Steam has set another record. According to the VG Insights platform, more than 11 thousand new games appeared in the Valve store last year. Now an average of 30 titles are launched on the site every day. However, most of them are developed by small indie teams that have become even more active in releasing games since the beginning of the pandemic.General data

In 2021, 11773 games were released on Steam — almost two thousand more than a year earlier (2020 was also a record for this indicator).

  • Despite the continued growth, most of the released titles are amateur projects or low—quality games made in the shortest possible time.
  • The number of games released on Steam from 2017 to 2021

27% of games in 2021 sold less than 100 copies.

  • At the same time, only 8% of titles achieved sales of 10 thousand copies.Average number of copies sold on Steam by percentile

Every year, only 200 AA- or AAA-games are released on Steam.

  • The vast majority of projects are made by small independent teams.The share of indie games on Steam is growing every year.
  • In 2021, they accounted for 98% of all released titles.The share of indie games on Steam from 2017 to 2021

This leads to the fact that the number of “samizdat” is growing in the Valve store.

  • 76% of all titles last year were released without the help of third-party publishers.However, the picture changes completely if only games with sales of 500 copies or more are included in the sample.
  • In this case, the percentage of “samizdat” for the past year will drop to 22%. As VG Insights notes, successful projects still rely primarily on publishers.The share of games released without a publisher from 2017 to 2021 (among projects with sales of 500 copies or more)

The impact of COVID-19 on the number of games released

The pandemic and lockdowns have affected indie developers and large companies in different ways.

  • For example, in the first three quarters of 2020, there was a sharp decline in releases from large studios.Before Covid, 40-60 new products from large companies appeared on Steam every quarter.
  • However, in the first three quarters of 2020, their number was almost halved, as the transition to remote work greatly slowed down development and led to numerous postponements.This led to a surge in AA and AAA releases at the end of 2020.
  • As a result, after the first quarter of 2021, the situation stabilized, and the number of major releases returned to the pre—pandemic level – about 40-50 new games per quarter.The number of indie and AA/AAA games released on Steam every quarter from 2017 to 2021

But the pandemic had a mostly positive effect on indie releases.

  • Because of the lockdowns, small teams were able to devote more time to development. Also, independent developers turned out to be much more flexible, since many of them were initially ready to work remotely.Thus, the number of indie releases grew despite the pandemic.
  • Before Covid, about 2,000 independent titles appeared on Steam every quarter. By the end of 2020, their number has increased to 2,800. And in the fourth quarter of 2021, 3,350 indie games were released on Steam – 68% more than before the pandemic.The share of fritupley and price growth

Usually, about 19% of all games on Steam were free-duplicated.

  • Their number reached a peak in 2020 — 19.6% of the total number of releases. This is due to the postponement of many premium games due to the pandemic.Last year, the number of freeplay titles dropped sharply and amounted to only 15.4% (the lowest figure in the last five years).
  • The share of free-play games on Steam from 2017 to 2021

However, there is no downward trend in the number of shareware projects, if we take into account only games with sales of 100 thousand copies.

  • The share of fritupley among such projects is stable at around 23%.In 2021, the average cost of games on Steam was $7.8 — $0.5 more compared to the previous year.
  • 23.4% of all games on Steam began to cost $ 10 or more — the highest figure of all time.
  • However, only 5.5% of all titles in the store cost more than $ 20.Distribution of prices for released games from 2017 to 2021