Indie platformer Neko Ghost, Jump! generated over 17 thousand vishlist before the release. However, the launch turned out to be a complete failure — only 100 copies were sold on the first day. Developer Victor Burgos tried to figure out the reasons for the failure, and industry colleagues joined the discussion.

A few days ago, Burgos told about the launch of the Neko Ghost platformer, Jump! from his studio Burgos Games. On Reddit, the post collected 800 upvotes and caused a lot of discussion among users.


  • The idea of Neko Ghost, Jump! born during a game jam in May 2019. Initially, two more people helped Burgos, and later the studio staff grew to nine developers.
  • In 2020, the team successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign. Instead of the requested $ 15 thousand, we managed to collect a little more than $ 20 thousand.
  • Last year Burgos Games received a grant from Epic Games as part of the Epic MegaGrants program. The developer does not name the exact amount, but the amount of subsidies can vary from $ 5 thousand to $ 500 thousand.
  • Over the past two years, the team has participated in several dozen exhibitions, including PAX, Indie World Con, Gamescom and Steam festivals. In particular, Neko Ghost, Jump! Won the prize for “The Best Indie Game Trailer according to fans” at E3 2021.
  • Thanks to the great activity at the time of release in early access, over 17 thousand Steam users added the game to their wish lists. This is a good indicator for a small indie team.

What happened on the release?

  • The launch of the game in early access took place on Steam on January 11. 
  • Burgos expected that on the first day of Neko Ghost, Jump! it will sell 500 copies, receive 50 user reviews, and at least one major publication will write about the game.
  • The reality turned out to be much more severe — 100 copies sold, three refunds and only eight reviews on Steam. It was also not possible to achieve press coverage.
  • Considering the number of vishlists, the conversion rating was only 0.7%. At the same time, about 80% of all purchases were made by people who previously added Neko Ghost, Jump! to the wish list.
  • At the time of writing the post on Reddit (January 13), Burgos Games managed to sell 32 more copies. Most of them still fell on the vishlists. The number of user reviews has reached 16.
  • The game was also released in the Epic Games Store. Burgos cannot disclose the exact figures yet. However, according to him, they are lower than the figures on Steam.

Reasons for failure

  • The genre (platformer with puzzles) and the release format influenced the failure the most. Releasing such titles in early access is an extremely risky undertaking. Many users prefer not to buy games in Early Access, especially when it comes to projects in such narrow niches.
  • The second reason is the release of the game just a few days after the end of the winter sale on Steam. Most players have already bought all the desired titles, and therefore they simply do not want to spend money and time on a small indie project in early access.
  • Burgos also didn’t pay enough attention to pre-release marketing. As a result of Neko Ghost, Jump! bloggers, journalists and streamers didn’t notice. And often such small titles need attention in the media field.
  • The developer also suggested that one of the problems could be the price. In the American Steam, the game costs $ 15 (now it also has a 10 percent discount).
  • In the comments, some users noted that such a project could be sold for a lower price. However, Burgos is sure that the price of Neko Ghost, Jump! fully justified, given the amount of content available.
  • According to him, indie developers often underestimate their projects – especially in a world where AAA titles cost $60-70. At the same time, he agrees that for part of the audience, the price could become a determining factor.

Here are the conclusions Burgos came to at the end of his post: “To be honest, I would postpone the release for another week. This would still allow the game to be released in January, when the market is still relatively free of AAA novelties. I would also definitely have started my advertising campaign much earlier so that streamers would play the game on launch day.”

Opinions of other developers

On Twitter to discuss the case of Neko Ghost, Jump! other developers have joined. They supported Burgos and expressed their assumptions about the reasons for the failure.

Shaun Aitcheson from the indie studio Cloak and Dagger Games noted that early access could really be a determining factor: “Many people prefer to just buy the game when it is fully ready, so I hope you will get more sales in the future. But in general, Steam is extremely unpredictable today!”

Journalist Mike Diver agreed with this. According to him, most publications treat games in early access with prejudice and try to wait for a full release. He also stressed that many sites today depend on ROI, and therefore there is often no place for small projects in their feed (unless the author himself strongly wants to highlight a certain title).

Anton Bodin-Marty, the creator of the Dice Of Olympus game, asked Burgos why he did not cooperate with the publisher. This could help a lot on the release. To which Burgos replied that so far the studio has not been satisfied with the offer of any publisher.

Rok Jesenicnik, co-founder of the indie studio GamexGames, suggested that one of the reasons for the failure could be the lack of audience involvement. Perhaps users have long added the game to the vishlist, and therefore simply forgot about it. Yesenichnik advised Burgos not to give up, since the first figures could become the basis for future sales.

Jeff Sheen, one of the authors of Democracy 4 and the owner of Stargazy Studios, summed up Burgos’ thoughts. He stressed that it is necessary to promote the game before launching, as well as avoid busy release windows and sales periods. Finally, Shin noted that the early access format may simply not be suitable for certain genres — for example, platformers.