not because you ask not. Going around asking streamers is probably the best thing I did aside from twitter. That being said, I can stream your game if you can handle harsh criticism.

Actually, if It's that yeast game, nevermind. Not into these kinda joke games.
 

Tai_MT

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Here's the couple problems you'll run into:

1. Streamers are playing to ENTERTAIN THEIR AUDIENCE. Their "feedback" isn't likely to be all that useful. Streamers will effectively gloss over your story, miss crucial gameplay mechanics, among other things. So, unless your game is "deep" (like Dead By Daylight), the streamers aren't going to focus all that much on the "gameplay" and are going to focus more on "entertaining an audience". Basically, their goals don't REALLY align with yours most of the time.

2. Most people don't leave feedback on games, good or bad. Look at the amount of players on any given game on Steam and then look at the amount of "total reviews" for those games. You'd be lucky to break 5% of players most of the time. Sure, you might see, "holy crap, 100,000 reviews!" and then you look at the "total player count" of the game and it's something like 3 million players.

With that said, here's where you should PROBABLY be focusing your efforts if you're looking for feedback:

1. People who actually review games. Not stream them, review them. This can be whatever format you prefer. YouTube format, I find, is most useful as many of those people will provide footage of what they're talking about so you've got something to work with in terms of criticism other than a vague "this is what happened". The downside to this, is that most of these people are usually only willing to "review" your game if they can get "content" out of it. There are, potentially, some willing to do some "paid" work for an "off the channel" review of your work, but that might be a little sketchy. It doesn't hurt to ask them, but try not to be pushy.

2. People who offer services to review a game. There are a few on this website. You might see them advertise from time to time. I couldn't tell you who they are off-hand, but they're out there.

3. Friends and family. I, personally, love this method. However, I do it differently. I don't ask my friends and family, "did you like the game?". What I typically do is set up recording software while they play (or ask them to just record their playthrough) and then watch the video. Are the players doing what I want them to do? How willing are they to engage in mechanics? Does their player behavior change from rushing to do something to sluggishly engaging with it? Vice versa? Then, I don't ask, "what did you like?". I don't care what they liked. I ask, "What questions do you have?" as well as, "What didn't you like doing in the game?". Oh, it also helps that I don't tell them that it's my game either. I say, "I've been following the production of this game for a while, I think it's okay, what do you think?"

---

That's really all I got. I basically engage in 3 most of the time, for test playing purposes. But, I plan to go into probably 2 once I get a working demo.

Plus, I'm also hoping that on this website, that my reputation will get some people who just want to try my game to either see if I've pulled off the stuff I have... or just to drop negative reviews because they don't like me. Useful interaction either way :D
 

rpgLord69

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Good points everyone, thanks for the thoughts!

@HarlekinLehl It's lame because I'm not interested in marketing at all. It's a lot more fun to just browse the internet on your phone, feel like visiting rpg maker forums or itch and notice that you got some random comment and lol at it. PS. It's not that game, it's the other one. And yeah, I can handle harsh criticism, but it's not exactly something I was looking for.
 

Heirukichi

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If your game is a demo, consider adding something at the start and end of the demo politely requesting users to leave feedback.
I do not know if what I am going to write only applies to me, but, if you do this, make sure not to add such request too early. Many games use that kind of approach and I consider it utterly pointless.

If players give feedback too early in the game, their feedback is only valid for a very limited part of it, so it is going to be neither deep nor useful. If they wait for the end of the game, the "reminder effect" vanishes and they might forget about it anyway.

What I recommend is to ask for feedback after players experienced your game for some time (a few hours), or at least enough to check your dynamics and overall game design. Even so, there might be things that they forget. If you want a comprehensive review, I recommend asking somebody who can actually play the whole thing and give you proper feedback, possibly somebody who is aware of how games and UX work.
 

alice_gristle

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Hi sweetie!:kaoluv: I do game reviews, but my queue is a bit long right now 'cuz UNHOLY BACKLOG, aaaaaand... I dunno if my review style is to your liking? :kaoswt: I can do a less jokey, more feedbackey type of thing if you want tho! Like I don't wanna brag but I WUZ TRAINED IN FEEDBACK and lethal unarmed combat methods! :kaopride:
 

rpgLord69

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@alice_gristle

Ok, why not, I'll go place myself in the queue in your review thread. There's no pretty demon boys or sweaty muscular knights or whatever in my game though :D And you can write any type of review you like.
 

alice_gristle

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME YOUR GAME IS CALLED "FOREST OF LESBIANS" :wub :biggrin: I'm into any game that promises sex, naked bodies, and risque situations! :kaoluv:
 

SGHarlekin

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Good points everyone, thanks for the thoughts!

@HarlekinLehl It's lame because I'm not interested in marketing at all. It's a lot more fun to just browse the internet on your phone, feel like visiting rpg maker forums or itch and notice that you got some random comment and lol at it. PS. It's not that game, it's the other one. And yeah, I can handle harsh criticism, but it's not exactly something I was looking for.
Well. Unless you market your game, not much will ever happen. There's over 6k rpg maker games on itch. What are the chances of your game being picked up, let alone being reviewed, even less so whne it's just for the lols?
 

rpgLord69

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@HarlekinLehl

I didn't have a problem with my game not being picked up. I already said that I got more downloads than I expected (particularly considering the game isn't completely finished). I was just expecting that there would be more (any kind of) feedback. I wasn't expecting everyone to write some kind of review either.

And I never said my game was just for the lols. I said it would be funny to lol at some random feedback comments that you'd receive spontaneously from people who downloaded and played your game.

For me a part of this indie game hobby is sometimes playing someone's game and giving some kind of feedback (even though they are mostly just random thoughts and fixes, since I suck at coming up with things to say :D ). I don't think of it as spending my valuable time or doing some great deed by making some kind of comment on someone's game.
 

nbgamemaker

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Typically yeah or a reviewer, but a lot of it boils down to luck.
 

TheAM-Dol

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if you do this, make sure not to add such request too early
Come to think of it, you may be on to something, as you'll find many mobile apps (game or otherwise) often request feedback only after the app has been used for a certain amount of time. However, imo, I find this really intrusive. It works for apps like browsers, music apps, things I would just call "general software" because in general software there isn't really a known "exit point" (the point at which the user is going to exist the application). In games, however, we know for sure where the start and end of the game is, we also know with some uncertainty the user may be quitting when they save the game. The reason I chose the beginning is not to beg the users to go write a review immediately. It's all about the language used. Obviously don't ask the user to go write a review right now.
Instead a gentle reminder like this: "This game is currently in development and we are seeking feedback. It would help us out greatly if you left some feedback when you are finished playing." (It also might help to direct them towards what you want feedback on, so you can adjust the last sentence like so: "...if you left some feedback about our story and game mechanics when you are finished playing")
I would put it at the start because you are encouraging them to make some mental notes about what they like and what they don't like throughout the whole experience. Then, put it at the end again to remind them in case they forgot. But I really wouldn't do it more than twice, because it can feel intrusive - like a pop-up add. To me, start and end makes sense, but if you do it in the middle (like when they save the game), then I would either remove asking them at the start of the game, or remove asking them at the end of the game. 2 times, never more.
 

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