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Survey shows devs are more concerned over Steam's algorithm

Survey shows devs are more concerned over Steam's algorithm

December 10, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell

Following Valve's decision to change their revenue share splits and Epic's launch of a new digital storefront, developers have many things to consider now when it comes to publishing their games to Steam or not.

Indie developer Lars Doucet published a survey earlier today reaching out to fellow devs across the world spanning different communities, with some choosing to reveal information about their lifetime earnings on Steam.

Doucet conducted a Steam developer survey in the past, noting that this year's results should be taken with a grain of salt given the time constraint, authenticity of some answers, and unintentionally ambiguous language used when asking questions. 

When asked what the more important issues plaguing Steam were, devs shared concerns over "not getting screwed by the algorithm," More transparency from Valve, and curation. According to Doucet's survey, the results were pretty consistent among revenue tiers.

"Given how much ink has been spilled about revenue share, it's interesting to see that topic edged out by 'Not getting screwed by the algorithm', and also to see this concern shared across revenue tiers -- at least in this sample, it's not just the < 250K crowd, it's everyone, even the million+ earners," Doucet notes. 

The survey also asked devs to share their opinions about Valve, which Doucet points out has had an overall negative shift compared to last year's study. "The 'Western' sub-group actually feels more negative about Steam than the overall population," Doucet points out.

"The biggest thing that sticks out in the survey is that revenue share is not developer's #1 concern. I mean it's way way up there (nearly tied for first in fact), but the top issue is not getting screwed by 'the algorithm," he shares in his analysis. 

"Even if Valve is hearing developers' concerns, they aren't listening to them. The difference is that listening includes understanding, as well as acknowledgment," he adds.

"To Valve's credit, they have added some improvements to the developer support system. But there's still plenty of developers who feel shut out, and as this chart clearly shows the sentiment is getting worse."

The entire survey goes into more depth around how devs feel about curation and transparency, so interested developers can look at that here. Be sure to take the results with a grain of salt. 

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