Steam Game Sales Analysis: average number of sold copies down 70% and per game revenue down 47% (Based on Estimates)

Dec 25, 2018
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No. Crap to you is not necessarily crap to me and vice versa. Ignore a game or ignore a tag in general if you don't like something.

Steam could use a better system of searching for games. But it has improved a lot.
I mean the bottom of the barrel stuff that no one wants.

If you are refunded then there is no problem with doing that.
 

Kazza

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For me that's a more interesting discussion than steam sales numbers.

I guess if I really am looking forward to an indie game, I would easily pay a full game's price for it.
Sometimes it seems weird when an indie game costs $10 only at release day when I wouldn't even have hesitated buying it at $40.

Also funny to note is that I seem to be strongly influenced by discount%. Like when I'm not sure if an indie game is for me I put it on a wishlist. Then when I think the discount% is high enough, I buy it. Strangely I'm more likely to buy a $30 game at 70% discount than a $10 game at 30% discount, because saving $21 seems to be the much better deal than saving $3 only (what's the point?). So a higher base price might actually make me more likely to buy the game during a sale.

On the other hand I've seen many people who didn't buy Lost Sphear because they thought $50 is too expensive for it. Even gave it negative reviews without having even played it because how dare them ask $50 for a non-AAA game. Needless to say, I also bought this game for the full price without hesitating.

Guess it depends a bit on the person. I don't have to struggle with having enough money for food and stuff and I'm also a game designer myself, so maybe that's why I don't hesitate supporting developers.

Sometimes paying full price frustrates me later on, but that's mostly because of the comparison with other games. Like two indie games release. One for $10 and one for $25. Both look like I'd enjoy them so I buy both. The game for $25 I end up not liking and quit it very early. But the game for $10 gets me completely addicted and I put thousands of hours into it. That really gives me this weird frustrating feeling that the developer of the game I didn't like got more money from me than the developer who made my personal game of the year.

Sometimes I wish I could pay for games after being done with them rather than before starting to play. And then determine the price myself. So that the developers I like the most get the most money from me too.
Inflating a price and then heavily discounting is an old sales trick and I try to prompt my brain to just look at the actual price they are actually asking for rather than how much % off. Like you, I've had times when I've payed very little for a game (e.g. in a Steam sale) and have ended up loving it so much that I feel a little guilty at the low price I paid. In that case I try to make a point to buy the developer's next game at full price.
 

Rya.Reisender

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Inflating a price and then heavily discounting is an old sales trick and I try to prompt my brain to just look at the actual price they are actually asking for rather than how much % off. Like you, I've had times when I've payed very little for a game (e.g. in a Steam sale) and have ended up loving it so much that I feel a little guilty at the low price I paid. In that case I try to make a point to buy the developer's next game at full price.
Yes, I do that too!

Though sometimes developers don't leave me any choice because by the time they release it on GoG it's already heavily discounted. Like I got Lords of the Fallen 75% off when it was released, didn't expect to like it due to many negative things I've heard and loved it (it's the first "Soulslike" game I ever played as it was the first one to be released DRM-free). Was totally ready to buy The Surge at full price once it got to GoG. Only two months ago it finally was released on GoG, again already with -75% discount. I immediately bought it and all its expansions.

Similar happened to Numantian Games. Big fan of their game designer, already loved the blog entries on game design from him and enjoyed Lords of Xulima. But They Are Billions was already 25% off when released on GoG too. Totally addicted to that game now, putting 200 hours into it already. Feel like the developer doesn't really get the money he deserves with me only paying $20 for it.
 
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Pejo

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If anything, I think that Valve just needs a better algorithm for curation. We simply have too many games on Steam now, it's impossible to find the hidden gems unless you get positive word of mouth or see a thread about it here or at other enthusiasts sites. The old Greenlight system wasn't perfect, but at least it kept shovelware and asset flip games out of the running for the most part. Discovery queue is pretty good generally, but there's no incentive to do it outside of the sales events for bonuses. They should toss you a free random card from a game in your library every time you go through it or something. Just anything to up the value so that people would want to look through it on the daily.

Price definitely has some decision making powers for me personally though. I have a wishlist of like 150 games, and I'll almost always pull the trigger when a game is 5 bucks or less. It's not always the case though, sometimes I buy on release for full price, or wait for a sale of anything more than a few bucks, depending on the game and how excited I am to play it.
 

demigod

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$25+ game with 5,000 copies selling way more than a $15 game with 2,000 copies? No fucking shit sherlocke. Does this guy think he’s a genius or something?
 

zeorhymer

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Wow...that guy is....captain obvious and completely does not know how markets work. The counter argument that the other person replied to him was spot on. I, as an above average consumer, would want to buy a no name indie title for 25 bucks where I can get AAA, AA, or even a B title published by major companies when they are on sale.

Of course "fans" of the previous games would buy it for $25, but what about people who've never played your game? They're not going to spend that much on an unknown. Also, his reply to *fuck* epic...well fuck him and fuck epic. It wasn't about devs doing an exclusive, it was devs doing an exclusive while they were promoting their games on Steam and turning into an exclusive right before launch.
 
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Shadowstar39

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Again with this 30% thing with steam? Come on.
Why do people never talk about the fact that, on top of the famous "12%" that Epic take on the games, up to another 20% of the remaining sales is distributed to "influencers", youtubers, streamers and such who promote the games for Epic?
A lot of people try to not see all the facts regarding the revenue split on the epic store, it's not as "great" as some may think.

I agree that 30% is a lot, but this hate on Valve for this is really ridiculous, everyone is acting like they are the bad guys while it's just been the standard for a long time, not just for steam. Should this standard be changed? If they can find ways to, sure (and if that way is having a barebone plateform like the epic store... then nope, steamworks is just too great) but don't be all against Valve for this, it's really just what Epic wanted, marketing everything around this famous "12%" to appear as the good guy, while there's still other stuff going on, stuff that people want to ignore.
Yeah I don't get the steam hate here. Makes no sense. Steam isn't doing exclusive shill ideals and let's content on with out being a heavy boot of censorship that some (cough Era, idiots, authoritarian douchebags cough) want to happen.

I like steam, been a member since vampire bloodlines and half-life 2 hit. I don't like switching launchers. I actually prefer GOG to all though, as no store is required and the extras are nice, plus drm free.

Epic seems slimy and underhanded. Also if some company is paying you tubers (influencers so Orwellian wtf..) I will no longer trust said shill.. Er I mean youtuber.
 

sixamp

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So if I'm reading this correctly an indie game on steam will sell less so taking a down payment from epic is good to protect the dev? But if that same game still sells low on egs the only thing the dev made was the payout from epic.
 

DrJohnGalt

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From a consumer standpoint, I can't think of a single time I've pay $25 for a digital indie game on Steam (or console). If it got good reviews I might wait and spend $15. But I rarely spend over $5 for digital indie games on PC. I'll wait for a bungle/Steam sale. So sure, devs could price their games higher and theoretically make more, but that's assuming buyers will still purchase the same amount. I think that part of his analysis is flawed.
 

Ballthyrm

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This is mainly a problem of curation, the money didn't disappear it just went to shitty games.
Steam totally dropped the ball on that when they opened the flood gates.

It doesn't really change anything for Steam as they take their cut no matter what, so it is in their interest to cast a wider net.

While this is good for Steam i think the opening of the floodgates was bad for the players. Steam effectively forced their players to sort the crap from the good stuff. They don't put a value on it, at all. It's not like people running a playlist have affiliate store or stuff like this.

IMHO Steam should find a way to compensate people doing the hard job of curation.
 
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kiunchbb

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I doubt 20% of games in steam worth more than a dollar. It is like YouTube or real business, only the top 1% is worth mentioning. Everyone else just have to get better or be replace by someone better. Making it more expensive does nothing.

There are so many games nowadays I don't really care about release day any more. I don't mind waiting till a $60 game become $10 before buying, there are thousands of game waiting in line for new. When I pay full price, I am sacrificing my spending power to support the developer. Artificially raising the price will lose that incentive from me.
 

ROMhack

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I'm the kind of person who would pay $25 for an indie game I'm really excited about, and did with games like Fez, INSIDE and Quadrilateral Cowboy. I've only glanced this topic but what he's saying makes sense to me based on that. The Witness launched as a full price game and would be an interesting case study.

I think though that it must be hard to break out as a new indie developer. The market is genuinely crowded. The culture of indie gaming was a lot more exciting a few years ago. I also don't blame developers for taking the money EGS are throwing at them.

This is mainly a problem of curation, the money didn't disappear it just went to shitty games.
Steam totally dropped the ball on that when they opened the flood gates.

It doesn't really change anything for Steam as they take their cut no matter what, so it is in their interest to cast a wider net.

While this is good for Steam i think the opening of the floodgates was bad for the players. Steam effectively forced their players to sort the crap from the good stuff. They don't put a value on it, at all. It's not like people running a playlist have affiliate store or stuff like this.

IMHO Steam should find a way to compensate people doing the hard job of curation.
From what I've read on Valve, they don't really believe in this. They've become a company driven by data, which they use to develop algorithms that are supposed to provide tailor made experiences for each Steam user based on their previous purchases.

With respect to the bold, you're right. Affiliate links have long been used for the same purposes. I suspect that people become curators so that they can themselves grow into a marketing brand in their own right, which is how Steam seems to view the feature.
 
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iorek21

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Thing is, no one really cares for yet another generic pixelated 2D indie game.

It takes 500 indie games for an Undertale, Hollow Knight or Papers Please to come out

Thats why it sells less
 

A.Romero

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This is interesting info but a shit argument to support EGS tactics.

I do, however, agree with the author about not giving shit to developers for taking an exclusivity deal. They should make the best decision possible with the data they have at the moment of taking the decision. Even if they originally promised it in other platforms. It's a shitty tactic and probably wouldn't buy from them in the future but still it's their right. Same as it is my right as a consumer to pull my pre-order at the last second for whatever reason.

EGS tactics are shitty not because they are feeding the developers but because they are trying to paint it as some kind of strategy to save PC gaming from the Steam tyrants and they try to take consumers on a guilt trip.
 

Kadayi

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As Theodore Sturgeon noted - "90% of everything is crap" and games are no exception

I think its all very well for Mike Rose to say to Indie Developers to raise their prices, but I think most people are astute enough to understand that there is a price point that the market will pay. There's also 'Indie' and then there is 'Indie . There is a big difference between what a one man/woman outfit can produce versus what an Indie studio-like 'Play Dead' can concoct for instance.

If someone comes up with a cool innovative concept which I can delight in for a few hours, sure I'm happy to reward that, but I'm not going to hand them over $30, unless its the second coming or something. That's just crazy thinking when AAA is still batting around $60-80 with hundreds of developers involved. Sure the metrics in terms of sales are notably different, but still the money has to be earned based on the output.
 
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sol_bad

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How, exactly, did he get those numbers?

EDIT: didn't see that was already answered.

Oh, out of his ass. Ok.
Like for example, who the eff joins the group for every single game they buy?
I haven't joined any of the groups of any of the games I've bought on Steam.
I've never reviewed a game on Steam.
I'd imagine a hell of a lot of people are similar to me.
 

Keihart

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As someone who buys indie games on a whim if they are cheap, i disagree, but that's only my anecdotal perception.
I imagine that the most successful indie games are not an accurate representation of the situation because those games already have word of mouth to push sales or generate new fans.
 

Weiji

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Indie steam games are an in elastic good huh?

BWAHHHhahahahahahahahahahahahahah*Takes a breath* hahahahahahahahahahaha ha ha haha...ha
 
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Screamer-RSA

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He should use his years of experience and estimate EGS sales numbers. Also good luck getting me to pay $30 for a 4 hr long indie game.

I'd like to know how well those hentai games are doing..
Not really hentai, but Subverse is on Steam's top 10 best selling games this year. :messenger_grinning_squinting:
 

CuteFaceJay

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Isn't this because with each steam sale they become less interesting as a lot of folks have already bought all the games they wanted?

I've for sure noticed a drop in my spending on Steam over the last few years.
 

Charlie Tunoku

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Since Xbox game pass ultimate i have spent way less on steam. But i an reversing course after noticing how many games leave game pass and liking to play on my time.
 
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Dec 25, 2018
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Allow me to direct you to my first post this on forum. Where I make the case that Steam is a curated service.
"Cool Story Bro" since you want to go there.

There are still arguments where they could vastly improve, and it seems that Epic despite all the crap they are getting (and for good reason) are curating a better service.

Not saying that there is no curation, but the one they have now is awful and lazily put together since they have a monopoly. Unless you wish to argue that they don't have a monopoly?

Like I said earlier, GoG seem to have a smaller but overall more quality content and is usually DRM free.
 
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sixamp

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Steam is an open platform for all developers, the game curation is bleh but when you have 10,000+ games that span 15+ years it's hard to have everythijg on the front page.

Nintendo has the same problem

Egs doesn't have many games compared to steam so games are seen more especially the epic paid for games
 
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Three

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Benefiting devs is nice, but benefiting customers is so much better. Make prices lower than on PSN and Xbox Live, because that's what made Steam a hit in the first place.
On valve games? If devs/publishers aren't happy with 70% of some amount why would the be happy with 70% of a lower amount?
 
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down 2 orth

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On valve games? If devs/publishers aren't happy with 70% of some amount why would the be happy with 70% of a lower amount?
Because in theory Steam games could go on a steeper discount if Valve cuts the price from its 30% take. As opposed to giving devs and publishers a larger cut, it would make them more competitive and also benefit consumers.