In June 2021, Steam embarked on a bold experiment – The Steam Next Fest, an event in which over 700 brand-new games made playable demos available to gamers for free. From the post-apocalyptic adventure Sable to low-poly horror in Chasing Static, indie games were front and centre throughout the event. Now, with registration for the next iteration of the festival open, Steam have revealed exactly how successful it all was.
To cut a long story short, the Steam Next Fest was massively successful. We had an idea of how well it all went – the indie RTS Eden Falling revealed its demo had been downloaded over 4000 times – but now we’ve got hard numbers to back it all up. On the Steam community website, the Steamworks Development team revealed how the demos had affected interest in the featured games: “Among 2020 Next Fest participants, the median game saw daily wishlist additions jump 421% during the fest, compared to the two weeks leading up to the event. Wishlisting rates were higher than 421% for half of participating games, while 45% saw a smaller increase, and 5% experienced a decrease in their rate of wishlist additions.”
However, an increase in wishlisting doesn’t mean all that much if it’s not accompanied by an increase in sales. Luckily, an increase in sales is exactly what happened – “To study Next Fest’s impact on sales, we tracked whether Next Fest wishlist additions were converting to sales among the games that have been released since participating in the fest. The median released game saw an increase of 292% in “converting wishlists” made during Next Fest compared to converting wishlist additions made in the two weeks leading to Next Fest.”
The next Steam Next Fest event is scheduled for October 1st until October 7th. Registration for the event is open right now, but the closing date of August 15th is fast approaching!