The top 100 best selling games on Steam made 50% of the revenue earned by the platform. Speaking at GDC, SteamSpy owner and operator Sergey Galyonkin said that in 2017, the lion’s share of revenue is gathered by a tiny minority of games.
Valve are going to start shipping games again, which will probably boost these numbers even further.
Last year, 7,696 games were published on Steam, meaning that the top 100 games make up a little over 1% of everything published on the platform last year. Yet despite making up a tiny percentage of the available games, the most popular games on the platform made half of the money spent.
There are a few technicalities that will have an impact on results – a tiny percentage of Steam accounts aren’t public, for example, meaning SteamSpy can’t read their data. The service also doesn’t account for refunds, DLC, or microtransactions, which might mean games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which has a reasonably healthy cosmetics economy, might contribute more than these numbers suggest.
Galyonkin tweeted last night to say that last year was the platform’s best ever, with a total revenue of $4.3 billion, up roughly $800 million on 2016 (not counting in-app purchases or DLC, which will undoubtedly pad that figure out). That means that the top 100 games made something in the region of $2.15 billion. There are more than 21,000 games on Steam in total, meaning that the bottom 20,900 games had to duke it out for their share of the other half of the revenue.
2017 was the best year for Valve so far: Steam's share of the market grew to $4.3B, not counting in-apps and DLCs.
— Steam Spy GDC (@Steam_Spy) March 22, 2018
Galyonkin also revealed some of the biggest earners of 2017. PUBG topped that list by a huge margin, earning around $600 million by itself last year. CSGO came in second, earning $120 million. Interestingly (to me at least), indie darling Cuphead came in at 20th, with a total revenue in the region of $22 million.