Valve leaked Steam game player counts.

Leonidas

"Ask me about computers"
Mar 6, 2007
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A recently discovered hole in Valve's API allowed observers to generate extremely precise and publicly accessible data for the total number of players for thousands of Steam games. While Valve has now closed this inadvertent data leak, Ars can still provide the data it revealed as a historical record of the aggregate popularity of a large portion of the Steam library...

This snapshot, accurate as of July 1, will surely grow less useful as time goes on, and it isn't useful at all for the significant portion of the Steam library that don't use Achievements. (Such games aren't included in the data set.) Despite that, and the other caveats listed above, we're happy to share what is probably the most robust and precise data currently available regarding the relative popularity of a large proportion of the Steam library.
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018...-precise-player-count-for-thousands-of-games/

http://www.arstechnica.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/games_achievements_players_2018-07-01.csv

Top 25
 
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May 24, 2012
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Wow this is a huge find. I just downloaded that spreadsheet and it has sales estimates for 13,281 games. The worst selling Steam game only sold 3 copies.

RIP Steamspy
 
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May 24, 2012
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Only 5,038 Steam games (38% of this list) sold 10,000 copies or more.
Only 2,625 Steam games (20% of this list) sold 50,000 copies or more.

Wow. I can see why Steam is a race to the bottom price-wise, and why so many indies were looking for new avenues like Switch.

If your game sells for $10, and you sell 7,000 copies, and Valve takes a 30% cut...you only make $50K from your endeavor. That's just not enough to support multiple people or any kind of a dev team.
 
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Mar 19, 2018
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I have a feeling this isn't a list of active players and is just a list of people who purchased these games. Because every Steam owner I know gets in on their big sales and loves buying games that they end up never playing and many of them have hundreds of unplayed games. I wonder how many of those "players" listed are those.

The sales data is much more interesting. It's very hard to get digital sales numbers though this is sadly just one of many sources for online sales so it's not a complete list.

Wow. So many of those games in the top 30 are as old as dirt.
Since we tend to make the poor assumption that the folks on these message boards represent all gamers (we don't) we forget how many folks just play the same MP game over and over or only play one or two games every year. I know many folks who still just mostly play Team Fortress and have done so since it came out so that game at the top does not surprise me...especially since that's likely the players recorded since it came out in 2000.

Wow. I can see why Steam is a race to the bottom price-wise, and why so many indies were looking for new avenues like Switch.
Sadly, Steam has kind of become like the Windows Apps where it's just tons of shovelware and cheap knock-offs of other games so, without promotion, so many games on Steam are just lost in the shuffle.
 
Likes: Kadayi
Jan 28, 2010
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Only 5,038 Steam games (38% of this list) sold 10,000 copies or more.
Only 2,625 Steam games (20% of this list) sold 50,000 copies or more.

Wow. I can see why Steam is a race to the bottom price-wise, and why so many indies were looking for new avenues like Switch.

If your game sells for $10, and you sell 7,000 copies, and Valve takes a 30% cut...you only make $50K from your endeavor. That's just not enough to support multiple people or any kind of a dev team.
The Switch makes sense for undies because there are no games for the thing so it's much easier to get your game seen. If Switch had the support of the PS4 and Xbone it would not be the same situation.
 
Mar 19, 2018
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Is it just me or are Valve artificially inflating their numbers? I was playing L4D2 the other day and it was impossible to find a lobby.
Again, I just think this represents TOTAL sales over the entire life of the product. Which is why Counter Strike and Team Fortress are so high since they've been around for over 15 years now and have been likely the top-promoted game on Steam among that time. Not a coincidence that many of the top games on the list are Valve games.

It doesn't mean these are all the people who are actively playing the game...just that they bought it at one time.
 
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Likes: Mugatu
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Since we tend to make the poor assumption that the folks on these message boards represent all gamers (we don't) we forget how many folks just play the same MP game over and over or only play one or two games every year. I know many folks who still just mostly play Team Fortress and have done so since it came out so that game at the top does not surprise me...especially since that's likely the players recorded since it came out in 2000.
Why don't you think gaming boards like these don't represent a good cross section of all gamers?

Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate the longevity of today's games. I think it's awesome. My kids and I routinely have fun with decades old NES/SNES games. I guess my comment was a tongue-in-cheek jab at the PCMR with their $1200+ battle stations to play games from over 5+ years ago...

Only 5,038 Steam games (38% of this list) sold 10,000 copies or more.
Only 2,625 Steam games (20% of this list) sold 50,000 copies or more.

Wow. I can see why Steam is a race to the bottom price-wise, and why so many indies were looking for new avenues like Switch.

If your game sells for $10, and you sell 7,000 copies, and Valve takes a 30% cut...you only make $50K from your endeavor. That's just not enough to support multiple people or any kind of a dev team.
While is a single set of data, it is arguably one of the more accurate snapshots of PC gaming. Those numbers are shocking small to me. I would love to see another column that shows the average selling price of each title. How exactly is PC gaming viable for developers?
 
Feb 22, 2018
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Only 5,038 Steam games (38% of this list) sold 10,000 copies or more.
Only 2,625 Steam games (20% of this list) sold 50,000 copies or more.

Wow. I can see why Steam is a race to the bottom price-wise, and why so many indies were looking for new avenues like Switch.

If your game sells for $10, and you sell 7,000 copies, and Valve takes a 30% cut...you only make $50K from your endeavor. That's just not enough to support multiple people or any kind of a dev team.
Indeed. I know the dev of a small rpg (link to the past-esque) that he put on steam. It is rated 8/10, well received. Only $5. He has sold <1000 copies thus far. Took him and a friend 2 years to make. Less than $1,500 profit per dev member for hundreds or thousands of hours of effort.
 
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Likes: Insane Metal
Jun 25, 2015
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#23
Wow this is a huge find. I just downloaded that spreadsheet and it has sales estimates for 13,281 games. The worst selling Steam game only sold 3 copies.

RIP Steamspy
Wow, I'm one of the 105 people who have played HELI-COMMANDO 2017 o_O
That's a cool game. Reminds me of old C64 games like Choplifter and Fort Apocalypse. I didn't think it would have sold too much but I never thought only about 100 people have played it.
 
Jul 1, 2018
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#25
Only 5,038 Steam games (38% of this list) sold 10,000 copies or more.
Only 2,625 Steam games (20% of this list) sold 50,000 copies or more.

Wow. I can see why Steam is a race to the bottom price-wise, and why so many indies were looking for new avenues like Switch.

If your game sells for $10, and you sell 7,000 copies, and Valve takes a 30% cut...you only make $50K from your endeavor. That's just not enough to support multiple people or any kind of a dev team.
Even less after taxes.
 
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While is a single set of data, it is arguably one of the more accurate snapshots of PC gaming. Those numbers are shocking small to me. I would love to see another column that shows the average selling price of each title. How exactly is PC gaming viable for developers?
The way I always understood it, most of the games that come out on consoles break even, or turn a profit, there (at least, that's the plan). So PC game sales basically just serve as pure profits, which is why they can get away with those really large discounts. I imagine that the games that either rarely go on sale or only have small discounts are the ones in which this isn't the case and they're still trying to break even (or the game is just super popular and they know people will continue to pay full price for it).

As for PC only games, they tend to rely more on micro-transactions and DLC/expansion packs to provide continuous income to cover lower overall game sales or they're indie games that have lower production cost and don't need to sell 1M copies in order to break even.
 
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Dec 18, 2013
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@Horsemama1956 meant to quote post 11 but butchered it.



This strategy only makes sense for a while, before it implodes.

New Switch buyers today might be willing to explore more, once more games are out and first time buyers are overwhelmed, many of these games are going to start getting passed over.

If Nintendo doesn’t figure this out quick, the estore is about to be as hard to navigate as steam, and discoverability will become much worse.
 
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Leonidas

"Ask me about computers"
Mar 6, 2007
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#32
PC gamers sure like old games.
It's a list of top selling games. Look at top selling games from PS2, PS1, Xbox 360, nDS. Games from those consoles sold more than the top selling games of the current gen.

Fascinating stuff. Fallout is nowhere near as popular as Skyrim which a bit of an eyeopener. 6 million versus 13 million. lots to pour over.
Skyrim has been out over twice as long and has been on sale many more times and for cheaper than Fallout 4.

Surprised TF2 is so high.
I wonder where it would have fallen had they not went free to play.

more people played warframe than counter strike? is this real life?
Counter Strike Go numbers are almost 3x higher than Warframe.
 
Oct 10, 2012
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#34
GTAV number shows why Rockstar will always focus console first.
Yeah, I was surprised that GTA V was only at 12Mil. The game consistently seems to be in the top sellers. I figured it was way past that on PC.


Skyrim has been out over twice as long and has been on sale many more times and for cheaper than Fallout 4.
Mayhap. I'd of still expected it to be closer in terms of overall sales.
 
Jun 13, 2018
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Payday 2 is surprisingly high on that list.
It was given out for free a year ago. This is not a sales list.
If your game sells for $10, and you sell 7,000 copies, and Valve takes a 30% cut...you only make $50K from your endeavor.
Your basing this on the fact that Nintendo doesn't take a cut from their sales, which is just plain wrong. Also Steam is not the only store available on PC.
 
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9.1 million people for Ark, 6.6 million for Fallout 4, this lends credence as to why Bethesda is making Fallout 76. Rust is literally right above Ark at over 9.1 million as well.

5.4 million for Witcher 3 as well for reference, and then Skyrim has 13 million for the regular edition and 4.4 million for the special edition. Elder Scrolls is just a juggernaut.

Extremely heartening to see Fallout New Vegas at 5.2 Million (edit: It's actually listed twice, likely for the Ultimate edition, though still named Fallout New Vegas, at 690k, which would bring the total to over 5.9 mil) . And nice to see Saints Row 3 at 5.1 & S4 at 5.2 million. Agents of Mayhem isn't even on the list.

Also interesting that Baldur's Gate 1 Enhanced Edition has over 745k and BG2 EE only has 420k. Planescape Torment EE isn't even on the list, or the new Torment, or Icewind Dale EE, nor Neverwinter EE. Wasteland 2 has 600k. Pillars of Eternity has 1.2 million and the sequel isn't on the list at all, eek. At least the console version is coming, I'll double dip on the X1X.

Grim Dawn at 1.4 mil, I can live with that for now, but it needs to be higher and the Xbox version will definitely give it a boost.

And for shame none of my roguelikes are on the list like Tales of May Eyal (one of the very best), Caves of Qud (tons of potential), Dungeonmans (has 4k support and partial controller support), and ADOM.

Terraria at 13 million is also awesome, it my most played game on steam as well in terms of hours. Tales of Maj'Eyal being second.

Edit: Final edit to add in the enigma that is Euro Truck Simulator 2 at just under 6 million, below Fallout 4, but above Witcher 3.
 
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Jun 23, 2013
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#39
Damn. PoE II is barely a 6th of PoE in terms of units.
Yeah, not good. Hopefully the console version gives it a boost with the controller support and likely 4k (even Titan Quest on consoles has 4k).

Edit: and silly me, didn't notice the csv file link.

So for my roguelikes we got:

Tales of Maj'Eyal 176,493
Caves of Qud 57,607
Dungeonmans 25,599
ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery) 31,818

And for the Beamdog EE Infinity games we got:
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition 745,407
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition 420,031
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition 154,901
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition 109,926 (Tides of Numenera at 206,681)
Neverwinter Nights: EE not listed. Didn't realize it doesn't have achievements, odd.
 
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Likes: Kadayi
Jun 25, 2015
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#40
Even less after taxes.
Yeah, especially in Finland a lot gets slashed off from the sales.
First Steam takes its 30%.
Then, if you earn more than 7 656 euros, you have to start to pay somewhere around 20-25% as some pension payments.
Then, if you earn more than 9999 euros, you have to start to pay VAT which is 24% (unless this is somehow included already in the Steam cut).
Then you have to pay the general taxes on top of that.

I would say in Finland it could very well be even over 70% from the sales that goes other places than your pocket.
Then we have progressive taxing which means that the more you earn the more you have to pay taxes. If you earn over 100,000 euros the money you get from your sales might not be more than 20%. Obviously at that point you are already getting enough money to be satisfied and not worry about money but it won't support big groups. It could work for 1-2 or 3 people indie groups but not for more than that.
 
Feb 10, 2007
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#41
The most interesting thing about the list is how unlikely any game is to turn a profit. A good 2/3rds of the list sold 10,000 copies or less. Often a lot less. Barely sustainable.
 
Jun 14, 2013
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GTAV number shows why Rockstar will always focus console first.
Yeah, I was surprised that GTA V was only at 12Mil. The game consistently seems to be in the top sellers. I figured it was way past that on PC.
I think Rockstar Social Club has something to do with this. My PC copies are RSC not Steam.

Most maybe all of the key sellers sell RSC codes not Steam, and the best sales have been through those sites.
 
Mar 11, 2006
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#43
Indeed. I know the dev of a small rpg (link to the past-esque) that he put on steam. It is rated 8/10, well received. Only $5. He has sold <1000 copies thus far. Took him and a friend 2 years to make. Less than $1,500 profit per dev member for hundreds or thousands of hours of effort.
Damn... that's depressing :(
 
Jun 14, 2013
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#44
5.4 million for Witcher 3 as well for reference, and then Skyrim has 13 million for the regular edition and 4.4 million for the special edition. Elder Scrolls is just a juggernaut.

Edit: Final edit to add in the enigma that is Euro Truck Simulator 2 at just under 6 million, below Fallout 4, but above Witcher 3.
Witcher doesn't use Steam as DRM. It was DRM-free on GOG day one, and I'm pretty sure all versions of the game not sold direct through Steam were sold as a GOG game.
 
Jun 23, 2013
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Witcher doesn't use Steam as DRM. It was DRM-free on GOG day one, and I'm pretty sure all versions of the game not sold direct through Steam were sold as a GOG game.
Sure I get that, it's a bit unique since they have their own platform (GOG) as well. Still interesting nonetheless. But looking at those total Skyrim numbers just on Steam, then factor in ps3/xbox360, ps4/xbox1, Switch, and it's just sold a ton. Not as much as some of the multiplayer games on that list, but for a singleplayer game it's sold a lot. All in all it's good to see various singleplayer games selling so well.

Also random but Kingdom's of Amalur sold more copies than Kingdom Come Deliverance. The prior studio got shut down, the latter is a success story. Of course, there's more to it than that, but this list is interesting.