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Steam Discovery Has Increased Sales For Smaller Games

Steam added curators and personalised recommendations to Steam in last September’s Discovery update, in an attempt to make it easier for people to find lesser known games amid the flood of daily new releases. In a post over on Reddit, taken from the private SteamworksDev group, there’s an update from Valve on how the Discovery update is performing – including interesting information about its impact on sales.

In short: it’s working. People seem to be using the curators’ pages, such as the RPS one, and the main carousel on Steam now contains “over 4,000 unique titles” every day, up from the 10-20 that’d be included in the old manual system.

Most interesting though is the sale figures, which says that sales are up for games that typically sell fewer copies. Here’s the relevant part of the update:

In addition to the raw increases in traffic, we’ve also carefully monitored sales data to make sure we’re growing the size of the pie, rather than just adjusting the size of the slices. Steam’s overall growth doesn’t just come from the biggest hits (which continue to see great success), but also from the smaller titles that are now better able to reach the audience that is right for them. To look at smaller titles, we dug into revenue for all apps outside of the 500 top sellers. Within that subset, total revenue has increased 18% and daily earnings per app have increased by 5%, even with 400+ new apps joining the store since the Discovery Update.

This is interesting because it’s counter to my experience with the service, where recommendations seem to be based on what’s popular or personalised only in as much as responding to the last game you played.

Still, if it’s working, that’s good news. As more games are added to Steam through Greenlight, Early Access or publishers dumping their back catalogues online, it’s going to become harder for games with no name recognition or marketing budget to get noticed. Finding ways to shimmy games to the front of the service for people to find is imperative.

Do you find yourselves finding more games due to the curators and recommendations?

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Graham Smith

Editor-in-chief

Graham is to blame for all this.

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