The publisher of Playstack and the developer of LocalThunk, in an interview with gaming expert Simon Carless, discussed the success of the already hit poker "bagel" Balatro. We chose the main thing from the conversation.


  • To begin with, we recall that Balatro was released on February 20, 2024 on PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. On March 18, the authors of the game reported that it had been bought more than a million times.
  • GameDiscoverCo estimates that more than 777.4 thousand copies have been sold on Steam.
  • Playstack informed Carless that the most sales of the Steam version of Balatro were in the United States - 33%. Next are China (26%), France (7%), Canada (4%), Great Britain (4%), Germany (3%) Korea (3%) and Australia (2%).
  • Neither Playstack nor LocalThunk disclosed Balatro's revenue. But Carless, with the help of GameDiscoverCo, calculated that the gross revenue of the Steam version alone is currently $ 10.22 million.
  • Playstack said that when promoting Balatro, the publisher relied on three key marketing pillars: distributing the demo, attracting streamers and bloggers, and creating an enthusiastic community.
  • "When forming our marketing strategy, we decided that the best way to attract people to Balatro is to show how other people play it. We suspected that the pre—announcements and trailers would not be as effective," said Elizabeth Cheng-Moore, lead marketer at Playstack.
  • Special attention was paid to the demo version. As a result, in the first three months, the demo of the game collected more than 100 thousand downloads on Steam. During the Steam Next Fest demo festival, users of the site were extremely active in adding Balatro to their wish lists.

Dynamics of Balatro additions to the wish lists

  • According to LocalThunk, at the very beginning of development, the main Balatro cycle consisted of dozens of interconnected mechanics, but half of them did not work properly. He was constantly trying to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of, testing them over and over again, making changes to the game and re-analyzing everything. Because of this approach, the developer still sees Balatro through the prism of flaws.
  • One of the criteria that LocalThunk used to understand what "hooks" the audience is the level of retention in the game for an hour.
  • LocalThunk admitted that he likes how users break the gameplay of Balatro. "The design of a game like Balatro always stretches in two directions. First, we must always give people the opportunity to break the game so that they can truly feel its depth and see the full range of possibilities. Secondly, it is necessary to monitor the balance. If everything is too unbalanced, then decisions become less significant, because having a clear choice in a given situation is the same as not having one, and this interferes with fun."

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