Poncho - Post Mortem...

edited in General
This is a pretty brutal post-mortem on the game called poncho: http://poncho-game.com/?p=208

Maybe other indies can learn from this.


  • Yeah, it really is quite brutal. There are definitely some good lessons to learn.

    Another game dev (Zack Bell) wrote an article that comments on the Poncho post-mortem and gives some of their own insights:
  • Oh yeah, I saw him post this on the indie game page on facebook. I felt really sorry for the guy. I couldn't shake the feeling that they were trying to emulate fez though.
  • Wow, that's incredibly bleak! As you say, hopefully it can stand as a bit of a cautionary tale for people, warning against being over-ambitious with their first game!
    If you ever get this feeling: “Meh, it’s good enough, let’s just release and be done with this hell”. Wait. You will regret it, even if you’re on the brink of homelessness and need money, suffer through it and wait. It will be worth it.
    They seem to be giving contradictory advice here, which makes me think they don't get it. My guess that the game (I haven't played it) is just not that interesting/good/fun compared to what's out there. That's why they didn't get media on board.
  • This is really sad (but also very interesting to read).
    On the bright side, they did get about 20k sales according to SteamSpy, and that is pretty cool, even if financially it was a failure.
  • edited
    @roguecode They may have given away 20K free keys (or been in one of those pay what you want bundles where each copy you get 20c).

    They definitely didn't make 20K sales on Steam though. Look at that "Players" number on Steamspy, it's less than half of the sales, which only ever happens when buyers get the game bundled with other games and so often don't bother opening it up (because it wasn't for them the game they were interested in).

    @dammit Yeah, there's lots of advice they give that I think is awful.

    And I think there are worse mistakes they made that they're not aware of. For instance, from what I can see, they never tested the game in any meaningful way before they bought a booth at EGX and started a Kickstarter. They basically behaved just like a AAA developer would, but without all the experience and resources a AAA developer has (and that's not to say AAA games don't often flop).

    Also, from what I can tell, they don't know why people don't get excited about their current game, they really are clueless about this, so they haven't learnt how to do better, AND presumably they only plan on testing whether people are interested in their next game once they're three years into it, so they're doomed to repeat at least a part of the same process again.

    It's pretty fucking tragic.
  • edited
    Yeah. I feel for the devs, it sounds like they had a really rough time of it, but man, that writeup was a trainwreck of poor decisions.

    "Enormously risky gamble doesn't pay off, leaves dev ruined" basically.
  • *sigh* I had to go back and read the comments because I didn't realise that it had disintegrated to that level. For adults, this is really sad behaviour. Yes, you might have had arguments online before and thought that was the norm but any time you're showing that kind of behaviour on your own site - and in a fight with your own publisher nogal - it really makes you look unprofessional. People do need to think about what their "personal branding" is with regards to their own social media accounts and the like. Recruiters (publishers etc) look at these channels now as part of the process.
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