Steam Charts: A New Hope Edition

It's arguable Raft still has a couple of bugs to fix.

Please sit down. Make sure you have a friend with you, or available on the telephone. Plunkbat isn’t at number one. Somehow, it’s something even more boring. But the rest of the charts are a splendid sight! No GTA, no CS:GO, no Witcher 3, no Skyrim!

This is still most annoying. So reliant am I that Plunkbat is going to be at number one every week that the template I cut and paste in each week to write this already has it in place. But for the second time this year, and the second time ever since I started writing this a year ago, it is not. I HAVE A SYSTEM!

10. Assassin’s Creed Oranges

The real ancient Egypt was not nearly this shiny

A 40% discount over the weekend explains this minor reappearance for ancient Egypt. Now it’s back to its utterly outrageous £50. I lament this. I lament that the PC’s previous lock at £30-£40 for AAA games seems to have finally broken, with publishers matching the cost of console equivalents.

Console prices had always been historically higher because of the tithe they have to pay Microsoft/Sony/Sega/Nintendo for the pleasure of releasing a boxed copy on their system, whereas there was no one to be strong-armed by when releasing a boxed copy for the open environs of the PC. (Despite Microsoft’s repeated and hilariously inept attempts to do so.) Now, with the all-powerful Steam in complete control of the market, that wunderland has disappeared, with Steam’s 30% gouge of the proceeds likely leading to big publishers hiking their prices to recoup the perceived loss. Yay Steam!

9. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Oh god, oh god, think of something to say... Anything but guns...

Here comes Siege to talk to you, and you know you shouldn’t feel bad about this, but you can’t help feeling the weight of wondering how you’re going to get through the lingering pauses for the next fifteen minutes.

8. The Forest

Do we all crave these survival games because we just want some peace and quiet?

I went back to The Forest last week, as promised, and found it is still the same daft, superb, broken, and terrifying game it was in early access.

I’m extremely disappointed by how much it still feels like an early access game. So many messy systems, buggy interfaces, and glitchy issues. Yet it’s still a compelling experience, that manages to combine ludicrous survival crafting with some properly surprising elements of horror.

7. Stellaris: Distant Stars Story Pack

Some distant stars, yesterday.

Remember when we were all, “DLC IS THE DEATH OF PC GAMES!” and screaming about how devs were deliberately holding back part of a finished game to release it as DLC a month later? I mean, we were right to be doing that, because it was gross. But it’s still instructive to recall how the outrages of yesterday quickly become so forgotten.

This isn’t that sort of DLC at all, obviously. This is the sort we used to call an Expansion Pack, back in the Very Olden Days, which adds a whole new region to the game, and tweaks the bits that were already there. Adding in L-Gates and an L-Cluster has seen enough interest that just the DLC pack alone has sold enough to chart, which is quite the thing really.

6. Conan Exiles

I'm just not convinced this is a viable evolutionary advantage. How would he even put a jumper on?

The story of Conan is a lot like my childhood, in which I exclusively pushed a giant wheel around in circles until I was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnie is 70 now. I find this a fact that just doesn’t fit into my understanding of the universe. Like comic book characters, Arnie shouldn’t age. He should always be in his early 40s, I think, somewhere between Predator and Terminator 2 age, and anything else is frankly unacceptable.

I imagine Conan Exiles is fine.

5. Wizard Of Legend

My dad would always pronounce it 'leg-end' when games used this word, and it was VERY FUNNY.

Well, congrats to Contingent99! A little pixel roguelite that has stuck to the middle of the charts two weeks running. That almost never happens. Dominic really likes the game, with some reservations, and I still wish I had infinity time so I could give this and every other game like it a play.

I call for a government-sanctioned obligatory week off, where everyone gets a chosen week to catch up on everything they wish they had time for, and no one else is allowed to tell them that they have to use that week to get the fence painted, or go on holiday, or whatever other ghastly obligations might hang over them. I DEMAND IT NOW.

4. House Flipper

That there are no dead bodies in the walls is everything that is wrong with this game.

Two weeks in the top of the charts. I officially do not understand human beings.

3. Raft

I like to pretend the shark's trying to help push me along, but just doesn't know the strength of his own teeth.

Humans, I forgive you. Raft is so splendid, and I’m delighted to see this Itch favourite doing so well in its first week in early access. I loved it back then, and I’m pleased to report I love it even more now.

Once this rubbish is finished I’m going straight back to my floating kingdom for as long as I can get away with playing it until bossman Graham notices.

2. Plunkbat

I hardly know how to cope when this happens. It’s supposed to be one of the universe’s constants. What if the speed of light just decides to change to 30mph? Anyway, we still need a song to cope withthis. And to make matters weirder, I’d already decided it was going to be this lullaby from CBeebies’ favourite, Boj.

The reason being, I am completely absorbed by the thought about what life-long obsessive fans of Jason Donovan – the sorts that were fans in their teens and creepily haven’t grown out of it – do with his now singing pre-school songs on a cartoon. Do they have posters of Boj’s dad on their walls, and go on pilgrimages to Giggly Park in West Midlands Safari Park? (A place perhaps best known for the telling off my son got after he decided to run away and hide in it when he was told it was time to go home.) I NEED ANSWERS! Or sleep. Precious sleep. Under the giggly moon.

1. Dark Souls: Remastered

Remastered? It can't even be bothered to be in focus.

You’d think a new game being at #1 would be exciting, and then it’s bloody Dark Souls returning to do it again. SNOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEE.

The Steam Charts are compiled via Steam’s internal charts of the highest grossing games on Steam over the previous week.

51 Comments

  1. woodsey says:

    “Now, with the all-powerful Steam in complete control of the market, that wunderland has disappeared, with Steam’s 30% gouge of the proceeds likely leading to big publishers hiking their prices to recoup the perceived loss. Yay Steam!”

    By all accounts, Steam’s cut is exactly the same as any other brick and mortar or digital store. It’s gone up because publishers are money-grubbing shitheads, that’s it.

    I suspect that the only reason it wasn’t this way all along is because you used to be able to see the prices right next to each other in a physical shop. And because whatever shadowy husk that pulls EA/Activision/Ubi’s strings still had a shred of dignity left. (Ha!)

    • Mara says:

      You’re not wrong, but as I understand it the cut Steam takes is quite a lot higher than GOG or Itch.

      • woodsey says:

        Fair enough if that’s true. I’d assume that has something to do with them almost exclusively selling old games and indie titles, respectively.

        Still, from what I’ve heard, there is nothing outrageous about taking a 30% cut, at least insofar as the fact that it is historically normal.

      • MondSemmel says:

        Itch.io takes zero percent (more precisely, it’s similar to Humble Bundle’s “you choose how much we earn”, except the vendor chooses how much of their revenue to share with itch.io). There’s a great comparison of the big store fronts here by the dev of Defender’s Quest: link to fortressofdoors.com

    • welverin says:

      I think it’s far simpler and more reasonable than that, games have gotten ridiculously expensive to make, and continue to do so, and this is simple a way to help without leading to a full on revolt. I doubt $70/£60 games would go over well and might be the point where the increased profit per unit is off set by lost sales.

    • Tharkkun says:

      It’s easy to call Steam money grubbing but they are providing a service. A highly publicized service that most PC users know about.

      If you don’t want to pay the fee then you’re welcome to open a website yourself, market the product and do the transaction process yourself. It doesn’t take much to setup e-commerce.

      • John Walker says:

        Yes, but you wilfully ignore the concept of a monopoly. Steam is a monopoly in the industry, and even the largest rivals like Humble and GOG can barely make a perceivable dent in it.

        Therefore, it behooves Valve to operate with integrity and decency, when they ostensibly control the whole industry. In this situation one cannot simply say, “Just make your own version if you don’t like it.”

        It’s why countries other than the US have more workable monopoly laws…

        • MajorLag says:

          Valve is a monopoly in roughly the same sense as Microsoft was a monopoly in the 90s. However, one big difference is that Valve, to my knowledge, has not made any attempt at similar anti-competitive practices to maintain theirs. In that sense at least, they are operating with integrity and decency.

  2. Faldrath says:

    What a coincidence, I just killed the Gaping Dragon yesterday. I hadn’t played DS1 in so long (and, in all honesty, I just completed it a couple of times and never came back) that I actually got lost in the Depths and it was quite thrilling, not knowing what was out there to get me. Spoiler alert: rats. And basilisks.

    But, weirdly enough, basilisks are so feared I never forgot how to fight them. Rats, however, caught me offguard a couple of times.

    Also, the RPS fandom is SCREAMING for a John Walker review of Dark Souls. Graham, make him do it!

  3. Premium User Badge

    Big Dunc says:

    I’m not saying that I want to pay more for games, but back when I started PC gaming in the early Nineties, it was quite common to spend £45 or more on a game. And that’s like at least £500 in today’s money, adjusted for inflation.

    • Sin Vega says:

      And that’s why we almost never bought games in the early 90s, and why the PC only came to its rightful place as the most succesful platform when those same games were released for sale at a sane price, and most other games started getting vastly cheaper too.

    • jezcentral says:

      Agreed. I paid £44.99 for Frontier: Elite 2 back in 1993. (Which today, disappointingly, is only £88.63, but I was a student, so that is the equivalent of a beeeeelion dollars).

      • Addie says:

        It did come on two floppy disks, though. You’d have to expect a bit of a markup for the increased media costs, price of disk duplication, and the increased time of the programmers and artists to fill that much storage space.

        • Sin Vega says:

          I’m gonna look like a right dingus if this was a joke, but 2 or more disks was nothing remotely unusual in 1993.

          • anevilyak says:

            Considering that was just before Wing Commander 3 showed up on multiple CDs, yeah, I’d like to know what games were coming out on PC in 1992 that fit on a single floppy.

          • Faldrath says:

            Yeah, Wing Commander 2 was 16MB or so, wasn’t it? Because of the voice acting! First game I ever played with actual voices, and it came in a truckload of floppies.

          • Addie says:

            Sorry Sin; was attempting some sardonic humour. Considering games being ‘big’ at a couple of megabytes would look crazy now that very, very few are even that small, and some AAA productions are pushing one hundred thousand times that size.

          • GomezTheChimp says:

            Indeed. Monkey Island for the Amiga was on 10 floppies, which meant switching disks about every 30 seconds or so. That all changed when I got my 20mb hard drive.
            Gaming was just so much more fun then…

    • Artist says:

      “in the early Nineties, it was quite common to spend £45 or more on a game. And that’s like at least £500 in today’s money, adjusted for inflation.”

      With your amazing knowledge about math and economics you should get the nobel prize for economics, or something.
      /irony off

    • Zorgulon says:

      It’s quite eye-opening to look at the impact of inflation.

      I remember seeing RRPs of games in my formative (self-purchasing) gaming years of the early-to-mid-2000s hovering around the £39.99 mark, which is the equivalent of well over £55 today.

      No I didn’t pay full price in those days either, but a £50 asking price today is in essence the same proposition as £40 was ten years ago.

      £45 in 1993 is absurd though, not least because I was a tiny child.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        PC games in the 90’s/early 2000’s Sweden cost 499 SEK at full price compared to 599 or 699 SEK for console games (i.e. 56,5 vs 67,9/79,2 USD). You were lucky if you could find a several years old game at 149 SEK, which was as low as it would ever likely go.

        Nowadays, with your Steam sales and Humble Bundles, not to mention all the giveaways, games have never been lower in price. I never buy new games (because backlog and stingyness), so I’m not affected. PC game prices have remained constant through several console generations, so it’s not surprising that they have increased now.

    • Apologised says:

      Tekken came out on PS1 for £80. Master System Games, ALWAYS seen as the Mega-Drive/Genesis’s cheap cousin (it’s wasn’t, but that’s a long rambling diatribe for another occasion) went for 40-50 quid.

      To say NOTHING of the lunacy of NeoGeo’s pricing system.

      Games were ridiculously expensive back then. Prohibitively expensive back than. I cannot imagine how anybodies parents ever managed to afford to get any one of us little shits a single one.

  4. Beefenstein says:

    The success of House Flipper means about three years of boring ‘job simulator’ games. Thank you, Steam audience.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Can you blame them for wanting to live the fantasy of potentially owning and renovating houses they might own one day? They never will, but for $20 they can pretend that home ownership is attainable.

      • lglethal says:

        As someone trying to get on the property ladder at the moment, you are absolutely correct in your summation of the situation. Stupid bloody baby boomers and there hold on the property market.

        I wanted to make a joke here, but it just makes me sad. :(

        • TechnicalBen says:

          That’s ok. Once you’re on the property ladder, it could take just one natural disaster/job loss and you we’re right back to dreaming again.

          Don’t forget, those dreams are always rose tinted. ;)

        • Viral Frog says:

          Things will likely get better when they all finally die off.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      I tried playing this game but stopped when I realized my own house was messier than the ones in game.

  5. R. Totale says:

    It’s nice to see something different in the charts, but “Wizard of Legend” might be the worst name for anything ever.

  6. DeadCanDance says:

    I’m with you on that week off, John!

  7. sagredo1632 says:

    I’m convinced that the writing of these charts is devolved onto whomever has displeased Horace the most. Perhaps there are in-house bets as to how many weeks before the assignee cracks? Please tell me you at least get hazard pay for this.

  8. napoleonic says:

    House Flippers’ presence in the charts is easily explained: it’s the closest most millennials will ever come to owning a home.

  9. Peksisarvinen says:

    *Before looking at the list*
    “Please no Dark Souls Remastered as #1…
    *After seeing the list up to #2*
    “That’s a surprising amount of interesting-looking games, minus Assassins Creed: The Millionth of course”
    *After seeing #2*
    “Can this terrible game go away already?”
    *After seeing #1*
    “WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE PAYING 20$ FOR DSFIX?”

    Seriously, I don’t get it. Dark Souls is a great game, but WHY IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU PAYING 20$ FOR THIS PATHETIC CASH-IN? I assume 110% of the people in the universe own three copies of the game by now, WHY would you buy it AGAIN?

    For comparison’s sake, TQ: Anniversary Edition was FREE for owners of TQ: IT, and it did FAR more to the base game than DS: Remastered. That is not behavior that you should reward by paying for it.

    • MajorLag says:

      I agree, but people gonna people. And look, it’s got a new hat!

    • teKno_troWzrs says:

      Because fuck you, that’s why :D

      I needed an excuse to start playing DS1 again, so why not get a more aesthetically pleasing version (not to mention the Blighttown fix)?

  10. Uberwolfe says:

    Agree 100% about the age Arnie should be perpetually frozen at lol

  11. bqsgwys says:

    Well its Oranges now I know LOL

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