Austrian feel-good game soars to great heights on TikTok

One of the top TikTok accounts among game developers in Austria is run by a small group of students and gaming enthusiasts from Carinthia, Salzburg and Styria who are preparing to launch the feel-good game “A Webbing Journey” in early 2024. The game, currently available on Steam and smartphones as a demo version, is the target of intense anticipation among TikTok users. The most popular post was viewed a total of 4.2 million times. We chatted with Sebastian Uitz and Noel Treese to find out how this success came about and what fans can look forward to at the end of the year.

What led to your success on TikTok?

Sebastian Uitz: We got started on TikTok over a year ago. We were extremely motivated, but nothing happened for a long time. In early March, we were at a gaming festival in Graz. On the way home, we decided that we really needed to invest more in social media. It was our intern Noel who managed to convince us of the idea. Then, after a gap of roughly 4 months, we posted another video, and that went through the roof.

Do you have any idea why this happened?

Noel Treese: That’s social media. We’re still trying to find an explanation. We improved the graphics in the game and modified the editing a little. We shortened the segments and added TikTok’s automatic voice-over to the video. Ultimately, none of these things can account for the success. I guess we just caught the right day and the right time.

Sebastian Uitz: For the first hour or two, the video performed just like the old videos. Then there was a short break, and suddenly, three hours later, things really took off. At that time, we were still about 50 followers short of 1,000, and we soon reached that goal. Things went very quickly after that. Today, we have 66,000 followers. We invested a lot of energy in responding to all of the comments as quickly as possible.

Of course, social media is not an end in itself for you; ultimately, it’s about promoting your game. Have you been able to find success in this regard as well?

Sebastian Uitz: Yes! Over 6,000 people have added our game to their wishlist on Steam. However, it has to be said that the path from TikTok on the smartphone to Steam on the PC is a long one. We can see now that we also have to keep up with social media in order to maintain and expand the community.

Will your game only be available on the PC or will it also be released as a smartphone app?

Sebastian Uitz: At the moment, our demo also works on smartphones, but we need to enhance it and make sure it’s fun to play. A mobile version would allow us to reach an even greater number of users. We are currently at approx. 50,000 downloads on Android and 5,000 downloads on iOS. We still need to develop a business model for the mobile sector.

Is it possible to buy the game?

Sebastian Uitz: Not yet, we only have a demo version online at the moment, which is free to use on Steam and smartphones. Every day, around 300 to 500 people play the game – and they also provide valuable feedback.

Noel Treese: The game is not at the market-ready stage yet. It still lacks content. We have made a lot of progress in the last few months, partly due to increasing the size of our team. I’m also studying Game Studies & Engineering and have been working at Fire Totem Games as an intern. There are five of us now, and things are moving forward! The game will be finished by the end of the year, and then we will release it.

Sebastian Uitz: Before that, we have to turn the start-up into a company. All of this is currently in the works.

What is the Webbing Journey about?

Sebastian Uitz, a student in the Master’s degree programme Game Studies & Engineering, has been working on “A Webbing Journey” since 2021. In this game, players take on the role of a spider that spins its webs on various islands dotted with caves, bays and ruins in order to collect flowers for its spider date. The game falls into the category of wholesome games, a genre that is enjoying growing interest. “These games are characterised by being heartfelt, they are family-friendly, their storylines are positive, and there is no violence or fighting. As a rule, they are also slower and more restrained than other games,” Sebastian Uitz explains. Interest in wholesome games is very high, both among adults and children. The game can be played by children from the age of 8.

“A Webbing Journey” was developed by Sebastian Uitz, Michael Steinkellner and Manuel Santner, who founded the start-up “Fire Totem Games”. The project was supported by the Carinthian Economic Development Fund KWF.

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