Since Valve opened Steam To external developers and distributors between 2005 and 2006, the platform for the distribution of digital games for PC has grown exponentially and, in fact, one of the main criticisms that is made is the huge number of video games that it has today. It is not surprising that we have a certain feeling of oversaturation, since In 2020 alone, more than 9000 new games were released, which was a new record in the history of the platform.
Has been Thomas Altenburger, director of the independent studio Flying Oak Games (ScourgeBringer, NeuroVoider), who has revealed this impressive data after conducting an investigation on the Steam database: in total, last year 9279 new video games were published in 2020, which means that a new title was published every hour, approximately. This number doubles the number of games published on Steam in 2016.
More in-depth data if we filter only indie games:
6376 indie games in 2020.
50% of indies sold less than 640 units.
75% of indies sold less than 2480 units.
5% of games made 88% of all sales.— Thomas Altenburger 🍕🍍 (@mrhelmut) July 7, 2021
Obviously, the greater the number of games, the more competition between them and the more saturation in the market, a trend that according to Altenburger data, hurts smaller productions: 50% of Steam games have sold less than 640 units, while that 75% do not manage to exceed 2800 copies sold. In fact, this independent developer’s research reveals that 5% of Steam games get 90% of all platform sales.
If we talk specifically about indie games, the figures are very similar: in 2020 a total of 6376 indies games, of which half did not sell more than 640 units. 75% of those titles did not exceed 2,480 copies sold on the platform. And, again, the majority of sales are left to a minority: 5% of the indies on Steam accumulate 88% of the total indie games sold on the platform.
Also important to note:
There is no correlation between positive reviews and sales.
A good game isn’t guaranteed to sell, as much as a bad game isn’t guaranteed to fail.— Thomas Altenburger 🍕🍍 (@mrhelmut) July 7, 2021
Finally, Thomas Altenburger draws two more conclusions: the first is that there is no correlation between the reviews positive users and the number of sales, and the second is that “a good game does not have to sell well in the same way that a bad game is not guaranteed to sell badly. “In this way, the director of Flying Oak Games reflects on how Steam does not seem to be the best place to present a humble production.