Update, October 18: Previous estimates were way too low - Steam's set to have over 6,000 new games by year's end.
The annual number of games released on Steam has ballooned in the past several years, and the tide has only risen with the easy publishing afforded by Steam Direct. Last month, it was clear that Valve’s store was on track to launch more games in 2017 than any year prior at over 5,000, and it seems even that estimate was conservative.
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Analyst Daniel Ahmad once again brings us the news via Twitter. Steam’s already put more games this year than last, and it’s only October. The new safe bet is to expect over 6,000 new titles on the store by the end of the year.
We're now at a point where more games have been released on STEAM in 2017 YTD vs the whole of 2016.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) October 16, 2017
Should pass 6,000 this holiday. pic.twitter.com/rtqnpL2XQp
It would be generous to say that many of those games aren’t of a high quality, and some are down to the point of quick trading card generators built exclusively with premade assets. Valve recently took visible action against one low-effort developer accused of producing fake games, but it’s difficult to say whether they should take an active role in curating what’s on the storefront.
But whether they should curate Steam is an entirely different question than whether or not they will, and it seems the answer to that is a resounding no. Valve are trying to take their hands off of the service at every opportunity and let recommendation algorithms pick up the slack.
Original Story, September 8: Steam has exploded with new game releases over the past few years, and Valve seem intent on keeping the valve (heh) set to open. With the launch of Steam Direct, they cleared away most of the barriers preventing developers from launching on their store, and 2017 is set to see the release of more games than ever before.
Daniel Ahmad, analyst for Niko Partners, reports that 2017’s new Steam releases have already topped 2015’s total. Now those new releases are well on their way to toppling 2016’s record, and it seems that the total will break 5,000 before all is said and done. Steam Direct has played a big part in that, with 1,300 games having been pushed through since its launch in June.
Updated the number of Steam games released per year chart.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 8, 2017
2017 already higher than 2015. Over 1,300 new games since Steam Direct launched pic.twitter.com/KySFREY44w
Valve have increasingly been trying to break down barriers against publishing on their platform since they launched the community curation system, Steam Greenlight, in 2012. Since then, the volume of games released on Steam’s storefront has exploded, with nearly 40% of the service’s total library launching in 2016 alone. By the time Greenlight was replaced with Direct earlier this year, it seemed obvious that Valve were simply looking to make getting on Steam as easy as possible.
While Steam’s lax store policies have made it easier for developers of every size to sell their games, it’s also made it harder for any of those games to stand out amid so much competition. That’s a problem for both publishers and players, and Steam’s tools for surfacing relevant content have left a lot to be desired, but it’s difficult to say exactly what a solution might look like.