Nintendo 3DS eShop title SteamWorld Dig has certainly been a success for Swedish developer Image & Form. Released in early August, it shot right to the top in the European and Australian eShop, while it has been riding high in the North American store as well.
Its success is even more impressive when you look at the marketing campaign behind it. In essence, the developer relied largely on word of mouth, with gamers feverishly discussing the game on social media and posting let's play videos on YouTube.
In an interview with Polygon, Image & Form co-founder Brjann Sigurgeirsson said it wasn't intentional, the studio was just too busy developing the actual game to spend many of the precious resources on promotion:
It was frustrating that we never really had very much time to create PR stuff such as gameplay trailers, exquisite screenshots, mockups and what have you. We're a pretty small studio, and everyone had their nose buried in development.
Sigurgeirsson said he was dismayed at the fact little promotional work was done upon completion of SteamWorld Dig, but once the very first trailer was released the day before its launch on the European and Australian eShop people started to take notice of this fun looking mining title, set in what looked to be a robotic steampunk environment.
It featured on Nintendo Direct and great reviews started rolling in - including an 8/10 from ourselves - making it even more noticeable. People continued to talk about it on social media, with Twitter in particular, and all of a sudden this download game nobody had every heard of became a worldwide hit.
One factor Sigurgeirsson attributed to the success in the eShop is the platform itself. SteamWorld Dig is also available on iOS but with the large amount of competition it can become "close to impossible to be heard", while the featuring process is "somewhat of a lottery".
In an interview with us earlier this year before the game was launched, Sigurgeirsson spoke about how the eShop is a marked improvement over the previous DSiWare store - where it released SteamWorld: Tower Defence - and said it certainly has its advantages over the App Store:
The eShop is a mature marketplace, with good opportunities to showcase your games and set the price points dynamically. Also, you can show a video clip directly in the store, which you can't on the App Store - a great feature. It gives the audience a better chance to understand a game before buying it.
Indeed, Image & Form told us SteamWorld Dig was developed with the 3DS in mind as the D-pad was crucial to the game's mechanics.
The developer is now highly regarded and it's likely its next project, whatever it may be, will be met with high levels of anticipation.
What are your thoughts on SteamWorld Dig? Do you think it deserves to have been so successful? Let us know your thoughts on it in the comment section below.