Soulash 2 dev Artur Smiarowski on successful Early Access launch: "EA releases have about half the visibility from Steam"

Polish indie developer Artur Smiarowski has shared results for its sandbox roguelike Soulash 2 one month after its Early Access launch. Here is how it performed compared to the first game, and why the EA model was chosen for the sequel.

"Early Access releases have about half the visibility from Steam," says Soulash 2 dev Artur Smiarowski

Soulash 2 is a turn-based roguelike game set in a procedurally generated open world. It also has additional mechanics such as crafting, building, and trading. The title currently has a “Very Positive” rating on Steam, with 90% of the 105 user reviews being positive — way better than the first Soulash (a 74% rating based on 383 reviews).

Earlier this week, Smiarowski published some stats for Soulash 2 in a post on X (formerly Twitter):

  • The game has sold 4,000 copies in the first months since its EA launch on December 4, 2023 (its base price is $17.99;
  • It currently has 4,000 followers on Steam with 30,000 outstanding wishlists (it had 20.5k wishlists on the day before its EA release);
  • With 99 reviews in its first month, Soulash 2 has a review/sales ratio of around 40x (for more details about average/median multipliers, check this GameDiscoverCo’s research);
  • Smiarowski spent 4,508 hours creating Soulash 2.

For comparison, the first Soulash launched with over 2,000 followers and 16k wishlists. As Smiarowski revealed in another thread, its lifetime sales reached roughly 18.5k copies across, Steam, and GOG.

The developer seems pleased with the results of the sequel, saying that “everything is moving in the right direction.” However, he noted that the first Soulash sold 8,000 copies in its debut week, attributing the difference to the way Steam treats Early Access titles in terms of visibility.

“EA releases have about half the visibility from Steam, and many players prefer waiting till full release, but it should end up a bit better in the long run,” Smiarowski said.

Speaking about the reasons behind launching Soulash 2 into Early Access, he thought the game was too ambitious to do it without player feedback. He added that “if you need feedback and want to develop including player requests, [EA is] a good choice, otherwise, full release is just fine.”

It is worth noting that many experts and developers think that it is better to treat Early Access almost like a full launch and not expect any discoverability advantages from a 1.0 release. As GameDiscoverCo’s Simon Carless pointed out last year, “there’s no ‘magic 1.0 algorithm bullet’ on Steam — EA and non-EA titles are treated pretty similarly.”

Game marketing expert Chris Zukowski also thinks that many devs “don’t realize that the game’s EA launch is their launch,” adding that this strategy is always about high risks/slightly higher rewards and that developers “should never choose the Early Access route because of money.”

As for Smiarowski, he plans to collect player feedback and improve Soulash 2 with new features during this year (version 1.0 is scheduled to launch in 2025). And selling 4,000 copies in one month seems like a good start to the marathon ahead.

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