This article was originally posted on the Video Game Insights blog.
2022 has already seen over 6,000 new games released on Steam. That's over 34 games a day. How have they done?
This article explores the sales performance and trends among the 2022 game releases so far.
First half of 2022 has seen 6,000 games released
Number of games released has continued to grow year-on-year. First half of 2022 has seen an 11% increase in games released vs 2021.
This shows a strong continued growth in the game development landscape, especially on the indie side, even as the revenues of many larger publishers have shown post-COVID stalling
Game releases remain heavily skewed by small indie projects
5,895 of the 6,015 games were indie games - games released by smaller or larger independent studios.
Out of the 6,015 games, 75% were priced under $10. Only 56 games were released that were priced above $40.
Similarly, 80% of the games released have resulted in <$5,000 of revenue.
For the remainder of this report, we've excluded these small indie and hobby projects. That still leaves us with 1,195 games that were released in 2022 and have made over $5,000 to date already.
Among these games, the pricing looks very different. Nearly 50% of them were priced in the $10-19.99 range. In fact, the average price for these games was $17.9.
It is common that better selling games tend to have higher prices. These games are, on average, better quality and have higher marketing budgets.
Game genres haven't shifted in a year
When looking at the genre mix of the 1,195 games this year, it has hardly changed at all VS 2021. Adventure games remain the most popular genre, followed by action. These are broad genres, including anything from first person shooters to fast paced 2D platformers, so it's not a surprise.
Simulation, RPG and strategy genres have always performed well on PC and remain important categories.
The only larger shift worth noting is that casual games have lost share this year, falling from 16% to 14%, which is quite a considerable shift in a year.
Top games of the first half of 2022
70 games released in 2022 have already generated over $1 million in gross revenue (this still includes Steam cut of c. 30%)
ELDEN RING was the top grossing game on Steam by a wide margin, having sold c. 8M units on Steam to date and an estimated gross revenue of c. $380m
What's surprising, though, is that 4 out of the top 10 games have been indie releases - Dread Hunger, V Rising, Raft and Core Keeper have all made it to the top 10. Creators of Dying Light 2, Techland, could have also been classified as indie not that long ago.
Note. Raft was already released as early release before and the sales include all units sold between 1st Jan 2022 to 24th June.
In terms of units sold, Lost Ark takes the 2nd place in the top 10. It's not in the top 10 in terms of revenue as it's free to play (and we only track premium game revenue). However, it's still got 300-600k concurrent active users and is a true success story for Amazon Games. It also serves as a sharp contrast to Amazon's other published MMO, the New World, which has lost most of its original player base.
Steam's growth likely driven by Covid, console shortages and working from home
Covid has boosted the whole video games landscape, including PC in 2020 and 2021. However, that boost has mostly faded in 2022. Yet, Steam continues to see high active user numbers and record game releases.
The 2 key factors behind this strong performance are likely continued console shortages and working from home.
Console shortages have pushed more people back to PC gaming. Recent crash in crypto landscape has pushed down graphics cards prices, likely further boosting the PC player base
On the other hand, games industry veterans likely have a lot more time on their hands to focus on hobby projects, boosting the indie landscape. We're giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume that it doesn't come from their day job's time. Many of them still have c. 2 hours of extra time per day as they save on communing.
It's likely that the games industry as a whole will see a decline in revenue in 2022 as large releases get pushed to 2023 and games struggle with engagement as players are enjoying their first restriction free summer in years. However, there are a lot of positive trends boosting the PC market which might shield Steam from this.
We will publish a big year end review report in 6 months time to summarise the year. Meanwhile, you can explore the many free features of the Steam data platform VG Insights to get further data on Steam games performance.