The Impact of Steam Greenlight

On 30th August 2012, Steam launched Greenlight with the idea of bringing promising games on Steam with added exposure. However, Greenlight has since received a lot of criticism for not doing its job very well. Because I gathered info about games released from August 2012 to July 2015 (as discussed in this post; for those who won’t read it – I excluded free-to-play games and those in Early Access), I decided to take a look at how successful all these games have been.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out which of the 3,021 games in my dataset have been Greenlit as Valve doesn’t really like to mention Greenlight (I wonder why). But it can be safely assumed that most of the games released since the beginning of 2014 have gone through Greenlight.

How does one measure success of games? Since Valve doesn’t make sale numbers public, this is quite a difficult task. steamspy.com has been gathering the number of owners for each game but not for long enough. I decided comparing games between each other will have to suffice for now, hence I used steamcharts.com to obtain the average number of players in the first two months after a game’s release. In addition to not being a reliable measure, I had to compensate for the fact that the provided tables only contain numbers for calendar months. Still, it should be enough to give us an idea as to how popular each game was after its launch.

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The Grand Steam Games Analysis

Fall 2015 marked the beginning of my long-term project involving analysis of PC games released on Steam. My dream goal was to provide a tool which would tell developers how unique their game is, how well it is going to sell, what would be the ideal pricing. Does it sound completely unrealistic? It should. Video games are highly unpredictable, and how to make sure a game gains popularity remains quite a mystery.

Why would anyone even bother with doing this, it’s predestined to fail from the beginning. And that’s exactly why I started, I don’t get scared off so easily. I’m not entirely sure what the outcome will be, but something useful is surely hiding within the pile of data Steam holds.

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