The Latest Steam Game Charts: Wait What
Phew, finally we get some new names in the Steam top 10 (previous weeks here'n'that), after the chokehold of the Steam Summer Sale is loosened. I did not expect that number 1, but I really did not expect that number 10.
To do the maths, we have five old hands and five new entries there, although even that's not cut and dried. Arma 3 Apex has been in the charts before on pre-orders, Rimworld is new to Steam but has been available in alpha form for a couple of years previously, Call of the Beastmen is DLC for the existent Total Warhammer and No Man's Sky is not new to the pre-order circuit. Which means only Raw Data is a truly 'new' game. I'm bewildered by its inclusion here, which I'll get to shortly, but first here's how the numbers look:
1. Arma 3 Apex
I just spent half an hour trying to locate a specific cause for the new Arma expansion commando-crawling its way straight to the top spot. A sale? A free copy to every disgruntled DayZ owner? ALIENS????!!!??? Nope, so far as I can tell it's just sheer weight of interest from the e'er-passionated Arma 3 community. Apex is a big ol'expansion, bringing new prettiness, extra landmass and, purportedly, a ton of new features and polish, and people seem to be lapping that up. No doubt we'll have more coverage here soon.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
3. Dead by Daylight
I'd like to say that this asymmetrical multiplayer horror game is the 2016 hit I feel most guilty about not having played yet, but I still haven't given Overwatch a go either. WHOOPS.
Good to see this here. We've been enthusiastic about 'Dwarf Fortress does the The Martian' (n.b. that description I totally just made up is catchy but not all that accurate) for three long years, and have popped in to watch colonists die in interesting and unexpected ways a few times during its hike through alpha. The Steam release remains early access, and together with our number ten placement this week, very much puts the lie to any sense that people are steering clear of unfinished games.
5. Grand Theft Auto V
I never got on with predecessor Limbo - bounced off it after about an hour, I'm afraid, finding it too mechanical by far - but I entirely dig Inside. There's an immaculate sense of flow to it, how it blends puzzles with low-key action and constant propulsion - all the while with that semi-ambient, environmental storytelling rolling away beautifully, bleakly in the background. It's damned funny too, if one approaches it in that spirit.
7. No Man's Sky
Unreleased as yet, so here on speculative pre-orders only.
8. Total War: WARHAMMER Call of the Beastmen
Total Warhammer's been a mainstay of these charts for quite some time now, and the fact that its first major post-release DLC (there have been smaller bits and bobs too, mind) can bag itself a chart entry on pre-orders alone rather suggests that much of TWW's audience is pretty happy with what they got. The Beastmen DLC drops on July 28th, FYI.
9. Total War: WARHAMMER
And here's daddy. It looked from afar as though TWW dropped out the charts for a while, but I suspect the reality is that it never stopped selling - it just got leapfrogged by the unchecked consumerism of the Steam sale that lasted most of the last month. Steam Spy's guesstimate is 800,000 sales, but I'd bet 80p it's a fair bit higher than that. Will doubtless keep on selling for quite some time, too.
10. Raw Data
Okay. Here's where I furrow my brow, look a bit bug-eyed and start muttering something about 'funny business.' Raw Data is a sci-fi shooter, so certainly fits base criteria for a Steam chart entry, but more to the point it's a VR-only sci-fi shooter. A Vive-exclusive one at that. At £24 it's pretty close to full-price too. I am all Maculey Culkin cheek-slap-face about its appearance here, because I was not under the impression that there were a huge number of Vive owners out there. So, my guess is that one of two things is going on.
One, actually there are a shitload of Vives in the world, far more than we suspected, and they're all so excited about a full-fat shooter (or somewhere close to it) on their facebox that they've all gone and bought it in droves. Not impossible: many of the best Vive titles either came with the kit or were a free download, and much of what was released subsequently was short, gimmicky and not hugely inspiring. There genuinely would be some pent-up demand for something meatier. I'm still surprised.
Two, it doesn't currently require all that many sales to make the Steam top ten, in a "you only need to sell 10,000 singles to get a UK number one these days" sort of way. I don't believe that's generally the case on Steam - we've seen chart-topping games rapidly declare million+ sales after all - but perhaps the climate's significantly different in the week right after the Steam Summer sale. Everyone's spent their spare cash, everyone's busy playing all the stuff they picked up, and indeed people are on holiday or simply outdoors now that the weather's picked up and schools have broken up.
Indeed, Steam Spy - which can never be truly relied upon despite its sterling efforts at data-led best guesses about how things are selling - speculates that Raw Data has flogged only 15,000 copies. Not at all bad for first-week sales by general 2016 indie (and new studio indie, at that) standards, but it doesn't seem like enough to reach these vaunted echelons. Still, if that figure's right, at £24 quid a pop, it won't have brought in bad money.
I'll be surprised if Raw Data's still here next week, but then I was surprised that it was here this week, so what do I know? I'm going to take a look at it shortly to work out what all the fuss is about, anyway.
Note - the charts don't include free games, hence no Dota 2 or TF2 and, importantly, not the recently F2Pised Evolve. I rather suspect we'd have seen Turtle Rock's online shooter have itself a Phoenix moment in these charts were free to be included.