Remember Steam Direct? It’s Valve’s newly launched initiative to restrict the number of spammy games on Steam, charging anyone who wants a public a game a flat $100 fee. Greenlight was axed, as there were allegedly too many ways to beat the system, and Valve’s thinking was that the $100 barrier to entry would stem the flow somewhat. Well, think again.
The number of games launching on steam has instead increased exponentially, with more than 1,000 games launching on Steam in the seven weeks since the Steam Direct system was introduced. A grand total of 730 games has arrived within the last month alone, with 215 during the past week. If it were to continue at this rate, there would 11,180 new games on Steam each year.
The numbers come from ICO Partners, a videogame consultant agency. Taking year on year figures, they discovered that 84 games were released in the first week of July 17, compared to just 28 in July 2016. The difference likely becomes even more dramatic if we were to take a look at the last week.
“With this transition to Steam Direct, we'll be keeping an eye on new submissions and making adjustments as necessary,” said Valve. “We aren't quite sure whether there will be a lot more new submissions, just a bit more, or even fewer. It's most likely that there will be an initial surge of new submissions and then a new rate somewhat higher than what was coming through Greenlight.”
It’s difficult to know for certain the precise reasons why there’s been such a surge in games launching on Steam, but one of the most tangible differentials is Steam Direct and the removal of Steam Greenlight. The lowest dip was shortly after Steam Direct started, which tallies up with the Steam Summer Sale anyway, a notoriously poor time to launch a game. After this it trends ever upwards, reaching the eventual peak of 215 games out this week.
Anyone with a hundred bucks can throw a game up on Steam right now, which really isn’t a great deal of money to many people. One aspect to also consider is that some 3,400 games were lost in the ether when Greenlight shut down, and their creators probably made swift work of paying the Direct fee and getting on Steam that way.
“There are some titles that will not be Greenlit, due to insufficient voter data or concerns about the game reported by voters,” explained Valve, as it selected the final batch of titles to pass through the Greenlight process in June. “Titles that are not ultimately Greenlit may still be brought to Steam via Steam Direct, provided they meet our basic criteria of legality and appropriateness.”
The other thing to consider, as we found out yesterday, is that some 18 million more gamers are using Steam now than at this time last year. There's plenty of money to be had provided you get your game noticed.
Here's a chart we made earlier this year that indicates the significant growth in Steam releases per year. To put it into context, we've just hit 3,215 games for the year in 2017. At current rates, by September 25th there'll already be more games out this year than in the whole of 2016.
The age old question of whethere are too many games is going to inevitably rear its head here. On paper, we can't have too many, but it becomes a real problem when you're trying to sift through it to find out the quality ones. Game devs, too, are going to struggle significantly in getting noticed, drifting off the front page in mere hours.
What are your thoughts on the influx of games on Steam? Is Steam Direct working as intended? Let us know!