Steam Top 100 reveals 2016’s money-making Steamers

Valve capped off 2016 by revealing the year’s 100 highest-grossing games on Steam, which is a pretty interesting list. If you’ve been following Alec’s prolonged breakdown over the weekly charts you’ll not be shocked by revelations that Grand Theft Auto V and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are near the top, but you might not expect them to be joined by the likes of No Man’s Sky or the free-to-play Dota 2.

When I asked Alec if he fancied writing up this chart too, he began hissing “The Venga Bus is coming the Venga Bus IS coming the Venga Bus is coming to take me away ho-ho hee-hee ha-haaa” so you get me and my GIFs instead.

Valve’s Steam Top 100 doesn’t reveal a preceise order or specific numbers, instead grouping games into four revenue blobs with silly names. The top dozen highest-grossing games are declared Platinum, the next dozen are Gold, then 25th-40th are Silver and 41st-100th are Bronze. And, to stress, do bear in mind that this is by revenue, not copies sold.

I’ll not list all 100 – go here for the full list – but I will go over the ‘Platinum’ games and put GIFs in which I understand is what happens in our charts. My own breakdown manifests in different ways to Alec’s but I’ll do my best.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

CS:GO is a permanent fixture of the weekly charts, and I’d be fascinated to know how much of that is thanks to banned players buying new copies on new accounts. Cheating online is so 2002 but I suppose some sourpusses have to ruin everyone’s fun.

Rocket League

Our favourite game of 2015 did gangbusters across 2016 too. I’m glad the serious sport of carball continues to spread.

No Man’s Sky

Fuck what you heard!
It’s what you hearin’ (it’s what you hearin’)
It’s what you hearin’ (listen!)
It’s what you hearin’ (listen!)
It’s what you hearin’ (listen!)
Which is that a great many people have bought this lovely sci-fi walking simulator despite the bad survival game someone accidentally put it in.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Another cracker from 2015, which this year wrapped up with a stonking expansion.

Fallout 4

The latest Bethesda open-world RPG will always be huge. Along with stuff like Civ, they’re games that certain types of player will return to all year – possibly even the only game they’ll play. As almost everyone who ever would play Skyrim already owns it, it’s Fallout 4’s turn to entertain folks who enjoy little virtualives with virtuapals in virtuaworlds.

Dota 2

Ooh! This is an interesting one. Dota 2 never appears in the regular charts because it’s free. But looking at revenue, lawks Valve must sell a staggering number of wizard hats.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

The shooter MMO isn’t what it may have first appeared to be, but what it is made it one of our favourite games of 2016. “Junk food,” Brendan and Adam called it. Because a macaroni pie from the all-night bakery on Leith Walk is sometimes exactly what you want. Often about 2am.

Total War: Warhammer

People like Total War a lot and this is the newest one of those.

Dark Souls III

A good end to a good series! Dark Souls III didn’t get a nod in our 2016 Advent Calendar but, y’know, that’s not a slight as much as a consequence of how we compile our list. Not everyone’s into a whole lot of dying but hey, enough of y’all like parry-countering for this to be one of 2016’s biggest games. Good on you.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

This was one of our favourite games of 2016. A new Civ will always be huge, a game some folks will happily pick at for years. There’s no urgency surrounding Civ, no desire to get in before the ending is ruined and the secrets revealed, and I’m sure it’ll be a staple until the next one launches. It’s not all roses but Firaxis are still patching it up.


Another game that I’m sure some people will pick up and pick at for a while to come. Turn-based strategy games live different lives with different audiences. It’s pretty good! Another of our 2016 favs. I genuinely enjoyed some of its bugginess.

Grand Theft Auto V

Don’t look so surprised.

That’s yer Platinum lot, then down into the Gold category we find more free-to-play games in Waframe and Team Fortress 2, along with stuff like Stardew Valley and Dead by Daylight, and moving onwards… ahh, check out the full list yourself.

But wait, no Devil Daggers? The best game of 2016 isn’t there at all? I’ve had enough!

[Disclosure: chartmaster Alec worked on No Man’s Sky a bit, writing some of those there words it has.]


  1. LewdPenguin says:

    So mostly the usual suspects that I’d expect, although seeing Witcher 3 still doing such good business across the year is a little surprising, as is xcom2 being right up there as well. Not to insult either game in any way, I just expected Witcher to be further down the sales tail than it obviously has been, although xcom having such mass market appeal is a bit of a surprise.

    Elsewhere looking through the top 100 there’s a few interesting bits among the more expected titles, Paradox showing that grand strategy has a healthy market with Stellaris, Heart of Iron 4, Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universasalalis 4 all making solid appearances in the list.
    Civ 5 is still in there despite it being the-year-the-new-one-comes-out, and Age of Empires 2 HD edition getting on there at all stuns me, especially as the list is on revenue not just units sold. Selling a load of copies heavily discounted it’d still be a bit of a surprise to see do so well, but the nostalgia is strong with more than just me for it to take so much in hard cash to warrant a top 100 spot.
    CoD places remarkably low, although I guess it has plentiful revenue streams away from steam that it shouldn’t be taken to mean too much.

    Now, anyone want to bet against GTA/CS:GO/DOTA2 remaining firmly stuck at the top in 12 months time? How about some less obvious ones, Civ 6 and Rocket League to stay in the top money makers?

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      I am pleasantly surprised to see Stellaris in the “Gold” category. I would not have guessed it would end up as one of the top-grossing games of the year. Go Paradox!

      I’m also shocked to see that Dishonored 2 couldn’t squeak its way out of the “Bronze” category. I don’t think we’ll be seeing a Dishonored 3.

      • Archangel says:

        Remember that Dishonored 2 was released on November 11th, so its totals are for that seven-week period instead of the whole year for the other entries. The presence of the original game on there as well fills me with hope for the long-term health of the (excellent!) series.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    As bothered by the end product as I was, I’m glad to see No Man’s Sky made piles of money. It was a game I enjoyed despite its flaws, but I had some kind of fear that Hello Games would be buried under refunds.

    • Captain Narol says:

      You must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. You will face your fear. You will permit it to pass over you and through you.

      Despise a vocal minority of people angry about it, No Man’s Sky is a commercial success and will stay a cult game unique in its kind for many people, me included.

  3. Swaywill says:

    Happy new year :)
    Which movie are those .gif-s you use in the article from?

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      They’re all Shaw Brothers movies. I thinkkk the GIFs are from, in order, Masked Avengers, Invincible Shaolin, Return to the 36th Chamber, Kid with the Golden Arm, Executioners from Shaolin, then lastly Golden Arm again. I get hazy on the names though.

      • Gothnak says:

        Could you use Encounters of the Spooky Kind 1 & 2 and the Mr Vampire series for a future post, they were awesome films!

      • Zanchito says:

        Thanks for bringing these apparent gems to my attention. Added to watchlist.

        • Alice O'Connor says:

          My pleasure! I’d recommend them all but Invincible Shaolin is definitely the best of those. Netflix has a load of Shaw Brothers films, in the UK at least, and I enjoyed a few weeks of watching them then dashing to my computer to GIF it up.

          • ironman Tetsuo says:


          • yellowarcher says:

            They’re also available in the United States on Netflix. I haven’t watched all of them yet, but my favorite so far is Five Elements Ninjas. Mostly just because it taught me that real world ninjas were way cooler than Hollyweed would have us believe.

  4. marksman says:

    Shame Metal Gear isn’t among those games. Definitely one of the bests in my opinion.

    • LewdPenguin says:

      A great game, but from all the way back in 2015. Given the HYPE around any game in the franchise I expect it did extremely well on preorders and immediately post-release, but somewhat as a result of being a day 1 must-play for many of the fans it lacks the long sales tail to push its way into last years list as well.

      • marksman says:

        Makes sense (Y)

        • DelrueOfDetroit says:

          It also didn’t have any major DLC releases for it. This is by revenue remember which would have been big contributors to Witcher 3 and Fallout 4’s placement.

  5. elderman says:

    Casually looking over the full list, I’d say in general people got pretty good games for their steambucks. Admittedly I only know any of them through reputation — I’ve never played any — but I probably have something specifically good to say about fully half. Looks like a year in the life of a thriving games industry.

  6. Turkey says:

    Neat to see so many PC-games doing so well. I was expecting to see a lot more ports of the biggest console releases.

  7. Keios says:

    Oh, I love that little bakery. Although it’s not as high quality as the Sicilian Pastry Shop on Albert Street, it really does scratch an entirely different baked-goods based itch.

  8. kud13 says:

    Happy to see my most played game of 2016 (Age of Empires II HD) on the list. I guess a new expansion helped to boost its sales. Hopefully M$oft get the picture and put more money into supporting the game going forward.

  9. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    I am really surprised and pleased XCOM 2 and Total Warhammer made it into the top-dozen. I didn’t think those genres could get up there.

  10. Nauallis says:

    I’m honestly surprised that Total Warhammer made it into platinum. I’ve only ever gotten the feeling that it was more of a niche strategy game, รก la Hearts of Iron & Offworld Trading Company. I may have to rethink giving it a try.

  11. MikoSquiz says:

    Pleasantly surprised to see Terraria and Undertale both still in the top 100.

    (Cor, Toby Fox must’ve made a right old bundle.)

  12. Muzman says:

    Has the sedate NMS been mixed with DMX before now?
    I thought it’d be fun to play Proteus with that let the bodies hit the floor song, but this? I just don’t know.

  13. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Good to pick through that list. We’re doing ok ain’t we?
    Love my pc, rps and you too….Happy New Year.

  14. Rince says:

    Those gifs are pure gold!

    And speaking of gold, I’m glad to see that Stardew Valley is there in the gold category.

    Also happy to see Dragon Ball XV2, Terraria, 7 days to die and Dragon’s Dogma.
    Now if CAPCOM could give us a proper Dragon’s Dogma 2, that would be really nice.

  15. Koozer says:

    An all-night bakery? Why have I never known such a wonderous thing existed?

  16. masternikolay says:

    Dude, you must really love the Shaw Bros. Me too.