Teslagrad is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle-platformer that hit PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation Vita, and Wii from late 2014 through 2015. Now, a few years after its release (and the release of its newest game World to the West) developer Rain Games has revealed that the game was most profitable on Wii U despite it having substantially a smaller install base compared to say the PS4 or PC.
For those that don’t know: the Wii U has sold roughly 14 million to date, an abysmal performance — especially coming off the Wii, which cleared 100 million. That being said, in an interview with Gamasutra, Rain Games CEO Peter Wingaard Meldahl said that the lack of games — especially the lack of indie games — on the Wii U meant that Teslagrad “actually got good visibility on the platform,” something impossible to come by these days on many other platforms.
Meldahl specifically refers to the whole situation on the Wii U as the “double-split,” where two games at a time would have ample visibility at the top section of the online store. According to the CEO, Teslagrad was one of two games at the top of the store for two weeks, and received equivalent space to Hyrule Warriors, one of that year’s more high profile Wii U games. As Meldahl notes, this wasn’t the case on any platform.
“It’s more important to be visible than to have the biggest target audience on the platform. The amount of people that are on Steam, for example, is enormous. Nobody complains about that; they just complain that you can’t get any visibility on Steam.”
“The fact that there are fewer customers on a consoles, and therefore fewer potential customers, doesn’t really matter as long as you can reach the customers that are there.”
For years I’ve said that Steam has become a really tough place to gain spotlight — especially for indies. There are sweet looking indie releases every week that get completely get glossed over by the public, merely because there were two dozen other releases just that day drowning it. The PS4 and Xbox One marketplaces have also been slowly succumbing to the same pitfall. There are simply too many games on these marketplaces, which isn’t a problem for your big AAA releases, but it does bury many indies, leaving them as mere hidden gems.