The analytical service Gamalytic shared infographics on the total number of games released on Steam and their approximate revenue. Most of the titles do not earn even $ 1000, but the number of successful projects in the total mass continues to grow.
How much do Steam games earn on average?
A report on the state of the Steam gaming market appeared on the Gamalytic website in September. We have selected the key points from the study.
- Now there are more than 71 thousand games on Steam. The average revenue of 67% of them is less than $5,000, and more than 50% of all titles in the store earned no more than $1,000 during the entire operation*.
*Important: We are talking about gross revenue before the Valve commission deduction. Also, the study does not take into account income from DLC and in-game purchases. Gamalytic estimates revenue using its own algorithm based on data from Steam charts and information about peak online, as well as applying median multipliers to the number of user reviews and using official sales information to adjust the results.
Revenue of games on Steam for the entire time of operation
- Over the past three years, over 41 thousand games have been released on Steam — i.e. 58% of the total number of titles currently available.
- According to Gamalytic, in 2023, an average of 40 games appear on the site every day.
- With increasing competition, the market becomes oversaturated. If we take into account only titles released over the past three years, 50% of them earned only $500 or less.
- The share of games with revenue from $5,000 to $50,000 is 13.4%. Only 5.6% of titles over the past three years have become full—value hits and earned $200,000 or more - this is slightly less than 2,300 projects.
Distribution of revenue between games released in the last three years
- It is important to clarify that over 70% of titles released on Steam during this period are "hobby projects" - their authors usually make games in their free time from their main work, and many in principle do not expect serious earnings.
- If you do not take into account completely free games, the median payout of all titles will be close to $ 700. For games more expensive than $ 5, the median is about $ 4,000, and for projects with a price tag of $ 10 and above — $ 17 thousand.
- Despite the oversaturation of the market, the number of successful games (with revenue of more than $ 10,000 in the first three months of sales) is growing every year. In 2020, there were 1649 such titles, in 2021 - 1850, and in 2022 - already 2067.
The number of games that earned over $10,000 in the first three months of sales
- Visual novels and adult games are among the most oversaturated genres on Steam. In recent years, over 4,000 titles have been released in each category. However, their median revenue is in the range of $ 1-2 thousand.
- This leads to the idea that Steam users vote with money for more complex and deep genres. At the same time, many of them remain relatively "empty" in terms of new releases.
- So, the median revenue of games in the category "Survival in the open world with elements of crafting" is $ 10 thousand (for 300 released titles). For 4X strategies and colony simulators, this figure is $8000 — 183 and 444 released games, respectively.
The number of games released in different genres and their median revenue
The situation on the Steam games market: expert opinion
Simon Carless, an expert on the findability of games and the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency, also drew attention to the study. In his new newsletter, he shared his thoughts about the current state of the Steam games market:
- many hits today are created by small teams that do not rely on third-party investments and publisher services;
- more and more successful titles are just coming out of the niche of hobby projects - for example, inspired by Raft and the Sunkenland survival that appeared literally out of nowhere;
- the supply today greatly exceeds the demand — every year there are more and more high-quality games that replenish the player's backlogs;
- the volume of investments in the PC and console market does not provide reliable profits — the business is becoming more and more focused on hits (and regular income from game services), but publishers spending money on advertising their titles cannot guarantee to create a hit;
- the market itself is gradually shrinking, as there are also more old successful games that attract new players thanks to discounts;
- at the same time, the situation is far from a disaster — a large number of titles with revenue below $ 1000 is due, among other things, to the democratization of the market (to release your project on Steam, you only need an idea and $ 100 as a contribution).
"Small publishers who focus on certain subgenres and distribute bets among a lot of low—budget titles have every chance to survive the current storm," Carless summed up. "But any publisher who has focused on scaling in recent years and at the same time could not get a giant hit with regular income into his catalog will inevitably going through hard times. What worked in 2018 won't work in 2023 -that's the market!"