Mike Rose, founder of Descenders and Hypnospace Outlaw publisher No More Robots, has put together a fascinating Twitter thread detailing his experiences on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
After putting multiple titles out on the eShop over the past nine months, Rose, who recently appeared on the GDC Podcast to share more data-driven indie secrets, wanted to provide some insights that could help fellow devs and publishers make their game sell on Nintendo’s digital storefront.
There are a bunch of useful tidbits sprinkled throughput the thread, but one of the most fascinating is how Metacritic can be manipulated to affect how titles are showcased and ultimately perceived by consumers on the eShop.
“Usually, Metacritic scores do not matter, especially on PC. I’ve never cared about them, and our games have sold great regardless of what scores we get. Unfortunately, they do kinda matter on Switch,” wrote Rose.
“This is because Nintendo straight-up uses Metacritic scores to sometimes determine whether you get into sales and get featuring, and people browsing the eShop seem to use Metacritic a lot as a way to quick glance at whether a game is worth picking up.”
To make that reliance on Metacritic scores work in his favor, Rose decided to try and manipulate them by finding all of the sites that covered Switch games and were on Metacritic, and then went about removing those sites that, on average, gave lower review scores.
After testing that theory on Not Tonight and Nowhere Prophet, the Switch versions of both games became more highly rated than their PC counterparts, and were bumped from ‘mixed’ to ‘positive’ on Metacritic.
Rose believes those revised scores helped convince consumers to drop cash on titles that were heavily discounted, pushing those who were on the fence to make the purchase.
“I mentioned Metacritic earlier, because a big reason why I think the 90 percent Not Tonight discount exploded so much was that people were sharing it around constantly saying ‘has a great Metacritic score too!!’,” added Rose, “I think the green Metacritic score helped immensely in tipping people over the edge to grab it.”
There are more eShop tips and ticks in the full Twitter thread, so be sure to check it out by clicking right here.