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New Steam games vie for visibility against older back catalog games Exclusive
New Steam games vie for visibility against older back catalog games
May 16, 2014 | By Mike Rose

May 16, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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    16 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



Following Gamasutra's in-depth report into the influx of Steam releases over the past several months, today we look in more detail at what sorts of games you'll be competing with if you release a game on Steam in 2014.

More games have been released on Steam in the first 20 weeks of 2014 than during the entirely of 2013. But we wondered how many recent releases were brand new, versus previously-released back catalog games that were newly added to Steam.

And how many of those games are Early Access, and/or came via successful Greenlight campaigns? To provide a snapshot, we pulled data from the latest 300-plus releases on Steam to give you a general idea of what sorts of games will be taking up the "New Releases" page on the same day that you release your own game.

Let's tackle new vs. old first. From the games that we pulled data for, 56 percent were brand new releases or Early Access games, while the other 44 percent were old games brought to Steam for the first time.

If we delve deeper into when these games were originally released, 75 percent were released during this decade -- that is, released for PC, Mac or Linux since 2011.

By comparison, 18 percent originally came out during the 2000-2010 period, while the other 7 percent originally released during the 90s. None of the games in our dataset originally released before the 90s.

Notably, if we just count new releases on Steam during 2014, and forgo back catalog additions, this means around 340 of the 600-plus games released during 2014 are actually new.

Clearly, then, there's a lot of publishers dumping back catalogs on Steam. For example, out of the latest 300-plus releases we examined, Strategy First, 1C Company and Humongous Entertainment brought the most catalog games to Steam. They each tend to dump multiple titles are once, meaning that the New Releases tab isn't constantly clogged up with their old games.

Of course, if your game releases on the same day as one of these back catalog dumps, you could see your new release disappear from the front page within hours. But there's only so much backcatalog that can be brought to Steam, so hopefully we'll see these dumps dying down soon.

As for Early Access games -- how many of those came to Steam, compared to full releases? 17 percent of the games we pulled data for are either currently Early Access games, or were Early Access before fully launching.

Note that Early Access games do not appear in the "New Releases" tab until their full releases, so if your game is a full release, you won't have to compete for visibility with these titles at least.

As for Greenlight, it turns out that working out how many games made it through the Greenlight process is tougher than anticipated. Valve recently altered the rules such that you do not need to display your "Chosen by the Greenlight community" banner on your store page, and as it turns out, not many developers want to display this to the world.

Of the 300-plus games we surveyed, just nine featured the Greenlight banner. This doesn't indicate how many games are coming through Greenlight, but given that the number must be higher than this (hundreds of games have been Greenlit in the last year), it's clear that many devs are choosing to remove the Greenlight banner from their game store pages.

For an in-depth look at what the current influx of titles on Steam means to developers, be sure to check out our big feature.

Data for the charts above was collected from steampowered.com's "new releases" section.


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Comments


Kujel Selsuru
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This is the solution to steam https://gamesrepublic.com/

Charles Cresswell
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you posted exactly the same line without explanation on a previous related article, and back then you were asked to explain yourself.

Michael Thornberg
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You've got to be joking? That is the emptiest site I've ever seen. I've got more Windows games on my own physical shelf. That said, don't you think it is better to promote you own site by simply writing about it as an article here? This guerrilla marketing tactic of yours isn't working that well :) Just saying.

Kujel Selsuru
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@Charles Cresswell: When I last checked that post no one had responded so I did not realize someone had asked for clairification. Since you asked my point is these guys have a much better idea then steam and steam is a problem itself.

What I mean by steam is a problem itself is not only is it a monopoly but it has done really nothing to help developers in general. A few indies got lucky enough to get on before greenlight and pretty much anything with a publisher gets a free pass, plus countless other little issues.

What I mean by a better idea is these guys are trying to create a place were, game developers, game critics, and gamers all connect. They already allow custom "stores" and encourage users to help promote games they like. The heart of what is great about this idea is it is trying to bring all the emotionally invested people together in one community. This is something I strongly feel is good for all of us.

@Michael Thornberg: I have no connection to the operators of Games Republic, I just happen to feel they are trying to something that is good for gamers, game developers, and even game critics.

Kyle Redd
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The charge that Steam is a monopoly is flat wrong, though you certainly aren't the first person to make that claim nor will you be the last. To be a monopoly requires a degree of exclusivity or control that Valve does not have.

There is not a single game sold on Steam that is exclusive to the store; all games may be sold anywhere else without any deference or royalty given to Valve whatsoever. Even Valve-published games have been sold freely through other stores since the day Steam launched.

Even if Steam were a monopoly, Valve hasn't taken any steps to exercise the power that having a monopoly would give them. Activation keys are available to all Steam publishers without limitation or fees of any kind. In fact, since the start of the year I haven't purchased a single game through the Steam store, yet I have activated and downloaded more than a dozen from Valve's servers, which means that during this period Valve has been losing money in order to keep me as a customer. No monopoly would ever be willing to tolerate this arrangement.

James McDermott
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Gabe Newell is astutely aware of this, and is actually trying to make Steam more like Gamers Republic. In fact, there was an article just last year on the topic: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/186168/

James McDermott
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I watched the Gamers Republic "what's this?" video, and it seemed rather shortsighted to me. It seems to rely heavily on bloggers - as in, people with a physical website - while completely ignoring those on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. In other words, popular Internet personalities like TotalBiscuit and PewDePie would be completely incapable of taking advantage of Gamers Republic without adding a physical website - something quite antithetical to how they operate.

I think Gamers Republic a good idea, but Valve itself is already pushing Steam towards a similar position (see my previous comment), and I also think it's got an unnecessarily-limited target audience by nature of its demonetization method.

Charles Cresswell
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"But there's only so much backcatalog that can be brought to Steam, so hopefully we'll see these dumps dying down soon."

but there is plenty of scope for a continuing cycle of dumping short development template games from the mobile market places, as has been happening on steam. yes you will not get pushed out of the new releases list in the same way as a back catalogue dump, but it still makes the page a lot busier.

perhaps as a part of the promised user customisation there needs to be some limits on space per publishing account by default, so in a week say a publisher can post one headline item with an 'this publisher also released these items recently...'

Ron Dippold
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There are thousands of those hidden object games. Or absolutely at least hundreds. During the heyday I remember an exec at one of the casual game websites saying (probably here or in GD mag) that they were publishing /one new one per day/. You just need some backgrounds, some highly reusable assets, and the flimsiest of stories. The engine and all the infrastructure was completely reusable.

Okay, hopefully those won't all be coming to Steam, but potentially it could be really messy.

Jason Withrow
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"During the heyday"? That's Big Fish Games, they've been doing it for years and they're still doing it now (and they're not exactly alone), and if you're going to be mad at it, you should look into their auto-purchasing model first, to be angrier. If you sign up to their subscription model, they'll buy "credit" for games for you at regular intervals if you don't buy things on your own. And if you don't sign up for their subscription service, you can pay upwards of double to 4x more a game. Releasing a new game daily is their way of providing a spread to the people who have agreed to pay them on the regular.

Jason Withrow
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I just realized that by "during the heyday" you were just dating the article. My mistake! Oh well. Here is some information on Big Fish's business model for no good reason, I guess.

Ron Dippold
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@Jason: +1 for coming up with the name, and that they're still doing this. Your effort was not wasted!

So yeah, I'm definitely going with thousands.

Dane MacMahon
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If indie games prove graphics matter less than fun gameplay then surely any game from the early 90's and up is still a viable digital seller. It flies in the face of the supposed "old games don't sell, backwards compatibility is pointless" argument we always hear from corporations, but yet someone must be making money or else GOG would not exist and Steam wouldn't sell GOG's scraps.

Kujel Selsuru
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GOG is an awesome service, I've downloaded several classics from them :)

David Paris
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I like your reasoning on this. It is funny in practice, because it turns out that while graphics matter less, they are still noticable. As are the improvement to UI that we've all gotten used to and expect. I'm also really loathe to break out the graph paper and make my own maps now. In-game mapping doing away with that nuisance is a win.

There really has been a lot of progress in the basic polish and creation process over time, but the underlying mechanics of old games are just as awesome as they always were. I'll happily play Star Control II, Master of Monsters, Sacrifice, Torment, etc... despite their clearly dated presentation because of exactly that. But I also dream of new versions that could manage to capture these gameplay elements and wrap them in the current level of refinement.

That turns out to be a hard job, because making a copy of a game where you didn't truly understand the full depth of experience turns out to be a really flat copy, as many failed rebirths have shown us.

Tanya X Short
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Just as a note, if you go to Greenlight, it says 312 Greenlight games have been released (of 853 Greenlit). :) It doesn't help explain which from your particular dataset are Greenlit, but it can help with make a few small calculations..


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