Back on Wednesday the 30th of November the twitter account for Steam information collation website, SteamSpy, released a chart revealing that nearly 40% of the games on Valve’s platforms had been released in 2016.
38% of all Steam games were released in 2016 pic.twitter.com/JiX2pt6JhB
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) November 30, 2016
Over the last two years people have been becoming more and more vocal about the quantity and quality of titles emerging on Valve’s game client. At the end of 2011 the service featured a total of an estimated 283 titles, a figure that climbed to around 379 by the end of the following year. 2014 onwards however, with altered restrictions on entry into the ecosystem, has seen massive exponential growth, with over 3’600 titles releasing on the platform since the end of 2013.
This growth can be credited to many things, however most hold up the entry point of Greenlight as the guilty party in the massive deluge of titles. If we combine the process, which is gated behind a one off £70 charity donation, with the various vote fixing services, and the increasing availability of accessible game development software, then we have a bigger picture of how this great surge has happened.
The real issue, however, should not how to stem a flow of games – honestly, why would anyone want that? – but more of how to increase visibility, and correctly implement curation.
While some may attempt to turn the chart into what might be perceived as an almost open-doors policy now through Greenlight, ultimately the fate of the storefront lies in curation, as indicated through Community Curators, Recommendation Queues, as well as a few recent changes to the store splash page of the client which shows off games ‘popular with your friends’.
The danger, of course, of introducing too many things based off existing social circles is that you create small echo chambers that are ultimately unpredictable and led by an influential individual at it’s core. In addition, such things do not play well for more eclectic games who dabble in distant genres.
How Steam will curate the front page going forward is critical to maintaining the value to a developer of the platform, however, I also hold that the bigger the number of games, the bigger the selection, huzzah!