According to the company, its decision to run consistent discounts for the entirety of the sale -- rather than flash sales where games were only at their lowest price for a brief period of time -- resulted in more traffic to a larger variety of games.
By enticing Steam users with a free trading card for browsing their Discovery Queue, traffic shot up -- but Valve says that the traffic was legitimate and also resulted in purchases, despite fears that offering Steam users rewards to browse would have the opposite result: "... this year we saw a 197 percent increase in the rate of wishlist additions during the sale," the blog post reads.
Notably, by showcasing more games, players were surfaced a larger number of titles. "We looked at performance of the group of games outside of the Top 500 in revenue terms. This group collected 35 percent of product page traffic during the sale, which is over 4x their share of traffic from the previous winter sale. And these weren’t just idle views -- we also saw 45 percent growth in the revenue generated by this group of games as compared with the last winter sale."
As expected, however, the big winners were big-name games. Steam Spy tracked Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V, and The Witcher III in the top three slots during the sale. Rocket League, Ark: Survival Evolved, Rust, and Undertale were the indies that made the top 15 -- four games which mark an even split between the survival genre (perennially popular on Steam) and two titles that earned frequent Game of the Year mentions.