SteamSpy operator and Epic employee Sergey Galyonkin published a Medium post today that's full of interesting stats gleaned from what his Steam surveillance platform saw in 2017.
Notably, Galyonkin reports that last year the most popular game price was $10, but the games that generated the most revenue on Steam were priced at $30 (25.56 percent of all revenue for the year) and $60 (18.49 percent of all revenue.)
However, it's important to note that PUBG Corp.'s PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds dominated Steam last year, selling over 25 million copies and generating over $600 million in revenue, according to SteamSpy estimates. When Galyonkin removed PUBG from his dataset, the overall shape of the graph (reprinted below) remained the same but $20 became the top earner, accounting for 19.56 percent of total revenue for the year.
"Surprise: cheap games do not make a lot of money," wrote Galyonkin. "People are still mostly buying relatively expensive and quality titles."
This finding is especially troubling when you consider that Galyonkin reports a downward trend in both the number of people who own a given indie game and, more importantly, price of indie games on Steam. According to his SteamSpy data, the median ("middle", not average) price of a game on Steam is $5.99; for comparison, the median price of an indie game on the platform is $3.99, and the median price of an indie game released on Steam in 2017 is $2.99.
"The pricing situation is also becoming more and more unhealthy and reminds [one of] the pre-iOS 11 App Store," he wrote. "The race to zero is on."
There's lots more data in his post, which is well worth reading in full. It's based on his presentation at GDC a few weeks ago, the highlights of which were reported by Gamasutra.