Steam charts: no funny business

He was a boy.
She was a girl.
Can I make it anymore obvious?
He wrote the weekly Steam charts.
She read them.

What more can I say?

Other than that these are the ten Steam games with the most accumulated sales over the past week, obv. See ya later, boy.

10. Ark: Survival Evolved

I’ve never put much serious time into Ark, which is certainly not the case for the hundreds of thousands of people who keep buying the thing. Is there a first-half-hour-of-Jurassic-Park mod for it yet that just lets you gaze at dinos without the risk of being eaten or ganked yet? I’d like that. Alternatively: is it possible to get eaten while sitting on the bog?

9. Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven

I’m yet to play EUIV (think the last one I played was II, frighteningly), so I asked Adam to write me a line about this expansion pack. Adam being Adam (i.e. ever-enthusiastic about historical grand strategy games), he wrote a few hundred words instead. Thadam.

“Expansions for Paradox grand strategy games fall into two broad categories, though there’s a lot of overlap between those categories. The first type of expansion actually expands the game world, either by actually adding to the map or timescale and bringing in features to fit the new areas/ages. The other digs into what already exists and looks for ways to improve it. Mandate of Heaven is the latter type, but feels a lot like the former. There are new rules and mechanics for the Ming dynasty, Manchu warlords and Japanese Daimyos and the Shogun. There are improvements across the rest of the world as well, including new objectives to provide some guidance through the ages, and UI tweaks.

“Most importantly though, this is a bit like dropping an entire other Eastern-focused game into EU IV, and a chance for Paradox to revisit the dangerous politics of Sengoku. Even my big strategy brain finds EU IV slightly overwhelming at times, but Mandate might smartly add more while also reducing the scope for players who want to focus on the East, at least in the early stages of the game. Judging by the sales, looks like a lot of people wanted to do precisely that.”

8. NieR: Automata

I’m still waiting for that precious, impossible run of evenings that would enable me to play this, which by all accounts is the increasingly-not-so-sleeper hit of the year. I’m not wild about this whole ‘the real game doesn’t begin until you’ve completed it once’ guff I keep hearing about though. Surely those of us who can’t put quite that much time aside won’t have an entirely wasted experience?

7. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Given that Counter-Strike was a game I played every lunchtime for a couple of years, it’s strange how distant CSGO feels to me now. I mean, it’s not like the community wasn’t wildly obnoxious in the noughties either, but the combination of all that weapon skin money-making and a heightened focus on esports takes it into territory that doesn’t personally appeal. I must be wary of doing a Kids Today. Instead, I shall soberly observe that it is truly impressive how effectively CS has moved with the times – by contrast, former multiplayer FPS leaders Unreal and Quake can only worship at its feet these days.

6. Dark Souls III Deluxe Edition

Returned to the sanctity of these charts thanks to a rare half-price discount. It’s been one of those games that keeps on selling itself so doesn’t require sales to the same degree as other games do, but clearly the combo of recent late-in-the-day DLC and a price cut is a smart way to put a little more fire into its veins. The deluxe edition includes the various DLC, eff why aye.

5. H1Z1: King of the Kill

Look, I’m trying to be earnest and non-dismissive this week, but this one might just be a challenge I can’t surmount. Let’s try this: how strange to think that, technically, this is a Planetside stablemate. I know that Planetside 2 is on the wane these days, but let’s hope that Daybreak can shovel some of the money-mountain its various H1Z1s have made into a third go at massively multiplayer open world shooters with soaring science-fictional ambitions.

4. Dishonored 2

I’m making an educated guess here, but it rather seems to me that Dishonored 2 hasn’t knocked it out of the park, sales-wise – at least, not compared to its predecessor or, perhaps more relevantly, to its most recent stablemate, Doom. That was a game which did so well, both critically and commercially, that Bethesda felt compelled to publicly announce that they’d no longer be sending out pre-release review code, so sure were they that everything would go spectacularly. I wonder if that stance has changed at all if it is indeed the case that Dishonored 2 wasn’t quite the smash hit they’d hoped for? Being discounted to half-price only a few months on from its release might support my theory – though, without concrete numbers (Steamspy guesses at 580k on PC) it is merely a theory.

I suspect that, for a lot of people, it’s a case of being well aware of D2 and very much wanting to play it, but being overwhelmed by games (both time-wise and financially) so filing it away for a rainy day. £20/$30 surely is that rainy day. Blink to its store page rapidly if that appeals, as the discount ends in six hours.

3. Dark Souls III

I already told you the reason this is back, jeez, what the hell do you want from me, you goddamned vampires? Sale’s over now, by the way.

This does remind me, however: I should circle back to DS3. I played a few hours of it, and it was the game that finally gave me a way into a series I’d previously struggled to click with. Once I got it, I dropped DS3 and went back to the first game then my personal favourite, Bloodborne – time to square the circle, I think.

2. Stellaris: Utopia

It’s a good week for Paradox, innit? Their sci-fi 4X is another one of those games I’ve not revisited since launch, and as I understand it the various updates and DLC have made it significantly less sterile than it was. Dear God, give me a free weekend. Is four years old too early to send my kid to boarding school?

1. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

I’ll be entirely honest with you: I have about as much interest in this battle royale game as I do going on holiday to Milton Keynes. However, it is entirely worth knowing where it came from, how it differs from ostensibly very similar games and how it ended up being as wildly successful as it has been. One way to do that is this here Eurogamer recap of the story so far. Given its origins, I can’t exactly begrude Battlegrounds its success – I’m just hoping we don’t have too many years of these charts being dominated by battle royale games. Something will come next, of course – it always does.

51 Comments

  1. KestrelPi says:

    Alec, ordinarily I would be 100% with you with that whole ‘the real game doesn’t begin until you’ve completed it once’ business, and it would make me roll my eyes.

    But this goes waaaay further than just a bit of neat endgame stuff, and it has to be said that while you can get to the first ending it will be An Ending and you can stop there and feel like some sort of endpoint has been reached, you would be missing out on half of what the game has to offer, and some of the most interesting stuff.

    It’s about a 35-40 hour game to get the 5 ‘Endings’ that complete the story. The first one takes about 15 hours to reach. I would say that if you’re going to play it, you’re best off seeing it through.

    • Jeremy says:

      Completely agree. I just finished the first run through, and I think it took me 13 hours. That is a little shorter than it would have been, because I didn’t realize that certain quests would be gated off after a certain point in the story. This is a game that’s easy to play in small chunks.

      • jumpingmrkite says:

        Don’t fret about the locked-out quests… As you get past a certain ending, the game allows you to retread old ground on the same save.

    • Pich says:

      This. think of the endings as chapter breaks in a book.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      You could significantly lower your playtime if you ignore all side-quests but then you’d be missing out on some story elements and weapons.

  2. Bostec says:

    Always jokes about Milton Keynes, people live there too you know! ;_; (Someone save me from this place)

    • Ghostwise says:

      You could move to the EU !

      No, wait, scratch that.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Milton Keynes sounds like the name of an adventure game protagonist.

    • gunny1993 says:

      “Note for Americans and other aliens: Milton Keynes is a new city approximately halfway between London and Birmingham. It was built to be modern, efficient, healthy, and, all in all, a pleasant place to live. Many Britons find this amusing.”

      • Minglefingler says:

        I’m taking your small act of kindness in explaining that as a good omen for the rest of the day.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nauallis says:

        Birmingham is a city in the Witcher 3, right?

    • lglethal says:

      But there’s just so much to see and do in Milton Keynes, for example …..

      ….. ummm they’ve got some nice roundabouts…

      • Themadcow says:

        For roundabout porn you are better off in Hemel Hempstead. For all other things in life, aside from teenage pregnancy, you are not better off in Hemel Hempstead.

      • Amphetamine says:

        Concrete cows.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    So about Ark. After Pip sold me on Subnautica and Adam et al made me excited about Longest Dark, I’ve started to embrace survival games. But I don’t want to restart Subnautica again until it is finished and all content is in place.

    So I started looking at among others Ark, and noticed reviews have fallen sharply into the negative lately. But who wants to read Steam reviews? The first I tried to read seemed upset about balance in online play. So RPS readers (and writers), is there some substance to Steam reviews kvetching, or should I get it? Or do you have another game to recommend? I don’t care the slightest about online, especially not PvP. I want to explore lush environments, find new blueprints and recipes and create impressive home bases. Plus some sort of endgame.

    I really hope Dishonored 2 sells well, it is such a great game. And Prey. Arkane is one of my favorite studios these days, if they close it would feel like Looking Glass disappearing again.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      Apparently you play Ark all on your own. Like a singleplayer game. I found that out when I was looking at it myself a few months ago.

      I never bought the game myself, but it might interest you to know you can avoid playing online PvP in its entirety.

      • badmothergamer says:

        From what I’ve seen this is true. A few streamers I follow RP with Ark and have a blast. I’ve put 350+ hours in and loved it, but it was all single-player.

    • eLBlaise says:

      It’s really quite common for public opinion to fluctuate between highs and lows and this is mostly the fault of Wild Card Studios. They make something of a practice developing habits in their player base and then implementing “fixes” that change the game fundamentally. Whether its the implementation of the wholly unfair Giganotosaurus, a creature that is nigh impossible to kill (I watched a level 5 Giga kill a level 100 Titanosaur) or world wide nerf’s to creature capabilities that allowed compy’s to kill rexes the devs seem to like watch the community react. At the same time the system specs are inaccurate as you’ll need far more memory than what the steam page says.

      With all that said there’s fun to be had, I enjoy building and exploring the island and its stupid inhabitants (AI pathing is atrocious). I’ve got nearly 700 hours invested since launch and I’ve uninstalled the game for months at a time due to various technical issues inherent to the game’s design. I’d recommend the game so long as you A) have 16gb of memory, B) Catch it on sale and C) are committed to playing single-player or with friends on a private server.

  4. Ghostwise says:

    I suppose that all these people who commented that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was a stupid name and it would never sell, weren’t entirely right.

    • pennywyz says:

      Yeah I don’t understand the fixation on the name of this game. Of all the stupid things to pick on a game for…although really I don’t think anyone thought it wouldn’t sell *because* of the name. I’m not even sure that most of the haters thought it wouldn’t be incredibly popular, it really sounded to me like people just wanted to trash the game for not bringing something new to the table when that was never the goal and never what the community wanted from a standalone BR game. The name is just an easy target I guess… You would think that PlayerUnknown would be a hero here at RPS going from literally an unknown ARMA modder to the top of the steam charts. Give the guy a break…

    • Drib says:

      Well it is a stupid name. It’s the “will never sell” part that was wrong.

    • pennywyz says:

      By the way, compare the video preview in the Eurogamer write up to the Premature Evaluation on RPS, at least he actually explains what the game does differently that might be fueling its popularity.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      I don’t think we were saying “it would never sell.” I don’t remember saying that, and it was already topping the Steam charts, so it would have been idiotic to say that.

    • cyrenic says:

      I’ve been loving that game. I liked the idea of “battle royale” games but I’ve been waiting on a decent version of it to come out. Being this good this early (granted with plenty of rough edges still) is a good sign for the development.

    • fish99 says:

      It’s a stupid name, and I never said the stupid name would affect sales.

    • April March says:

      It is a stupid name, and it took me three articles on the game before I realized what its name was. I had hitherto assumed it was a game named Battlegrounds created by a developer named PlayerUnknown.

      Plus, this is RPS. A game topping the Steam charts is not any reason for us to stop saying it’s stupid – quite the opposite actually.

    • Thants says:

      I think you mean PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.

  5. Neutrino says:

    I haven’t read these for a while. How long has it been that GTAV hasn’t been in the top 10?

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      You can just search for it after clicking on the charts tag. That’s how I found out that it was in 3rd place last week.

    • Shinard says:

      One week. I guess the Dark Souls III and Dishono(u)red 2 sales stole the “console game running really nicely on PC” dollars this week. It’ll probably be back soon enough.

  6. Premium User Badge

    MajorLag says:

    “Surely those of us who can’t put quite that much time aside won’t have an entirely wasted experience?”

    The industry has made it quite clear that if you’re not willing to spend 200 hours scouring every nook and cranny for trinkets to craft into other trinkets so you can clear your open-world map of all those icons and gain enough ability points to level up your armor a few more points then it doesn’t give a shit about you.

    So at least NieR isn’t that bad.

  7. Premium User Badge

    DuncUK says:

    Good to see the obscure Look Around You references are still doing the rounds. :-)

  8. Halk says:

    A friend finished NieR:Automata just yesterday after I pushed him for like 2 weeks and he had one regret:
    Not playing it earlier.

  9. Michael Johnson says:

    I had kind of written Playerthingies Fightspace off, because the battle royale genre looked like a thing for streamers and young people with supernatural reflexes. But a friend on a discord server started raving about it and I decided to give it a try and it’s a gloriously tense and strangely moreish thing.

    I’d probably only recommend it to people who will be playing with friends or with a community, but it’s less about being amazing at shooting (which certainly helps) and more about doing small squad based strategy and comparing hats and going on road trips.

    • April March says:

      I’m just waiting for some dev to give up all pretence of “survival” or “battle royale” and distill the formula to ‘deathmatch in a huge map with cars’, which is what all those games aspire to be anyway.

  10. Stevostin says:

    “I’m just hoping we don’t have too many years of these charts being dominated by battle royale games. Something will come next, of course – it always does.”

    We’ve seen this movie before. When Starcraft was released, when esports became a thing etc, the gaming press was reluctant. It was a thing for the kids, but that would pass. A decade later press hire specialized journalist to cover esport and has completely stopped mocking the scene or explaining that Total Annihilation is the right RPS, with Starcraft being the superficial one. To some extent, even MMO got the treatment. At the same time, people who cultivate an appearance of willing to take gaming by and for women seriously despised the games actually massively enjoyed by women, such as Farmville or to some extent, the Sims (although dealt with a bit less contempt, because of Maxxis history).

    I am going to make a prediction: Battle Royal is here to stay, in a much more permanent ways that hundreds of celebrated ideas coming from the independent scene. DayZ is still a thing to this day. So are all those “trendy” gaming landmarks I mentioned above. I don’t play them but that press that pictures itself as covering PC gaming while actually dealing really seriously about a fraction of it strikes me as an oddity. I am no victim of it – I guess like many readers the choices suit mostly my own tastes. But I can see it’s always stuff for people with a certain amount of gaming culture. What the newcomers like is barely a consideration.

    • fish99 says:

      What the success of those (BR and survival) games tells me is how successful twitch and youtube now are at driving sales, way beyond what traditional media can achieve. I honestly don’t think any of them would be selling without that exposure.

      Even I bought H1Z1 (and had a 100+ hours of decent fun with it) and I haven’t played a multiplayer shooter in years before that.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Oh I don’t doubt for one moment that it’s here to stay – but I mean in terms of the goldrush moment, where everyone’s rushing to make the next big one, as we saw with zombo-survivo-games and Minecraftbuts and MMOs and and

    • Cederic says:

      Although, obviously, Total Annihilation was the greatest RTS of its decade.

  11. Wulfram says:

    You should come to Milton Keynes and visit Bletchley Park

  12. fish99 says:

    You don’t have to get ganked in ARK since you can play it single player, but you will get eaten by dinosaurs.

  13. badmothergamer says:

    “Is there a first-half-hour-of-Jurassic-Park mod for it yet that just lets you gaze at dinos without the risk of being eaten or ganked yet? I’d like that.”

    I reinstalled Ark last weekend for the first time in a few months just to see the new creatures. There are a couple of console commands for spectator mode:

    EnemyInvisible – This will only make you invisible to creatures so they don’t attack.

    GMBuff – This will make you invisible as well as freezing your health, hunger, etc. so you don’t have to worry about those either.

  14. Flavio Balderdash says:

    I’m mostly just excited that someone is still celebrating Avril Lavigne’s early library.

  15. DEspresso says:

    All Glory to the Hypnoslug

  16. Gomer_Pyle says:

    Anyone else notice the micro-video at the bottom? How do you do that?

  17. April March says:

    Did… Did Alec just declare himself to someone in the audience?

    Also, let me say this again: I find this article series to be a bad idea, because it pollutes the tags and makes it hard to find regular RPS articles about any game that stays constantly in the top 10. I am a weird kind of guy whose reaction to not liking a thing is not going to that thing and complaining but rather staying away from that thing, but because of the tag pollution it makes my browsing the site harder.

    And since I’m vomiting my thoughts here, I also don’t like it because it’s usually Alec complaining that games we don’t like are selling well; and while one of the things I love about RPS is that it’ll take those best-selling public-pets games to task, another thing I love about it is its positivity, and even though writers will complain and complain and complain I always feel it comes out of genuine optimism about what our medium can be and is failing to be rather than simply being smug, elitist or show-off. This is not the vibe I get from this articles, where Alec mostly says “ugh, not this crappy thing again, am I right folks?”

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I’ve never taken his grumpyness as “here’s this crappy thing again”, well in some cases it is (Wildlands), but as a frustration in having to write a new blurb about GTA V, CSGO, The Witcher 3, ARK, King of the Kill ect. ect. every week.

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, it’s just entertaining enough to make me not avoid reading the articles at all, but I don’t think it’s good enough to actually be an improvement of my life. It’s like the mobile social game of RPS posts.

      Edit: Or rather it’s not the social game, it’s the workplace conversation of RPS posts; there’s enough human thought to make it interesting, like small plants cracking through a rock of generic duty.