Getting reliable data on what games are selling where, and why, is tricky business.
That's why Ars Technica began scraping publicly-available Steam data last year as part of its Steam Gauge initiative, and at GDC 2015 Ars' gaming editor (and one-time Gamasutra reporter) Kyle Orland took to the stage to share what he'd learned from the project.
Ars' Steam Gauge samples tens of thousands of public Steam Community profiles to generate accurate enough estimates of aggregate sales and gameplay hours for every game on the service -- it actually inspired sister service Steam Spy.
At GDC Orland used that data to explore how things like Metacritic rankings and discounts seem to affect game sales, and examined which games are played more (or less) than their raw sales numbers would suggest.
His presentation is worth watching if your'e at all curious about what goes on under the surface of Steam, and now you can watch the whole thing for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel.
About the GDC Vault
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.
Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.
Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech