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PC Gaming ERA | September 2019 - The Girls Are Back In Town

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Uzzy

Uzzy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,816
Today's lunchtime viewing, a video essay on the legacy of the haunted house in video games. Mild spoilers for Control and an itch.io game called ANATOMY which looks pretty cool.


Incidentally, House of Leaves is incredible. Also mild spoilers for that.
 
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BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,281
Everyone saying Epic stealing all the big titles of Steam and Steam will be less relevant and what not but then bombshell like these drop

 

Rhaknar

Member
Oct 26, 2017
15,293
Greedfall and Blasphemous #1 and #2 sellers at least in my region, I dont know how that shit works.
 

Endruen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
997
Spain
I don't know if this has been posted yet, but geez, they don't even try to make us believe they don't reuse most of the game.
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
19,125
Oman
Thank you, EGS, for making PC gaming better by finally teaching us NOT to pre-order

What're folks thoughts on this? I've been pre-ordering games less and less, but it's more to do with the fact I'm brassic than the EGS. I can see the stuff like the Metro Exodus stuff putting people off, although pre-orders were still given the game.
Anti pre-order attitudes have been around since the PS3 era. I remember the threads.
Pre oredering comes down to the consumer.
Personally I blind pre-order what I like that is well priced and most of the time the game delivers.
 

Endruen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
997
Spain
Thank you, EGS, for making PC gaming better by finally teaching us NOT to pre-order

What're folks thoughts on this? I've been pre-ordering games less and less, but it's more to do with the fact I'm brassic than the EGS. I can see the stuff like the Metro Exodus stuff putting people off, although pre-orders were still given the game.
I just don't bother with preorders at all on PC. I can eventually get them waaaaaay cheaper, and it's not like they are going to run out of copies like on retail, so I don't see the point, I have enough games to keep playing and control the hype I may have for a game.
Only exceptions are retail games that I think they're niche enough to run out of copies soon, special editions I might be interested on, and some Nintendo games, because they won't get a price cut in ages, so might as well if I really want to play them.
 

Lashley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
28,068
I just don't bother with preorders at all on PC. I can eventually get them waaaaaay cheaper, and it's not like they are going to run out of copies like on retail, so I don't see the point, I have enough games to keep playing and control the hype I may have for a game.
Very true, games go on sale like a month after release a lot of the time too
 

Endruen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
997
Spain
Very true, games go on sale like a month after release a lot of the time too
Yep, I only buy games on sale. If it's a expensive game/game I really want to play, until it doesn't hit ~10€ I don't buy it, for cheap games or games I don't care that much, ~5€ is the price I get them for. Only a few exceptions are bought around the 15€ mark.
 

Mentalist

Member
Mar 14, 2019
1,478
Every week my inbox is bombarded by offers of discounted games from GOG, Humble, Fanatical, GMG. Occasionally, Steam itself

At work, I also get daily indieGala reminders about bundles popping up.

Backlogs are a thing. Developers need to stop releasing games for like 5 years to give people time to catch up on maybe 1/10th of that.
 

Cordelia

Member
Jan 25, 2019
630
Thank you, EGS, for making PC gaming better by finally teaching us NOT to pre-order

What're folks thoughts on this? I've been pre-ordering games less and less, but it's more to do with the fact I'm brassic than the EGS. I can see the stuff like the Metro Exodus stuff putting people off, although pre-orders were still given the game.
Unless it's a game which I 100% gonna buy no matter what the review is, I never pre order. Then again even if you pre order, you can always refund before 2 hours limit is up (assuming it's on Steam).
 

eonden

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,183
Huh, we had the conversation some time ago about how some subscription services seemed to go that way (payment for time played) but we could not find any "mainstream" service at the time that did it (as all the services we knew of paid in bulk first). I think this is an interesting thing that could be posted as a separate topic, as it looks like the confirmation of (at least one) services going through that model.
 

daxy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,249
Huh, we had the conversation some time ago about how some subscription services seemed to go that way (payment for time played) but we could not find any "mainstream" service at the time that did it (as all the services we knew of paid in bulk first). I think this is an interesting thing that could be posted as a separate topic, as it looks like the confirmation of (at least one) services going through that model.
Re: thread. Maybe it's not worth outing a dev like that if it's true? I bet the terms are under NDA. I dunno. Outing is maybe not the right word but you get the idea.
 

Wok

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
France
It is good that Mike Rose focuses on the top games, but I believe it would make more sense to study the top N games rather than the top x%.

How many games were released last year, compared to this year?
If the top 20% consisted of 600 games last year, and 6,000 games this year, shouldn't this distort the comparison?
The audience cannot be multiplied by 10 in a year, and neither can the amount spent. Of course, the average and median should dramatically decrease, no?
 
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Teeth

Member
Nov 4, 2017
1,331
People should really click through to Mike Rose's google doc; it's not just a spreadsheet of values, it's a 10 page power point presentation on how the data was calculated.

Let's say....it's interesting.

- He only is tracking data from games released in July of this year.

- He doesn't count AAA games.

- There was 900 games released in that time period. He cuts out the bottom 700 games. He then removes the top 15 and bottom 15 games from the remaining 200 games to account for outliers.

- The revenue from these games is garnered from publicly available player counts and review counts and "years of experience selling games on Steam" (lol).


The main takeaway:
The mean revenue ($275,000) is vastly higher than the median ($30,000). This means that money (and sales) are clustered at the top end.

Like, my only take away from this is that if you are one of the 170(!) games released in the middle of summer, that are theoretically 'not-shovelware', the audience is clustering to the theoretical most interesting, best marketed, or highest quality games.


Oops, i messed that up; that was for numbers last year. This year, the median is $16,000 and the mean is $48,000, which means that the 170 games are much closer in revenue distribution. Which is bad, but depending on what was released, could be an anomaly. Would need a monthly breakdown by year to see if the trends persist.
 
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eonden

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,183
People should really click through to Mike Rose's google doc; it's not just a spreadsheet of values, it's a 10 page power point presentation on how the data was calculated.

Let's say....it's interesting.

- He only is tracking data from games released in July of this year.

- He doesn't count AAA games.

- There was 900 games released in that time period. He cuts out the bottom 700 games. He then removes the top 15 and bottom 15 games from the remaining 200 games to account for outliers.

- The revenue from these games is garnered from publicly available player counts and review counts and "years of experience selling games on Steam" (lol).


The main takeaway:
The mean revenue ($275,000) is vastly higher than the median ($30,000). This means that money (and sales) are clustered at the top end.

Like, my only take away from this is that if you are one of the 170(!) games released in the middle of summer, that are theoretically 'not-shovelware', the audience is clustering to the theoretical most interesting, best marketed, or highest quality games.
Issue then is that looking through Tizoc "curated" releases, we are already at 100+ interesting games monthly (that we know of before hand). Such a low median would make most of those games bombs (sadly). But yeah, it was never really sustainable to have more than 3 interesting games launch per day.
 

Teeth

Member
Nov 4, 2017
1,331
Issue then is that looking through Tizoc "curated" releases, we are already at 100+ interesting games monthly (that we know of before hand). Such a low median would make most of those games bombs (sadly). But yeah, it was never really sustainable to have more than 3 interesting games launch per day.
Yeah, see my revised analysis, it is actually pretty brutal if his numbers are actually reliable (dubious, but not unlikely).

Honestly, this just screams over-supply to me. As the supply overextends, buyers (both direct customers and distributors like Gamepass, Humble, etc.) gain the market, so price and perceived value start to drop, then drop harder and harder as users have more content both available and already owned and more suppliers (devs) take thinner and thinner deals to get by, dropping the global value more.

So basically, stop making games people.

EDIT: the one thing I really think Rose dropped the ball on is saying that devs/pubs are pricing their games too low. The issue isn't that they are pricing the games too low, it's that the market for the type of game that would be sold for $10-20 is hyper saturated (basically anything non-prestige 2D).

Taking your 2D metroidvania game where competitors are charging $15 and pricing your game at $40? I don't know about that.
 

eonden

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,183
Yeah, see my revised analysis, it is actually pretty brutal if his numbers are actually reliable (dubious, but not unlikely).

Honestly, this just screams over-supply to me. As the supply overextends, buyers (both direct customers and distributors like Gamepass, Humble, etc.) gain the market, so price and perceived value start to drop, then drop harder and harder as users have more content both available and already owned and more suppliers (devs) take thinner and thinner deals to get by, dropping the global value more.

So basically, stop making games people.
I think you can be interested on this post from the topic, about possible weakness of the model due to the seasonal effect of the chosen date:

An interesting look - Mike always writes compelling stuff!

A few things that stand out as important outliers to the analysis, IMO:

  • The big one: the summer steam sale, which is where back catalog dictates the vast majority of transactions on Steam (and in my experience, for PC games sales in the west full stop), was still finishing up, as it ended July 9. This has a MASSIVE impact on new game releases (which was the dataset reviewed for this analysis), as it has substantial negative effects on 1st party discoverability (aka "the front page of the store"), purchase behaviors (aka "why spend $20 on one new game, when I can spend $20 on four games that are critical darlings?) and the types of games released (aka "a lot of veteran developers and publishers know releasing new games in this window is a little dicey because of the before statements, so they choose not launch"). I don't think this fully discredits the conclusions or the methodology, but it definitely is a massive consideration towards launch & shelf revenue models for a title.

  • Because of the above date selected & summer sale implications, it also makes the YoY comparison double dangerous. In 2018, Steam Summer sale started much earlier (June 28th-July 4th), so comparing revenue and sale rate/attach rate has outliers on both sides, with both scenarios having significant depression due to market conditions (again, this is an opinion that would require actual scrutiny!).

  • The "algorithm" for calculating year one revenue based on web-published based public data is super duper shaky in my experience. It's good enough for broad strokes (which is why I think this analysis is compelling as is, and not wrong or bad), but there are a litany of reasons why using that to dictate a business plan level conclusion is not ideal. Steam Spy-esque looks are great for high level scans, but it'd be much more ideal to review a Superdata or typical DMP type of conversion schema to get an understanding of actual unit/revenue result. Since most companies don't have that kind of resource, I don't think this is as big a deal as others might.

  • July-August is typically a pretty "slow" 30d window for games sales, compared to Fall/Winter, or a 1Y look (which is tricky to do with the available public datasets, granted). Still good enough for a representative sample, but that seems like a massive caveat.

  • The price point data slices are a good practical abstract, but due to the 700+ titles excluded from the analysis via the >10 reviews filter, I'd be more pessimistic towards all titles analyzed posted at the $10 price point, as contrary to popular belief many many many of those 700 games aren't just auto-generated shovelware: they are legitimate "games" from actual people. They might not (and 95%, don't) have the production quality of non-shovelware attempts, but a lot of indie developers (think students, daydreamers, game jammers) start here.

  • Removing outliers to assess consistency is worthwhile, but I think that's a dangerous boundary to set for dictating health on PC games sales, as most experienced people in games publishing will tell you that games business is by and large hit driven. That said, if I'm a smaller PC developer, I'd be a fucking idiot to plan my runway length on outlier performance, so this is a small quibble - but I would personally strongly recommend re-including those top and bottom 5% revenue generators for all titles above the $30 price point to provide a better understanding of the premise: how well PC games sell on Steam.

  • Finally, and I personally haven't ever done big business analysis towards this, but how the ritual of Early Access for game "preview launches" for more established developers has significant ramifications for a 30d game launch window, both in the data ingested in Mike's analysis (I'm not 100% sure, but I believe there's no way currently via Steamworks API or Steam Spy API to slice out Early Access releases/launches from standard atypical releases/launches) and generally selling a game in the year of our lord 2019. Sometimes the most successful (non-outlier) sellers have slow AF EA launches, and build a community that in turn makes a massive "actual launch". A lot of titles Early Access, especially again from vet studios, so I think this is a pretty important caveat to consider if you're trying to assess how you should sell a game on Steam.
Again, I think all that considered, it is an interesting and worthwhile look at how Steam operates, but I wouldn't go too alarm bells on it's conclusion driven. My takeaway from reading it is more questions than answers, but are still "what is the effect of titles that are marketed vs. not for smaller titles/studios and Steam?", and "how much of competitive problems on Steam are due to algorithm discovery vs. exponentially growing competition (historical and current)?".

Oh, and I think worrying about subscription services on games sales is a false flag right now - but might be an actual thing to consider by next year.
 

Wok

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
France
the 170 games are much closer in revenue distribution. Which is bad, but depending on what was released, could be an anomaly.
I blame... VALVE, and their stupid monthly recap!



See what you did, Gabe? You cannot help it, you have to mess things up!


Honestly, this just screams over-supply to me. As the supply overextends, buyers (both direct customers and distributors like Gamepass, Humble, etc.) gain the market, so price and perceived value start to drop, then drop harder and harder as users have more content both available and already owned and more suppliers (devs) take thinner and thinner deals to get by, dropping the global value more.
More seriously, I have seen many devs stop trying to sell their games, and mark them as free on their Steam store page.
I guess their sales were so low that they gave up on the idea of earning money.

For instance, today, yesterday, and the day before:

 
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Ascheroth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,754
Issue then is that looking through Tizoc "curated" releases, we are already at 100+ interesting games monthly (that we know of before hand). Such a low median would make most of those games bombs (sadly). But yeah, it was never really sustainable to have more than 3 interesting games launch per day.
I mean I've bought a 100 games this year already, and 4(four) of them are new releases, and I don't take Epic's freebies out of principle and unsubbed Gamepass after a month.
The other 100+ games I'm interested in went to my wishlist and will be bought over the next few years or not at all in favor of most next years new games.
If this isn't oversupply I don't know what is.
 

sauce

Member
Oct 25, 2017
356
Gaming is running into the same problem every entertainment industry is - movies, music, books, etc. There's just not enough time in a day for everything, money aside.
 

sredgrin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,427
Thank you, EGS, for making PC gaming better by finally teaching us NOT to pre-order

What're folks thoughts on this? I've been pre-ordering games less and less, but it's more to do with the fact I'm brassic than the EGS. I can see the stuff like the Metro Exodus stuff putting people off, although pre-orders were still given the game.

It's nonsense logic for a reddit circlejerk. You couldn't pre-order 90 percent of the "poached" EGS games, and if you did, you got them on Steam anyway. If anything, the EGS panic probably caused MORE pre-orders for the few games you could like Anno. The OP talks about "risks" but what risks did he actually have an opportunity to pursue?

If there's anything discouraged by EGS, it'd be things like using wishlists.
 

closer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,058
Kfc had that great vr training game a while back, hoping it's the same ppl making tge dating simulator
 

Wok

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
France

Full list below, including William Chyr with Manifold Garden:

What're folks thoughts on this? I've been pre-ordering games less and less, but it's more to do with the fact I'm brassic than the EGS.
If true, I would link that to the saturation of games. Why would I pre-order a game if I cannot even keep up with the pace of releases of awesome games?
 
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WarRock

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,118
There's games from 2016 I haven't bought because I don't have the time - and I was super looking forward to their releases. It's basically RNG at this point.
 

vastag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
406
My main problem is also that I don't have enough time to play games all the games that I would like to. I have a terrible backlog, filled with excellent games. And those games are competing with movies, books, series, music and comics also. There is simply no way to sustain so many developers.
 

sredgrin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,427

This looks kind of cool, like an updated PS2 era action adventure game (with obvious Zelda inspiration).
 

BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,281
I want to use this and ask if others have also started skipping wishlisting games even if they have an interest in a game. It's nothing against the games but I started to limit my gaming related digital clutter and having this huge list of games want to get to just adds to that when I can't even keep up with the games I already have.
 

Launchpad

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,205
Today's lunchtime viewing, a video essay on the legacy of the haunted house in video games. Mild spoilers for Control and an itch.io game called ANATOMY which looks pretty cool.


Incidentally, House of Leaves is incredible. Also mild spoilers for that.
You should make a post with all of these collated in it. I keep forgetting to watch them >.<