Nearly 40 percent of all games on Steam were released this year

Games published shot up from roughly 1700 in 2013 to over 4200 this year.

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According to statistics compiled by business and development app Steam Spy, nearly 40 percent of Steam's library were released in 2016.

Steam Spy compiled a breakdown of the number of games published on Steam between 2005 and 2016. The number starts small, then grows by leaps and bounds: from 1,772 just three years ago to over 4200 this year.

That figure only includes full games. Items like DLC and movies were winnowed out.

Kotaku offers one possible (and likely) explanation for the jump: as anyone accosted by the deluge of visual novels on the Steam Store's front page can attest, Valve has lowered the bar for publishing dramatically. It's not that most of the new games published to Steam are of poor quality; it's that Valve has taken a "come one, come all" approach to curation.

The advent of early access titles, which enables developers to push out games in various steps of completion, probably boosted that number as well.

Valve has taken steps to help users filter out titles and genres that do not interest them. It's also cracked down on how Steam is used outside of direct gaming, such as the controversy involving gambling for Counter-Strike: GO weapon skins.

On the flip side, Valve throwing open the gates to Steam has enabled countless indie developers to realize their dream of publishing games.

[Source: Steam Spy, via Kotaku]

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 30, 2016 4:32 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Nearly 40 percent of all games on Steam were released this year

    • reply
      November 30, 2016 4:40 PM

      LOL. What a mess.

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      November 30, 2016 4:49 PM

      Okay but what percentage of that is anime bewb games?

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        December 1, 2016 3:35 AM

        67% of the 40%

        Just jerk off to online porn, you weirdos.

    • reply
      November 30, 2016 4:50 PM

      Yeah, I've noticed that. I've found myself disengaging from the platform since it's just too crowded. My yearly spend has dropped significantly.

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      November 30, 2016 4:56 PM

      Everyone has to find that side hustle to make it in this gig economy. That means releasing your shit mobile game on as many platforms as possible.

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      November 30, 2016 5:00 PM

      Hey Valve, you're allowed to curate your storefront, it doesn't have to be a partial cesspit like every other platform. Oh wait, $$

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        November 30, 2016 5:02 PM

        To be fair, there's plenty of AAA studios with million dollar budgets releasing games just as shitty as the average indie.

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        November 30, 2016 7:26 PM

        people talk about this "curating" idea for digital storefronts but since literally no one with a large enough library does it, it must actually be really hard if not impossible.

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        December 1, 2016 3:44 AM

        Thats totally against their ethos - they're very much believers that the less they centralise control and the more power they give to people in the ecosystem (along with incentives to add value for others), the more durable, efficient and self-improving it becomes. It's hit and miss in reality but its interesting to watch.

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      November 30, 2016 5:02 PM

      No bubble here, nope. Move along.

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      November 30, 2016 6:11 PM

      Sounds like that problem will solve itself soon enough. Sucks for the unknown indie devs that aren't making shovelware.

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        November 30, 2016 9:29 PM

        You said it, it definitely sucks.

    • reply
      November 30, 2016 6:22 PM

      Too few games make it to Steam? Everyone complains
      Too many games make it to Steam? Everyone complains

    • reply
      November 30, 2016 6:23 PM

      how does this compare to other mediums?

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        November 30, 2016 6:40 PM

        Can you be more specifics? Do you mean other mediums as in film and literature? Or other game publishing platforms like PSN and Xbox Live?

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          November 30, 2016 6:41 PM

          iOS would probably good a good comparison to try.

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            November 30, 2016 6:57 PM

            A quick googling suggests the number of games released on Steam last year is eclipsed by the number of iOS apps released per WEEK. Not all apps are games, of course, but a lot of them are.

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              November 30, 2016 6:58 PM

              Well, I meant as a portion of the whole, has iOS suffered the same quality control los.... hahaha... er, have they experienced the same deluge of releases relative to prior years?

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            November 30, 2016 8:01 PM

            Google play store even more so

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          November 30, 2016 6:45 PM

          Maybe both but I was mostly thinking movies, TV and books. We're just producing content at increasingly high rates as a society. For instance I see this:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/business/media/how-many-scripted-tv-shows-in-2015-a-precise-number-and-a-record.html

          For 2015, there will have been 409 original scripted television series on broadcast, cable and online services, according to the research department of FX Networks. That number is close to double the number of scripted shows just six years ago (when there were 211, FX said) and represents a record, easily surpassing 2014, when there were 376 scripted shows.

          But that's for something with a high barrier of entry and very limited inventory so you could never really expect to see exponential growth in production rates (likewise for movies save for the increase coming from growth markets like China). But what if you added sources with a similar barrier of entry (ex web series and YouTube and such)? Then suddenly you probably do see a similar rate to Steam here where a high percentage of all content is the new stuff.

          Or maybe more interesting is a comparison with the mobile app stores or how many 'books' were written per year before and after Amazon added Kindle self publishing.

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        November 30, 2016 8:54 PM

        Maybe you can compare it to a video store like Blockbuster. It has tons of shit and maybe 3 movies you know you want to watch. Or a music streaming service like Spotify which has millions of songs but you repeat the same 10 for the next 2 weeks.

    • reply
      November 30, 2016 6:51 PM

      Make 'Upcoming' great again (because it sucks balls right now).

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      November 30, 2016 6:56 PM

      I can see how the overcrowding is bad for devs, but for myself I feel no concern about this. If steam is going to be the repository for all PC games, basically the app store for the master race, it SHOULD have a crazy amount of stuff available. Then when I hear about something the same way I always hear about a great game, I know it will be there.

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      November 30, 2016 7:45 PM

      I occasionally get overwhelmed by the amount of shovelware on Steam, I do enjoy indie titles though! I'm just not a huge fan of all the excess.

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        November 30, 2016 8:10 PM

        I rarely discover a game on their store. I go there knowing what I am looking for. Even with indie games.

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          November 30, 2016 8:17 PM

          this

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          November 30, 2016 8:21 PM

          100% I have never found an unknown game on steam and bought it.

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          November 30, 2016 8:25 PM

          I'm trying to figure out how a person would search for something they might like there.

          About the only way that would work out for me is if I see an old/previously released game I'm interested in, and buy it. Like a Metal Slug or something similar. But that's not a new find for me. It's something I already knew about and likely wanted.

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          November 30, 2016 8:30 PM

          I admit, I browse my queue. But all that ever comes up is wannabes... Another minecraft clone, or some random anime "rpg".

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          November 30, 2016 8:32 PM

          Not even Top Sellers?

          Most of the stuff non-AAA, quality worthwhile stuff I hear about comes from podcasts and Steam never quite seems to be featured but they often creep up into the first few pages of top sellers.

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            November 30, 2016 8:35 PM

            I read the chatty to hear about stuff that went under my radar. Factorio is one that comes to mind this year. You guys were buzzing about it before it had much traction really.

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          November 30, 2016 8:34 PM

          It's rare that I actually discover something, it does happen but you're right, I almost always know what I'm going to buy.

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          November 30, 2016 8:37 PM

          Yup. Their "discovery" system is borderline worthless. I don't even pick up the odd random game during sales anymore, because of how long it takes to sort through the giant list of mostly-crap. Even if you find something that has positive net user reviews, there's no concise summary of what it does well and what it does poorly.

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          November 30, 2016 9:15 PM

          I see other people adding stuff to their wishlists in the Blotter, and I'll generally do a Discovery Queue or two on a quarterly sale. I only find like 1 "Hmmmmm." per queue though.
          The vast majority of my 'finds' are someone linking me to a game. Not counting stuff I went out and locked in myself.

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            November 30, 2016 9:17 PM

            Also when I see like 10 people in my Blotter all buying something today, it's either brand new Early Access, Just Released, or On Sale (often 2 of the above).

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          November 30, 2016 11:21 PM

          I just look through all the new releases added every day. I've found some great games that way.

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          December 1, 2016 12:35 AM

          This.

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          December 1, 2016 12:56 AM

          Same here.

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          December 1, 2016 1:27 AM

          Fact. Shack clues me in on indie gems.

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          December 1, 2016 2:50 AM

          Part of this is also down to the fact that I don't really trust Steam Reviews. People are generally shit at reviewing.

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          December 1, 2016 2:55 AM

          Same here. Even during sales.

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        November 30, 2016 8:26 PM

        I like https://twitter.com/microtrailers

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      November 30, 2016 8:10 PM

      Whoa what

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      November 30, 2016 10:05 PM

      The endless onslaught of games and games news eventually drove me to actually stop playing all together.

      • reply
        November 30, 2016 10:25 PM

        Yeah, I noticed. You don't even play Jackbox stuff anymore...

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          November 30, 2016 10:33 PM

          I sold my PS4 but there is in theory a chance of some of that perhaps next year sometime, slim but possible.

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      November 30, 2016 11:26 PM

      If you do the math, 2015 also saw the release of 40% of all games up to that point, with 2014 just slight behind at 34%. So, it's not that 2016 is exceptional, it's just that Steam policy changes (apparently back in 2013-14) has increased the rate at which games are added to the platform, and the rate has increased to about 35-40% of games on the platform being added each year since then.

      Obviously this can't continue forever, as at some point every person in the world would need to be working on a game for this 40% rate to continue. Eventually, developers of lower quality games will stop earning enough due to so many competing releases that they will either be forced to increase release quality or go out of business due to a lack of sales to cover production cost. Even by 2009 there was almost more than one game released per day (actually happened in 2012), so at some point there isn't going to be enough time to play all the games released in a year, even if you only play the good ones (however, you determine what 'good' is, and that point might have already been passed).

      I do agree that they probably let too many games on to their platform, making it hard to find some good but smaller games. However, determining which games might be the 'good, but small' is hard, especially in this day of early access where a game may be submitted before many features are complete or the polish that makes the game really shine has been applied.

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      December 1, 2016 3:53 AM

      From my sort of outsider perspective—had Steam since it came with Half-Life 2, but hardly ever use it, mostly a console gamer now—as long as PC gamers keep overspending on humble bundles and Steam sales, and only ever playing a small percentage of the games they actually own on Steam, the shovelware will continue.

      Who cares if the games are any good or if people have even heard of them, if they keep selling along with these bundles/sales?

      I am only gleaning this from the comments I see on the Shack every November/December when these sales happen.

      But then again, maybe it's not the gamers but the companies that are making these bundles, that are creating this mess.