Steam was an interesting place in 2016.
According to a 2016 report published by SteamSpy founder Sergey Galyonkin on Medium, the rate of new Steam launches continued to climb through 2016 with 5,245 games released, of which 588 launched in December alone – the most lucrative time of year for the platform. Users purchased or acquired 370 million games over the course of the year.
The figures do not include in-game purchases and DLC, which Valve did account for in its list of top-earning Steam games of 2016. That means Galyonkin’s revenue chart doesn’t include huge earners like Dota 2, which is free to play but placed in the top 12 chart for Steam revenue in 2016.
That said, it’s still interesting – Civilization 6 comes out on top, ahead of Grand Theft Auto 5 in second and Counter-strike: Global Offensive in third. In general, the top 12 matches up fairly well with Valve’s data; the exceptions are DOOM and Rise of the Tomb Raider ranking higher, likely due to Dota 2 and The Witcher 3 dropping out because of the afore-mentioned gaps in SteamSpy’s data.
Galyonkin estimates the value of the Steam market at $3.5 billion in 2016, and although he acknowledges a wide margin of potential error here, that’s flat on 2015. The reason for that is that 2015 was an absolute ass-kicker, with Fallout 4, GTA 5 and The Witcher 3 proving very hard to beat – especially as a couple of this year’s biggest games, Battlefield 1 and Overwatch, skipped Steam entirely. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s comparatively poor performance held against Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 last year didn’t help, either.
You can draw some interesting comparisons and conclusions from the charts, and as PC Gamer points out, Stardew Valley made at least $6 million more on PC than Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which didn’t scrape into the top 25 earners.
You can look through other statistics at your leisure on SteamSpy. It’s important to read the full report for a number of caveats on how SteamSpy gathers its data and what it does and does not include, mind. The report also raises some interesting discussion on what genres dominated indie games this past year, among other things.
Numbers! Do they mean anything, or can we just get on with playing games now?