Steam is on an upward trajectory despite fierce competition from the Epic Games Store, with a record-breaking 14,530 games released on the platform in 2023, according to Steam data tracker SteamDB.
The number of games released on the PC-based platform has been increasing steadily since 2019 when it boasted 8,134 new titles. 2023’s figures are a 79% increase from there, a huge climb. They also show a 16% rise from 2022.
The figures also show that just five days into 2024, the platform has seen 165 new games launch. If that pace continues, 2024 will come in at just over 12,000 new titles, but it’s fair to say that the first five days of January are probably not representative and the numbers will accelerate through the year.
The history of Steam
The record-breaking performance of 2023 is auspicious for the Valve-owned storefront, as 2023 was its 20th birthday. It began life in 2003 as a launcher for the first-person shooter Counter-Strike but soon expanded to Valve’s other titles as an automatic updater. It began to distribute third-party games in 2005.
The number of games available on the platform was relatively low for the first few years, with 2013 seeing just 435 new releases. However, the launch of Steam Greenlight late in late 2012 saw the numbers begin to climb. Greenlight was a way for smaller indie developers to get their games in front of people for a lower fee. Developers paid $100 upfront and could then add games to Greenlight as much as they wanted.
Steam Greenlight became Steam Direct in June 2017, which changed the model from as many games as you like for $100 to $100 per game, but did away with the “popularity contest” part of Steam Greenlight where games needed to generate a significant amount of interest to be added to the marketplace. Now, subject to some checks, developers can just add their game to the marketplace and sell it to customers.
Towards the end of 2023, Steam launched a beta of the platform which brings a highly requested feature to users – a greater degree of control over the privacy of the game library, as reported by GameRant. This is something Steam users have been requesting since the launch of the platform, so it seems like they intend to start 2024 on the right foot. Given the mixed response to the Steam Game Awards in 2023, they might need that goodwill.
Featured image credit: Steam