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Steam users have spent $19 billion on games they’ve never played

Whether it’s Diablo 4, Cyberpunk 2077, or Red Dead Redemption 2, our collective Steam pile of shame is worth enough to buy a country.

Steam pile of shame: A bankrobber from FPS game Payday 3

Once you’ve found a couple of favorite games, the tendency is to lock into them and forsake all others. How many times have you finished Baldur’s Gate 3, Fallout New Vegas, or any of the other comfort game classics? Okay. Now look at your Steam library and count up how many games you’ve never even opened. I’ve got the entire Stalker collection, Disco Elysium, and the Half-Life remake Black Mesa, all just sat there like wet-eyed puppies in a pet shop window. You might wonder what all these untouched games are worth. Well, based on new research between PCGamesN and SteamIDFinder, about the same as the gross domestic product of Nicaragua.

I haven’t bought it yet, but I know Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is going to molder on my Steam shame pile for a good long time. RPGs represent the worst return on investment in my personal library – you buy something massive like The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age, life gets in the way, and before you know it those games have been sitting there, unloved, for weeks, months, years. We’ve crunched the numbers and discovered approximately how much Steam users have spent on unopened, unused games. It’s, well, pretty scary.

Out of all the registered Steam accounts in the world, only 10%, or about 73 million in SteamID Finder’s database, are public. Based on data from those accounts, we calculate that collectively there’s around $1.9 billion / £1.4 billion worth of games that have been purchased and then never played even a single time. Times that by ten, to roughly account for all the Steam profiles that are not public, and you arrive at $19 billion, more than the gross national product of Nicaragua, Niger, Chad, or Mauritius.

You can find out how much your ‘Pile of Shame’ amounts to by popping your Steam username in the widget below.

I’m trying to think what I’d buy with $19 billion. Maybe it’s enough to buy the Half-Life license from Valve, fund development of my own version of Half-Life 3 – and then download it from Steam and never play it. Next time you’re looking at your library and you’re half and half on whether to finally try one of your unplayed games, just picture that gigantic pile of dollar bills, sitting there, doing nothing, going to waste. Maybe it is time I finally played TimeShift…

If you want to make your pile of shame even bigger, get the best free Steam games. Or maybe go right for the good stuff with the best PC games in the world.

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