Indie developers complain about the decline in sales of their games on Steam. The reason is a sharp drop in traffic.

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The author of Shadowhand Jake Birkett from the studio Grey Alien Games drew attention to the problem. He said in a corporate blog and on Twitter that in early October, Valve made changes to the algorithm of the Steam search engine. After that, the store began to recommend only large titles to users. Indie games began to lose traffic, and their creators lost revenue.

This also affected Grey Alien Games itself, and, judging by the comments under Birkett’s posts, other independent studios. The game Stationeers from RocketWerks lost 90% of its previous traffic, and the daily sales of Kingdoms and Castles from Lion Shield decreased by 30-50%. Flying Oak Games studio complains about the loss of 75% of monthly revenue.

To confirm their words, the developers publish attendance charts for their projects, where the traffic curve goes down sharply.

Traffic of visits to the indie game Maia from Machine Studios
Birkett noted that initially the situation could arise due to a bug in the search engine.

However, Valve fixed this bug within a week, and the traffic of many games has not yet recovered.

The fact that the drop in indie sales could have happened for a more natural reason — due to the release of AAA titles in October – the developers doubt: too rapid a drop in traffic.

Birkett put forward two more versions. The bug discussed above could damage the historical data component in the search algorithm. Or Valve deliberately changed the algorithm in such a way that the Steam search engine gave preference to major hits.

Independent studios are increasingly saying that Valve supports only major publishers. Recently, the company announced that Steam will take 20-25% from large projects that have earned more than $ 10 million. In the case of indie games, the Steam share remained the same — 30%. Because of this, accusations of betrayal of indie studios and attempts to enrich already rich publishers are flying towards Valve.

To date, Valve has not given any comments.

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