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Critter Crunch PSN Misses Sales Targets, But Developer Still 'Really Happy'

pklepek
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Posted October 19, 2009 - By pklepek


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Critter Crunch PSN Misses Sales Targets, But Developer Still 'Really Happy'

Critter Crunch, a so-cute-you-want-to-pinch-it puzzler, started life as a mobile game, but it's since become much more, launching on the iPhone to an enthused audience and hitting PlayStation Network last week. Comments from Critter Crunch developer Capybara Games that circulated on the web late last week, however, suggested Critter Crunch's launch wasn't a roaring success.

"We set some sales hopes for the game based it on how we saw other puzzle games charting, and based on the level of quality & creativity we felt we were bringing to PSN [PlayStation Network]" explained Capybara CEO Nathan Vella to me over e-mail after the news broke. "We sort of set a 'this would be great' target for our first week, and we didn’t quite make that. It is disappointing, I can’t lie, but we’ve only been up for one week, so things can still turn around.

One way Capybara is hoping to drum up more interest is through a demo. But why wasn't there a demo available on PlayStation Network at the game's launch? It was a matter of resources, said Vella.

"The demo being a bit later is the same thing as the European launch being later than North America – it’s a ton of stuff to juggle all at once," he said. "Demo’s are a strange beast, and if they aren’t ready, they are going to really hurt your game. We could have held the full game back further to time with the demo, but with all the congestion this season, we decided not to wait. In the end, we put the full game up before the demo, knowing it would only be a super-short delay before the demo hit."

The delay between the full game and the demo is short. Vella told me the demo should go live on PlayStation Network on Thursday. That's only a week. Is that too long? Capybara isn't releasing specific sales for Critter Crunch yet, but Vella said the studio was a little disheartened that there weren't more active players on the leaderboards playing versus or co-op.

Vella did want to make clear to me that he's still very happy with the launch of Critter Crunch, as seen by the mostly stellar reviews and response from the gamers who have clicked "buy" so far.

Critter Crunch PSN Misses Sales Targets, But Developer Still 'Really Happy'

"It’s hard to not be really happy when your studio’s first PSN game reviews so well, and gets such a huge amount of love from the people playing it. I mean, the critical and gaming community response to Critter Crunch has been really phenomenal," he said. "We know there’s more to being an indie studio than selling 1m units of your first PSN game – for us, it’s just as much about letting gamers know that Capy makes quality, creative, rad-looking games. And although I am a bit biased, I think Critter Crunch introduced a lot of people to our studio in a positive way."

These days, having a strong following is undeniably important (especially for the launch of the next game), but given how early we are into the life of digitally distributed games, it still remains unclear what is the best price point to launch a game at, when is the best time for it to be released, do the sales follow similar cycles to retail -- there are an unquestionable number of "X" factors.

"We’re also just really proud of the game and of the folks at Capy that worked so hard on it," said Vella. "It’s hard not to feel like the project is a success when you’re proud of the game you put out. That sort of came out really hokey, but it’s true."

If you're interested in playing Critter Crunch before spending $6.99, a demo is out on Thursday.

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Critter Crunch PSN Misses Sales Targets, But Developer Still 'Really Happy'
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