In October 2019, I decided that I’d need a category for first impressions, upcoming games, Kickstarter campaigns, interviews and other sorts of “gaming news”. I created the so-called “Lookout Post” on Indiecator, for whatever reason naming it that way but it has been stuck like that with me and it would feel weird to have it named otherwise. Two years later, I haven’t really done any of that, apart from some interviews and a bunch of posts with first impressions and today I wanted to talk about the why what and why not of The Lookout Post and what I wanna change about that in the near future, possibly.
So, why do I feel like there’s a need to cover games on this blog that aren’t necessarily finished? Well, I think that it’s important to give devs a chance to promote their games even when it’s not finished yet. Frankly, these days, wishlists are the only metric that matters. If people aren’t excited about your game, Steam won’t push your game via discovery queues, the front page, the newsletter, etc. You basically won’t have success unless, of course, you’ve been successful before your game even came out. Hence, you’ll need to release a demo that people will play, take down the demo so that people can’t play it anymore – meaning they need to wishlist the game – and then you eventually release the game and get people all hot and bothered about it. There are statistics that apparently say a lot about why you shouldn’t leave the demo up all year and why that harms metrics such as “wishlist” and “follows” but at the same time, it’s a bit unreliable given that every game is different. Either way, by writing about these demos and by accepting press builds and early alpha versions, I get to promote Indie Gems that aren’t released yet so that you can wishlist them.
Hence, I find it important to have a category for that, with Indietail being about reviews and The Gaming Journal being about stuff like playthroughs. Anyway, the reason why I’m writing this post is that I had to reject a coverage request the other day because the developers wanted to promote their Kickstarter campaign but they didn’t have a demo for me to check out. Their game, however, seems quite promising and I kinda wanna support that. But I don’t want to recommend something without having played it myself and I don’t want to be at fault for it if someone backs something and it ends up not getting funded at all… or whatever. I’m not exactly sure what happens if your project doesn’t get funded or if you just take the money… I’ll have to inform myself about that but in reality, I’m still waiting for Witchmarsh and despite originally planning to write about this game that I backed so long ago, I’ve never had the chance to. The same goes for some Early Access titles I backed ages ago (looking at you, Goblins of Elderstone…) that haven’t really seen that many updates in a while… but I may write them about them soon-ish once more is out?
So, essentially, I didn’t want to write about games that I haven’t tried out myself but that kind of feels narrow-minded and I’m anything but that, so I wanted to make a change happen over here at Indiecator. Starting now, I may or may not also write about Kickstarter campaigns and upcoming releases that I didn’t play… but I’ll put a big disclaimer at the top, stating that I haven’t played it and that I’m not recommending it (yet!/unless stated explicitly!). I feel like that could be a change for the better for the blog and I’d be interested in writing about some upcoming titles, although I’ll have to get back to some e-mails from quite some time and ask for some screenshots or something to make it work. We’ll see!
This change isn’t final though. I’m not 100% sure about this and would appreciate some feedback or input on it. I’ve had it in the past where some developers would reach out, hoping for me to promote their unfinished and empty Kickstarter page just like that. I told them that there’s nothing there to look at. They later added some screenshots to a project that looked very different from what they described, which was weird. Another one gave me a key to their press build but it just didn’t work… and another instance, I explained how I can’t just promote some screenshots and that I’d need some sort of proof of concept.
But there are all sorts of Kickstarters out there from games that are in the making and getting promoted like that with sketch art, behind the scenes looks at the rigging process, etc. – and with others just showcasing a trailer that looks a bit rough around the edges. It’s sometimes hard to know which game will eventually come out and which won’t, so I’m not yet all that sure, I’ll write about just anything and everything.
Either way, I hope that you like this change. What do you think about it? I much prefer to write about anything I can try out for myself, even if it’s very early in the proof of concept/alpha phase but if I just do an announcement of sorts about a campaign or a few every once in a while without any sort of endorsement, just to inform, that should be alright, I think. Right?