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Cosmic Star Heroine dev discusses the game's lackluster Switch sales, partially blames Nintendo for visibility/listing issues

While we've heard about plenty of indie success stories on Switch, there are indeed some titles that didn't set the sales charts ablaze. Cosmic Star Heroine, which launched back on Aug. 14th, 2018, seems to be struggling a bit in the sales department. Developer Robert Boyd took to Resetera to discuss the matter, and partially places the blame on Nintendo.

We got an okay number of reviews, but yeah, we couldn't get Nintendo to mention the game anywhere. Real shame since even a retweet from Nintendo probably would have given us a big boost in visibility. I get that it was just a port, but after spending months getting stonewalled by Nintendo when we were trying to get permission to release on Switch, going "fine, we'll play by your rules" and getting a publisher so we could get approved, and still getting ignored by Nintendo when the game was done and set to release is highly frustrating. It's a good game and I daresay a good percent of those million+ people who bought Octopath Traveler would like our game if they knew it existed. We couldn't even get somebody to fix our store page before launch (which never indicated that the game had a preorder/early purchase sale and until just recently, didn't even have our trailer on it) and the page went up about a month before launch so there was plenty of time.

Preorders + 1st week of sales on Switch were maybe 2/3rds the 1st week on PC or PS4 (which both sold about the same). There was a rapid drop-off on PC/PS4 after week 1 so if Switch somehow avoids that, that'd be nice and would help the sales to maybe reach the other platforms. Unless something surprising happens, it looks like Switch sales for the first month will be in the 4-digits. And unless we bundle the game or do deep discounts later, I'm not expecting total sales on all platforms combined (PC, PS4, Vita, Switch, XBO, and physical) to reach 100k.

UPDATE - Mr. Boyd reached out to us via Twitter with the following statement.

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So, the game sold poorly on PC and PS4, and he was expecting miraculously big sales on the Switch? That's not how things work. Most the indie titles that massively outsold their releases on competing platforms did so because they initially sold well on those other platforms. Sony promoted CSH decently when it released last year and it sold poorly, so why would the Switch magically change that? Ever stop to consider that there's no market for your mediocre game that looks like you took sprites from classic SNES and Genesis jRPGs and just fiddled with them a bit?

I feel for the developer but if its on all these other platforms how come I never heard of it? It shouldnt always be up to the platform holder to advertise your game. Nintendo has left their own published games to die. So sounds like Nintendo saw the already lackluster sales and didnt feel like it would be worth the effort since there was no other effort put forth.

Everyone knows the Switch eShop is in bits, it needs a facelift and an overhaul. And he thinks Octopath Traveler has sold 1 million+ copies. They shipped a million copies, not sold. Nintendo and their BS PR machine strike again, sure it hasn't even reached the 200,000 mark in Japan and it's been out for a month and a half. Even in the Media Create figures out in a couple of hours today, it's highly unlikely it'll have passed that milestone again. Digital sales only account for a tiny proportion of the overall sales.

This is the most recent media create thread (japan sales) on Resetera. Combine the digital sales from the Octopath tweet to the physical sales in the weekly report.

https://www.resetera.com/threads/media-create-sales-week-34-2018-aug-20-aug-26.65079/#post-12015786

Octopath has done over a quarter of a million in Japan alone.

enthropy
Wed Aug 29 18 06:32pm
Rating: 1

So over a quarter million in Japan alone. It seems it has sold pretty good here in Europe too and also in NA. Could easily have sold over 800.000 by now. Would not surprise me, at least. I mean, even a lot of non-Switch owners are whining that they want it on their platform. It's that big!

link2dpast
Wed Aug 29 18 02:58pm
Rating: 1

Why are you so caught up with Octopath? The entire comment talking about Cosmic Star and the only section you point out was about Octopath numbers. Digital sales on the Switch in particular account for a larger proportion of the overall sales compared to other platforms. Here's a source to back up that claim. Just give it a rest already. Octopath blew past your sales prediction and now you're stuck in an infinite loop of damage control.

Source:"https://www.dualshockers.com/3rd-party-digital-sales-nintendo-switch-exceed-physical-goods-first-time-united-states/"

If it helps, I didn’t buy because I’m waiting for physical...

Is this good ?
I mean it looks like a fun mix between Crono Trigger and FFVII for the setting, but the title makes it sound a bit cheap in my opinion and does not reflect the epicness that an rpg should try to strive for. I mean that's my impression watching a trailer. It could indeed be something I would enjoy, I need to look into it.

It's not bad, but it's not particularly good either. CSH never truly establishes an identity of its own, and spendsa decent amount of time push bad jokes and tired, outdated sci-fi parodies that don't add anything to the game. Some people love it, but the best I can say about it is that it's a decent send off to old school jRPGs with unbalanced difficulty leading to most of the game being too easy, with the occasional spike in difficulty.

Not to mention that the ending itself is poorly rushed and the characters in general are almost bland.

I've known about this game for a long time. I haven't got it primarily for the fact that multiple games games out in the last month that I want as well, however I'm massivly clued into to what games are coming out.

It does seem to be if you get picked out by the right person at Nintendo then you get supported and promoted like Celeste, Morphie's Law, Bad North and so on.

Nintendo seems to be pushing the news feed rather than understanding that games that get even one retweet on twitter have a much better chance than the news feed.

I have seen Nintendo of Europe promoting Indie games lately but that's probably just because of gamescom.

It’s no mystery that Nintendo is highlighting games with new content or features over straight up ports.

Well, the game sure got some attention now, eh? ;) I might look into it.

Wonder how much Octo has sold by now though.

So, the game sold poorly on PC and PS4, and he was expecting miraculously big sales on the Switch? That's not how things work. Most the indie titles that massively outsold their releases on competing platforms did so because they initially sold well on those other platforms. Sony promoted CSH decently when it released last year and it sold poorly, so why would the Switch magically change that? Ever stop to consider that there's no market for your mediocre game that looks like you took sprites from classic SNES and Genesis jRPGs and just fiddled with them a bit?

panurgejr
Wed Aug 29 18 04:56pm
Rating: 1

The thing that I noticed is that on Switch it sold 2/3 of what it did on PS4, despite their being 1/4 as many Switches out there. That means that despite Sony promoting it and Nintendo (allegedly) not, the attach rate was 166% higher on Switch. I get that he's disappointed in sales, but it's a matter of overall sales that are his problem, not an individual platform.

True! And a lot of people who would play that game maybe already played it on PS4.

There's probably enough blame to go around. Could the eShop be better? Absolutely, but Nintendo's not responsible for marketing your game. I haven't heard much about this other than the title, and with the volume of games coming to the Switch on a weekly basis, it takes effort (and a little luck) to stand out.

Now, if Mr. Boyd's interested in porting the Penny Arcade games to Switch, that's a conversation worth having.

Well....at least the music kicks ass so you can sell the soundtrack.

I certainly haven't heard of this game before now. And seeing it for the first time, it actually looks pretty good. I may consider it.

Who's putting out the physical release? I'm waiting for that as well.

Limited Run Games in early 2019.

Noticed that the developer deleted out all of their comments on Resetera after it started being reported on.

Probably because it came across like he was whining and blaming Nintendo in a public forum. Even though I doubt it was his intention, still looked bad.

This developer has been bitching about Nintendo for years, and now he expected this audience to receive his average-at-best game with open arms, and even match sales of other high quality games, going by his twitter account.
I saw this coming a mile away.
His expectations were simply unrealistic, CSH is not on the level of the other indie games that have found success on Switch.

Launching so close to Octopath Traveler probably hurt its sales. People are still playing Octopath and by the time CSH came out, many people still haven't picked Octopath up yet even though they intend to.

It seems too soon to think that all those Octopath players are finished with Octopath and hungry for another JRPG.

It helps a lot if Nintendo promotes your game, but they have no obligation to do so. They promote what they want to promote. They probably didn't promote this game much because of Octopath. They care more about that game's success and they care more about their relationship with Square Enix.

He should try to get a Limited Run or Super Rare Games release.

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