This year, anyway
Steam saw an unprecedented influx of new games in 2016. Of all the titles added to the distribution service since its 2003 launch, 38 percent of them were added last year. Many of those games are very bad, sure, but there’s no questioning that Steam’s catalog is growing at an eye-popping rate.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean more cash for Steam owner Valve. According to a new report from Steam Spy, revenue generated from paid games was $3.5 billion in 2016. It was the exact same in 2015. This report does not take into account DLC sales or earnings from free-to-play games.
Steam Spy offers some reasons as to why revenue remained flat. A contributing factor was likely that 2016 didn’t have any huge PC titles in the way that 2015 had The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Grand Theft Auto V. Also, two of the biggest games of last year, Overwatch and Battlefield 1, weren’t available on Steam but rather on competitors’ platforms.
Despite all that, there were still clear winners in 2016. Civilization VI brought in nearly $79 million from 1.5 million activations. Grand Theft Auto V, a game that released on PC in 2015, was still the second highest earner with over $73.6 million.Counter-Strike: Global Offensive landed at number three on that list at $67.2 million due to being bought 6.7 million times.
It has been this way for a while, but 2016 feels like it opened the floodgates for anything and everything to release on Steam. We’ll probably see a record number again in 2017 — at least in total games added, not in percentage. If that happens, know that Valve’s profits aren’t necessarily increasing alongside it. Quantity doesn’t automatically correlate to revenue.
Steam Sales in 2016 [Steam Spy]