Let’s flash back to 2012 for a minute. That’s the year that there were internet blackouts to protest against SOPA, Encyclopedia Britannica stopped publishing their books, the first Avengers movie came out, and – oh yeah – Steam released a measly 379 games. They just barely managed to surpass one game per day. Steam was originally launched all the way back in 2003, so they had already been at it for nearly a decade at that point.
In the early days, only a small handful of games were added to Steam each year.
But a lot can change in 4 years. Fast forward back to 2016, and Steam has already launched over 4200 games this year. Steam Spy is a site that lets you search and compare all sorts of stats about Steam games, and some devs even use it as a tool to find out which types of games are popular and in-demand.
Here’s a breakdown of how many Steam games have been released each year since 2004.
- 2004: 7
- 2005: 6
- 2006: 71
- 2007: 112
- 2008: 183
- 2009: 356
- 2010: 276
- 2011: 283
- 2012: 379
- 2013: 565
- 2014: 1772
- 2015: 2964
- 2016: 4207 (so far)
This shows explosive growth in the amount of games released on Steam, but does it mean that gaming as a whole is on a massive upswing and surging in popularity in the past couple of years, or does it speak more to Steam-specific changes? Why not both?
Steam is the de facto place to buy PC games, and they nearly single-handedly saved the industry from rampant piracy by offering a simple, affordable way to buy and launch your titles.
The thing is, most of those games aren’t exactly AAA titles. There’s a lot of early access indie games, or super-simple menu-based adventure titles, and all of the RPG Maker stuff that barely takes any steps to customize the engine… Not to take away from them, but it’s tough to compare the current Steam numbers to past ones when you consider how much more accessible Steam has become as a publishing platform to indie devs.
“And how many of those got more than 1000 sales?” said redditer gsurfer04, pointing out that there may be tons of games – but most of them are going mostly unnoticed in a crowded marketplace.
For better or worse, it’s never been easy to release your own PC game to an audience of millions on Steam. The plus side is that it opens up a lot of doors for beginners, the downside is that there are a lot of brilliant games getting lost in the static and going relatively unnoticed.
“From what I’ve heard a lot of these are very low-quality games, though I haven’t gone through and looked myself. If that’s the case though, it’s probably because there’s been a lot of game development tools made available for free(ish) in recent years. Combine that with a lot of people who “have always wanted to make a game” and have a lot of “ideas”, and this is the result it seems.” added-on another reddit user named jrainer234.