5 Years on Steam — Sales Analysis

By September 24, 2019Games

Hel­lo my friends!
In this post I would like to talk about sales and mar­ket­ing analy­sis on Steam dur­ing a peri­od start­ing from 2014 to 2019.

I think a lot of game devel­op­ers could ben­e­fit from this analy­sis to under­stand how the mar­ket has changed and if it’s real­ly more dif­fi­cult today to be able to sell your game to the mass.

Sales Chart Analysis

I’ll start by shar­ing this sales chart of all our games start­ing from June 2014 to Sep­tem­ber 2019 (5 years)

Orange is the num­ber of copies sold, blue is the effec­tive rev­enue in $

Woo­dle Tree Adven­tures has been our first game released in 2014. As you can see, even if there were few games on Steam (less than 4.000), the game did­n’t sell a lot of copies dur­ing the first release days. (today there are 30.000 total games on Steam).

At that time the game has been approved with Green­light, while today there is a faster way using Steam Direct to pub­lish your game.

Dur­ing 2015 we released a lot of oth­er exper­i­men­tal games (The Deer, Heav­en Island VR MMO, Heav­en For­est VR MMO and more).
These games did per­form nice­ly with thou­sands of copies sold dur­ing the first days, but it was­n’t con­stant through time, so in the long term did­n’t con­tin­ue to sell well as you can see from the sales chart.

In 2016 we released the sequel (Woo­dle Tree 2: Worlds) that did per­form well, but not like the first game, prob­a­bly due to many games released on the store too.

In 2017 the num­ber of games on Steam tripled, so we feared that our new game would not per­form well, but we were wrong.
In July 2017 Sui­cide Guy has been released and dur­ing the first week the rev­enues sur­passed the ones from all our past games com­bined.
As you can see from the chart, sales did not stop and con­tin­ued thanks to the fact that we con­tin­ued to update the game with new lev­els and improve­ments (for exam­ple Christ­mas and Hal­loween themes lev­els)

In 2018 we released a new chap­ter of the game called Sui­cide Guy: Sleepin’ Deeply that per­formed pret­ty well even though the games on Steam dou­bled once again (with almost 30.000 games total).
Dur­ing these years we con­tin­ued to expand and update our most suc­cess­full games: this helped to main­tain sales con­stant through the time with­out releas­ing new games.

In 2019 we’re still updat­ing our past games (Sui­cide Guy and its expan­sions) while work­ing on new big­ger projects. I’ll update the post when the new games will launch!

Has the Steam Market changed?

Yes of course, but I think is still pos­si­bile to sell well on this plat­form.
A key fac­tor is to cre­ate an orig­i­nal game and con­tin­ue to update it even after the release date.

You real­ly need to keep the game up to date and keep ask­ing play­ers for feed­backs: this is an approach that we’re using right now even for our con­sole games (Nin­ten­do Switch, PS4 and Xbox One).

This not only keeps the sales sta­ble through time, but helps you cre­ate a more pro­found bound with your fans. (after all it thanks to them if we can keep mak­ing games!)

Considerations

As a final con­sid­er­a­tion I would like to say to all the devel­op­ers to not be afraid by the num­bers of games released every year on Steam.
I have read a lot of arti­cles on var­i­ous gam­ing web­sites alarm­ing all the devel­op­ers, but If you real­ly have an orig­i­nal idea and have enough game devel­op­ment expe­ri­ence to cre­ate a full game from start to fin­ish, then you just need to focus on your game only.

Of course is still pos­si­bile (as it was before) that a game does not sell well: after­all there are a ton of dif­fer­ent vari­ables that could make a game sell poor­ly, but you need to keep that as an expe­ri­ence for your next game.

Thanks for read­ing!
I’ll con­tin­ue to udpate this post too, if you have feed­backs let me know at fabio@chubbypixel.com