Valve Software program introduced the top 100 best-performing games of the year on its digital storefront Steam. Whereas there aren’t many surprises, it additional signifies that within the video games business, the idea of a easy end-of-year breakdown is rapidly changing into a historic artifact. Most of the “video games of the 12 months” for 2020, particularly on Steam, weren’t truly new releases.
The best way that Valve presents Steam’s prime sellers is an attention-grabbing counterpoint to lots of the different end-of-the-year lists, which have naturally been extra centered on what’s come out within the final 12 months. Whereas Valve’s thumb is barely on the size right here, since its personal video games like Group Fortress 2 are perennial excessive earners on its storefront, the Steam prime 100 paints a fuller image of the general market than a easy yearly prime 10 can.
The most recent record reveals that in 2020, making a living in sport publishing isn’t nearly discovering an viewers, significantly on the PC. It’s about protecting it for so long as potential, and the best-earning video games on Steam have managed to carry their communities’ consideration for years.
As normal, Bellevue, Wash.-based Valve measures a sport’s annual efficiency by its gross total income, somewhat than simply particular person unit gross sales. This contains content material packs, expansions, beauty purchases, in-app paid currencies, and different assorted revenue streams. Valve additionally doesn’t present hard-and-fast numbers on the topic, preferring to assign video games into one in all 4 classes — Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze — primarily based upon their total monetary efficiency. We all know the general prime 12 video games of the 12 months, since they earned a Platinum rank, however not precisely how they did relative to 1 one other.
As has become the norm, solely a relative handful of 2020 releases have been among the many top-grossing video games of the 12 months. Of the 12 video games that hit Platinum on Steam’s chart, solely three — Doom Everlasting, Fall Guys: Final Knockout, and Cyberpunk 2077 — truly got here out up to now 12 months.
Develop that to the highest 40 video games total, in Platinum, Gold, and Silver rank, and that solely provides one other 5 fashionable releases: Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, Baldur’s Gate 3, Phasmophobia, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Hades. Of the complete prime 100 for 2020, solely 31 of them have been launched on Steam this 12 months, and a handful of these are latest ports of older video games, comparable to Hideo Kojima’s 2019 dream-logic journey Demise Stranding.
Valve additionally reduce a take care of California-based mega-publisher Digital Arts to deliver a few of its video games to Steam again in early September, which have been beforehand solely offered through EA’s private on-line storefront. The result’s that a few of Steam’s best-performing video games this 12 months are ports of a few of EA’s highest latest earners, like The Sims 4 and the head-to-head hero shooter Apex Legends.
The remainder of the highest 100 are an assortment of “video games as a service,” which put out new content material for his or her gamers year-round, i.e. Microsoft’s Sea of Thieves; titles with latest main expansions, just like the free-to-play dungeon crawler Path of Exile; and a handful of perennial best-sellers, comparable to Grand Theft Auto V, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and the action-adventure sandbox Terraria, which launched its fourth and closing main replace in Might.
The best-grossing video games on this 12 months’s Steam prime 100 are, within the order Valve offered them:
- DOTA 2, Valve’s personal multiplayer battle enviornment
- Doom Everlasting, the newest installment in id Software program’s basic collection of shooters
- Fall Guys: Final Knockout, a streamer-friendly aggressive sport the place gamers attempt to be the final one to fall off a cartoonish impediment course
- Grand Theft Auto V, the #2 best-selling sport of all time, additional buoyed by its multiplayer sandbox GTA On-line
- Monster Hunter World, the newest and hottest entry in Capcom’s best-selling fantasy survival collection
- Pink Lifeless Redemption II, which was ported to Steam proper on the finish of final 12 months
- Rainbow Six: Siege, which efficiently blends its collection’s pseudo-realistic motion with the “hero shooter” mechanics of one thing like Overwatch
- Counter-Strike, Valve’s seemingly everlasting face to face shooter
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the unique “battle royale” expertise
- Amongst Us, this 12 months’s sudden viral success story
- Future 2, driving the discharge of its newest growth, Past Mild
- Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Pink’s science fiction RPG
Another Pacific Northwest excessive earners on Steam in 2020 embody 343 Industries’ Halo: The Grasp Chief Assortment, a compilation of the primary 4 Halo video games that made its belated Steam debut proper on the finish of 2019; Grounded, a Xbox Recreation Studios-published survival/journey about children who’ve been shrunk to microscopic measurement; ConcernedApe’s indie farming hit Stardew Valley, which pushed out a major content update on Monday with its 1.5 patch; Marvel’s Avengers, developed in Bellevue, Wash., by Crystal Dynamics, which fees gamers with rebuilding the well-known superhero crew; and Valve’s own Half-Life: Alyx, which just lately cleaned up on business awards as a digital actuality “killer app.”
2020 was a great 12 months for Steam, as life underneath the COVID-19 pandemic left lots of people with out a lot else to do apart from play extra video video games. The service broke its own record for concurrent participant rely three separate instances over the course of the 12 months, topping out at just under 24.7 million simultaneous users on Dec. 12. That is assumed to be associated to the Dec. 10 launch of Cyberpunk 2077, one of the anticipated video games of the 12 months, and which actually runs reasonably well on higher-end PCs.
Steam celebrated its 17th anniversary in September. Initially based as a specialised consumer to make it simpler for gamers of Valve-developed video games like Half-Life to seek out and set up software program patches, Valve slowly developed it into one of many first all-digital storefronts for PC video games. Regardless of latest competitors from Epic, Discord, GOG, and others, purchases on Steam are nonetheless estimated to account for a good portion of PC sport gross sales worldwide, with some analysts attributing as a lot as 18% of the general market to Steam.