Why So Many Tuesday Launches?

12 July 2018 | 39 Comments

A few days ago, like on many Tuesdays this year, there were 4 huge Kickstarter tabletop game launches (by my count):

  • Jetpack Joyride
  • Rurik: Dawn of Kiev
  • Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy
  • Cthulhu: Death May Die

I’ve noticed this pattern for a while now: A disproportionate number of splashy game projects seem to launch on Tuesday compared to other days of the week. Why is this happening? Are these creators not aware of each other? Or maybe they’re aware, but they don’t care? And why Tuesday, of all days?

These questions are somewhat hypothetical, but I’m going to do my best to explore them in today’s blog post.

I’ll start with a confession: Back in my days as a Kickstarter creator, I launched every project on a Tuesday or Wednesday. My reasoning, as mentioned in this article, was, “My perception of those days is that people have some downtime at work after catching up on accumulated tasks on Monday and frantically finishing all their work on Friday.”

That said, even if other people agree with that reasoning, it still seems like the majority of big launches are on Tuesday instead of spread out over Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday. I’m guessing that creators feel like Tuesday is the first viable day of the week to launch a project, and they’d rather be first than “last” (in a race to backers’ wallets). Honestly, I get that. I wish it weren’t the case, but I get it.

Perhaps these creators simply aren’t aware of each other. If that’s the case, this is a good time for me to remind tabletop game creators (and people who follow the game industry) of this Google Doc. If you know a project is launching or ending on a specific date, please add it here.

Maybe, as I mentioned above, these creators are aware of the overlap and don’t think it will impact them to launch on the same day. As I wrote about here in detail, I think it’s at least worth considering so as to not hurt the buzz and momentum for your project, especially if your project might appeal to the exact same backers as another project.

I remember earlier this year when The Reckoners and Aeon’s End: Legacy launched on the same day. Both were fairly expensive games, and I felt like I had to make a choice between the two. In the end, I backed both, but that decision point wouldn’t be a factor–or, at least, a psychological factor–if they were separated by a day or two.

If you’re a creator trying to figure out when to launch, I would seriously consider a Thursday launch. That way, even if your project is likely to attract backers who already backed a project on Tuesday morning, those backers have had a few days to “recharge.”

[Update: After reading some of the comments, I’m starting to think that Monday could also be a great day to launch a Kickstarter campaign. One comment mentions that backers have been conditioned to scour Kickstarter for projects on Tuesday, so they’re going to discover recently launched projects (and it’s handy to show those backers that your project is already moving towards funding, if not already there). Also, Brett Sobol pointed out some data about online buying habits on Monday.]

What’s your take on the influx of Tuesday launches, whether you’re a backer or creator?

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39 Comments on “Why So Many Tuesday Launches?

  1. I’ve launched two campaigns so far, my first was on a Saturday because that’s when I was ready, the second on a Wednesday, because it was perceived as a better day. The Saturday launch did much better. One thing that I find interesting is that there is an early Gatekeeper gaming article that suggests Saturday as one of the better days to launch, but between then and now the ‘group consensus’ has become that Tuesday is the best day to launch and the further you get from that the worse things get.
    I think that Tuesday launches have become a self fulfilling prophecy and are an example of ideas gaining weight for no reason. For example, ironically, I’ve heard people swear that Jamey Stegmaier himself recommends a Tuesday launch for all projects. So weirdly for a lot of people out there, the answer to your question Jamey of why Tuesday launches are popular, is that they think you recommended it!
    It seems to be a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, because the first thing you hear is that Tuesday is the best day to launch and people that have done a little bit of research therefore launch on that day, and then they get buried by the avalanche of releases. Personally I think I see far more projects that would succeed on any other day fail on a Tuesday because they get buried by other projects. On a Tuesday it feels like you get about five minutes at the top of the Kickstarter page, while I’ve seen Friday launches stay up there for days.
    I’d say the best advice is launch on the day that makes sense for you. If you work a 9-5 job then launching on a weekend so you can attend to the first 48 hours closely I think is worth way more than a perceived bump or dip on one day or another. In the end, anything that everyone knows means an increase in competition as much as it does an increase in customers.

  2. I have launched probably half my campaigns on a Monday instead of Tuesday – I figure maybe I get a jump on the rest of the pack. There is something to be said about a regular big release day of the week though – just like movies and comics have – a day when people expect things to be out and can go shopping for them. If you wait till after Tuesday you may miss that crowd, where if you do Monday you may be on the bottom of the list but at least the browsers will find you.

    Either way I’ve seen hundreds of graphs of launches and you never see a Tuesday bump – instead you see typical curves of a large launch day, followed with about half as much sales the next day, followed by some much smaller numbers and then a lul… no matter which day you launch if you had all your pre-marketing done and your ducks in a row – you’ll do just fine. I’ve seen it for weekend launches too – but I’d still avoid that as it’s very much proven to be a time when less people are online. The point is though, your fans should come when you launch and it’s your job to make sure you have fans when you launch.

  3. Hey Jamie, I want to enter my project launch into the spreadsheet you shared in the link, but am unsure of two things. First, how to enter a project into a cell that already has a project o that day (specifically, card games, Oct 2) The second issue I am attempting to answer is what genre of game my cards are. When I invented them in 2007 there really wasn’t a story game market. Now I am looking at the categories in the spread sheet and trying to determine what these genres mean. The cards are used to play several games that all have very few rules, is that a Micro Game? There are no ways to lose these games so being social is kind of the point, does that make it a social game? The games usually involve making poems, is that what an abstract game is?

    Or maybe you could just point me to a reference source. :)

    1. Isaac: One consideration would be to not enter your game on a date on which there’s already another game launching in the same category. If you need to, though, just edit the cell, entering your game name below the game that’s already there.

      I would say this is a social game. A micro game is a game with very few components, so that might also apply.

  4. Thinking back to how I used to time stuff on eBay, trying to game the system a little. At least for eBay you don’t want an auction ending during commute hours for anyone in the US (assuming you’re US based) because they might not be able to bid from the ride home. So you want auctions to end during business hours (after business hours means after bedtime as well for some).

    So I might theorize that a lot of the Tuesday launches are so the finish is on a Sunday.

    1. Ok, I didn’t notice that it was only the one I was interested in finishing on a Sunday. The others are on Tues. Which still could factor in some. Catch people when they are going to be at PC’s on either end.

  5. A few other good points have been made here that I think are worth noting:
    – I too remember James Mathe’s blog about success rates on Tuesday, but unclear how biased the data actually is when outliers are removed.
    – Catching more Wednesdays is a great idea, but not a recipe for success. For reference, Wednesdays tend to be the highest email purchase rate days, and you’re generally starting and closing KS campaigns with big email blasts (Source for reference: https://www.remarkety.com/online-shopping-trends-reveal-best-days-and-times-to-email-customers)

    But Jamey, I want to bring up a counter-point for consideration about what you said earlier in the article when you mentioned eschewing Mondays because of the risk of people “catching up” on work. Based on some general e-commerce & online shopping trends, Monday might be more opportunistic then you think. While some diligent people are catching up on work, others are likely still caught in weekend mode during Monday morning and looking for excuses to procrastinate that work (https://blog.workarea.com/trends-when-do-people-shop-online).

    Either way, I’m doubtful that the day of the week is that big of a factor in a project funding or not, especially compared with other preparation and execution matters. We launched The Reckoners when we were ready and not a day before. In fact, we even waited until we both got a good night of sleep and could coordinate some things with work. In the end, I would recommend project creators fret less about what day to launch on and instead assess when their stars align for the project to best fit into their lives before pressing the launch button.

    1. Thanks Brett! There was another comment that also made me think that Mondays might be a viable day.

      Also, I really like this: “We launched The Reckoners when we were ready and not a day before.”

    1. That’s really interesting, Josh! Oddly enough, in the board game world, Thursday and Friday are considered the best days to release a game, as stores receive most of their weekly shipments from distributors on Wednesday/Thursday. I think this is tied to some of the biggest publishers deciding those are their preferred release dates, and the rest of the supply chain ended up being centered around it.

  6. Back when I worked at Blockbuster Video many, many, many years ago, I’d see people pour into the store on Tuesday because the street date for movie rentals was Tuesday 95% of the time. It seems that over the last few years, Tuesday has been new release day on Kickstarter too. I’ve always wondered whether backers think of it that way and make it a point to visit KS on that day each week but I have no hard evidence either way.

    I don’t think it matters too much when you launch Mon-Thurs, as long as it’s in the morning in the place where most of your backers live.

  7. It seems the only thing agreed upon is not to launch on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I am trying to decide on my launch date and it is kind of nerve wracking. My pre-launch campaign is finally getting a little steam (nearing 100 newsletter signups) and I think it would be better to announce a date sooner than later. None the less I am nervous to commit to the day when I am still fostering a fledgling community to be there for launch day. Clearly this IS my first rodeo, so to speak.

  8. I have never done the math, but always thought it might have something to do with when they would finish.

    1. I think the finish day is more important. If you want your project to end on a weekday where more people can be online and paying attention to their last 48 hour reminders then you want to end during the work week and I read somewhere ;) to have the project 30-31 days long. So I’m thinking the end day is more important.

  9. The advice we received was that Wednesday is the biggest day of the week for Kickstarters, so start your campaign on a Tuesday, and end on a Thursday to encapsulate more Wednesdays.

  10. We have a small card game with a basic pledge level of $14 and we plan to launch on Tuesday July 24. My thinking is that, while many “big” projects will probably launch on this day, we are small and cheap enough that others who have come to back the big boys might see our project and check it out. Thoughts?

    1. Jonathan: I agree that with such a low price point, even if there’s a big project with a $100 reward on the same day, you won’t run into that psychological backer issue I mentioned.

  11. I think it’s due to James Mathe’s blog about projects started on Tuesday’s having the highest success rate (https://www.jamesmathe.com/successorfailure/). Of course it is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, if the Kickstarter managers of those big campaigns that are bound to be successful anyway are starting their projects on a Tuesday.

    I started on a Friday and am going to end on a Sunday, bucking the trend a bit.

  12. I’ve always thought it was a self fulfilling prophecy, where the people who launch big projects are the sort who do their research on what makes a Kickstarter successful and keep seeing Tuesday come up.

  13. I had originally planned on a Tuesday launch for my game but after seeing so many launches and the overall agreement that a Tuesday launch was standard I made the switch to Thursday. The only term I can think of is Meta Game from MTG. If everyone is going to show up with a MOM deck then show up with the answer to it. From my 9-5, marketing and design world it’s going against the grain to stir things up. For example, if everyone is doing email and the consumers are burnt out on them, send a physical piece by mail. If they are used to postcards, send a poster instead.

    I think the one speed bump that could really hurt is conditioned expectation and action. In this example I only go to RedBox on Tuesdays because that is when new movies arrive. I don’t give RedBox a second thought the rest of the week because I already know what is out or got what I wanted.

    So if the KS audience has been conditioned to Tuesdays it may very well be worth the risk of possibly going up against a big publisher for the “built-in” audience. Which leads to the question, “Have I done enough or gained enough followers to support launching on a different day?” Stonemaier could launch (if you still did) on Christmas day and be fine. Not the case for everyone else, especially me and my first game.

    And now, after writing this, I’m reconsidering…again.

    1. That’s an interesting point about how backers may have been conditioned to scour Kickstarter for games on Tuesday. I wonder if that actually brings Monday into the picture as a viable launch day, as people would discover projects after they’re already a little off the ground.

      I think you’re asking the right question, though, as there are other more important factors than the day of the week.

  14. There were some a small litany of suggestions to launch on Tuesday back about 2-3 years ago, and I think they slowly migrated to “the day to launch”. I launched within 3 minutes of the Batman project a few months back, and I felt the pain of the timing for sure. I think Tuesday might become the day for large flashy projects, thursday for normal projects, and the other days for smaller projects (like components, etc.). I kinda hope it doesn’t become that way, but there would be some benefits if it got all segmented like that. (ie: I’d know what days to log on! : )

    1. John: Interesting how those hypothetical conversations can turn into perceived industry standards. :) Though perhaps there are pros (as you refer to) as well to the cons I mentioned.

  15. Hi Jamey,

    With the exception of Rurik, each of the project you mentioned have all been very well funded for just 2.5 days of campaigning. I think your suggestion to launch on Thursday is interesting but I wonder how that matches up to the perception that “great games” launch on Tuesdays. Or, especially in media, that Tuesdays are the days to pay attention to Kickstarter. How much marketing potential is lost because of that? And are companies launching campaigns outside of Tuesday considered to simply not know industry standards rather than making a smart decision for backer attention?

    1. Jennifer: That’s true, the projects from this week have done well, though I’d bet Eclipse would have had a stronger launch if it wasn’t directly competing with Cthulhu.

      I’m unfamiliar with the media’s connection to Tuesday launches. Which media?

      I hear your theory about how the perception might be that if a company launches on a non-Tuesday day, some people might think they haven’t done their research about Kickstarter…though I’m not sure I agree. :)

      1. I definitely agree with that sentiment about Eclipse! And this topic is all the more relevant with campaign lengths being shortened to that 15-20 day length rather than month long length.

        By media, I’m referring to media coverage of Tuesday’s and Kickstarter launches. I get a BGG email on Tuesdays about Kickstarter, the Dice Tower contributors will focus on Kickstarter content on Tuesdays via social media like Twitter, etc. it’s not a connection as much as an editorial calendar built around the concept of major Kickstarters launching on Tuesdays.

        1. I do believe you have solved the mystery of Tuesday releases. I imagine it is easier to follow through and back a project you read about if it launches that day versus that week.

  16. As a backer, I’ve always viewed Tuesday KS launches similarly to video game launches. I’ve always thought that as a typical 9 to 5er, Mondays have been ‘harder’ as people work back into their work week schedule. When Tuesday hits, I think people have adjusted to their schedule and are more attentive to projects/launches. So I would agree with you in your thoughts and comments as to why Tuesday’s are popular.

    However, I think that KS dates and marketing has been more of a motivator for me. For instance, I’ve had my eye on Escape Plan by Eagle Griffon Games that launches on the 19th – which is a Thursday. Due to the marketing and clout behind it – I feel that the 19th could have been any day of the week for me. I just know that come the 19th – I should be on KS to view the project when it launches.

    I imagine there can be some logistical and other factors that could play into a release but I feel like you hit the head on the primary reason for so many launches during that day of the week. In all for me, if the game is marketed well, it won’t matter what day of the week it is – I’ll be sure to tune in to check it out!

    1. That’s a great point about companies clearly communicating release dates to fans in advance. When they do that, at least for that initial fan bump, the day of the week doesn’t really matter.

  17. My weekday routine is pretty much the same at this point, so I don’t see a lot of difference in Monday – Thursday, although I’ve been on Kickstarter more often as of late since I’m planning my own game. Maybe I’ll give Thursday a shot for my humble little campaign.

    I’m more curious about data around the time of year things launch. Summer is full of vacations, winter months have more holidays, but people tend to be more so in their normal grind? People buying games for holiday gifts might have to be ordering in the early Fall so that creators have time to fulfill?

    Like you said, it is hard to pull the trigger on two expensive games at once, but I guess at the end of the day, if it looks awesome, I’m buying it no matter the day or time of year :)

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