Does releasing on Early Access affect sales on Steam? The short answer is yes, yes it does. In 2018, launching a game via Steam Early Access means it is more likely to sell more, earn more revenue, and retail at a higher price. It’s twisted logic but an unfinished game can be priced higher and sell more than a finished product.
The data comes from Mike Rose, founder of publisher No More Robots. He hosted a talk at GDC which has been recently uploaded. Yesterday, we took a look at the odds of your game becoming a success on Steam, while today we explore what Steam Early Access could mean for the overall revenue of a game.
Steam Early Access Sales Statistics in 2018
- In 2018 the average Early Access game on Steam sold 3000 copies in its first month (normal average is 2,000)
- In 2018 the average Early Access game on Steam made $24,500 in revenue in its first month (normal average is $12,500)
- In 2018 the average Steam Early Access game retailed for $15 (normal average is $12)
This is a 50% increase on copies sold in the first month compared to normal games, equating to double the average revenue for a game. The average price of an Early Access game is also 25% higher than a normal game, and triple the price of the average of all games (including shovelware).
It’s strange, but the results show that Early Access is, statistically, more likely to make a game a financial success. Gamers are receptive to Early Access these days and they’re also keen to get involved in the development process, resulting in an uptick in interest in Early Access titles.
Over the long run, Early Access games also benefit from increased exposure as updates continually roll out.
You can see the full talk from Mike Rose in the video below.