At Unite Europe on July 10, 2017, Alden Krol gave an update on the Steam platform including features, data and plans.

Steam has:

67 Million Monthly Active Players (MAU)

33 Million Daily Active Players (DAU)

1.5 million new accounts per month (making a purchase)

Regional Breakdown

North America 34%
Latin America 3%
Russian Territories 5%
Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) 4%
Western Europe 29%
Asia 17%
Other (Middle East, Africa, Rest of World) 8%

I’ve worked with a number of game developers over the years to launch their games, hundreds of them at this point. Over the years, digital platforms like Steam have become increasingly important and have become the main way to reach the majority of the audience for PC games (in the Western World). There are a number of things that you need to think about in order to have the best posSteam-logosible launch on the platform though:

  1. Steam Greenlight – This can be a long process. Depending on the quality of the art and gameplay you can show, the reputation of the team, and the reaction from the Steam community, your game could be approved in a week, a couple months, a year, or maybe never. There is no set time frame to be approved and many developers find they need to keep updating their Greenlight campaign to get to the level where it can be approved for sale in the store.
  2. Early Access – Being able to expose the community to your game early is essential to building up supporters and getting valuable feedback about the fun and features of your game. It also lets you test out balancing issues, network and online functionality, matchmaking, and hardware compatibility. There are many perceptions of what Early Access is, so you need to be prepared for some negative reviews since people show up expecting a completed game. This is unfortunately part of the way it works today, but perhaps Valve will remove the ability to review games in Early Access. Personally, I would like to see some sort of a questionnaire/test where people have to state that they know what Early Access is and that they understand the purpose is to find and weed out bugs. But that’s not how it works today.
  3. Community is Key – You need to listen to your community, engage them in conversation, and give them the opportunity to interact with you via developer streams, chat sessions, forum conversations, etc. If they know you are listening, responding and bringing their feedback into the game development process, you will eventually have evangelists that will support you when trolls appear. And yes, trolls will absolutely appear. For some reason, there are people that feel the need to start fires, stir the pot and go down in flames. It’s something you have to deal with, so be prepared, but be polite and factual in your responses.
  4. Marketing/Promotion – We all want to come out of the gate with a lot of sales and buzz around the game, but promoting your game too much entering early access has the ability to bring in a number of people that might be too many. If you are launching an online game, you want to be able to test out ever increasing groups of people. It might be better to have a couple hundred people in before you get to the 1,000 or 10,000 person level. There’s also the expectations that a game is complete when the media reaches a wider audience. Again, Early Access isn’t well understood or defined, so bringing in a wider audience means there will be more people disappointed that the game isn’t complete. That leads to negative reviews and the game might suffer.It’s best to make the biggest media push as you progress through Early Access, and feel good about going broader. That said, you should let your launch actually be your launch and personally reach out to the hundreds and thousand of media, blogger, and streamer contacts you have developed (Or you can get in contact with someone who has these already)!
  5. Streamers/YouTubers and Key Requests – Once you announce your game, or once it is listed in the Steam Store as coming soon, you will receive requests for free keys. These will come from traditional media, bloggers with URLs that are not top level domains, YouTubers, Twitch Streamers, and others. I like to manage most of the keys through a google sheet so I can track them and pull keys while on the go if we need to. Oh, a quick note regarding Steam Reviewers (Along with the Steam Reviewer offers to post positive reviews) do not send these people keys!My preference for managing and tracking all of the Steam keys for Streamers and YouTubers is a platform called Keymailer (www.keymailer.co). This tool is invaluable for teams looking to self-publish their games, since it vets the requesting streamers/YouTubers and verifies they are who they say they are. It also shows their level of influence, and coverage is posted as they talk about and stream your game. You can tie this back into your social media outreach and post up supporting videos, opinions, and re-tweet their content to your (hopefully growing) audience.
  6. You Need to be Listed to Get on the Front Page of Twitch and YouTube – Finding out this little piece of info is literally a needle in a haystack. I originally found part of the info from a Reddit forum post and the other part came from my friend James Beaven, another industry veteran, who is a fantastic persona and resource, as well as the driving force behind Keymailer. You need to add your game to two key databases.Twitch.tvGiantbomb (http://www.giantbomb.com/games/) – make a new account, and then type up a description. NOTE: You can’t just copy and paste your description and features from you press release here. It has to be original writing, just for the GiantBomb Game Wiki page.YouTube – You need to mark-up your game landing page with the proper annotations from Schema.org and then give YouTube the right to use the info. This is the page that explains it (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6150676?hl=en).

That’s it for now. I’ll post more soon, and if you want to get in touch, drop me a line at: sean<at>ide-agency.com.

SuperData released a new report on the US digital games market. Here are the interesting points:

  • There are 287 Million Mobile Active Gamers in the U.S.
  • $1.2 Billion in U.S. digital game sales for December 2014
  • 11% Year over on year growth in December 2014, compared to December 2013
  • 17% Growth in mobile digital revenues
  • 10% Increase in console digital sales
  • 10% Decrease in social game revenues
  • Average spend on PS4 was $11.09, down from $20 in November 2014
  • Average spend on Xbox One was $6.88, down from $21 in November 2014
  • Average spend on Steam was $2.35, down from $8 in November 2014

According to a new study from Insights Meta:

  • 75 percent of players play both F2P and P2P titles
  • Less than 10% of “pay to play” gamers don’t play free-to-play games
  • 28 percent of P2P players spend money on F2P games
  • 20 percent of F2P-exclusive players spend money on F2P games
  • 36 percent of gamers surveyed said they’d downloaded free content on their console
  • 1/3 of all gaming time is spent on F2P games

The full study is available from Insights Meta. There’s also an interactive infographic if you want to check it out.

According to Newzoo, the top 100 countries in the world by game revenue includes:

  • 1.7 billion gamers
  • $81.5 billion in revenue for 2014 this year
  • The US is the top country for game revenue in 2014 at $20.5 billion
  • Japan monetizes the most per person online at $120.20

I ran the numbers differently than they did. You can see the ranks of game revenue by country on the left, but I chose to look at it differently. I divided the revenue by the online population of each country. This gave me the RPPO (Revenue Per Person Online) – since I figure this is a good gauge of technology and that these people are also likely playing on mobile devices. Then I ran the ARPD (Average Revenue Per Day) based on that number divided by 365. It results in some interesting data.

For me, this is most interesting for geographic (soft) launches of mobile games. If we can look at how a game monetizes in specific country or two, we can make a more educated guess about how it might monetize given the propensity to spend per country. Of course it isn’t flawless, but it sure does give an interesting set of benchmarks to measure against. Here’s the full list.

RANK COUNTRY POP INTERNET POP REVENUE RPPO ARPD
3 Japan 126,999,808 101,663,346  $       12,219,552,000  $    120.20  $    0.3293
6 Korea 49,512,026 42,629,854  $         3,356,202,000  $      78.73  $    0.2157
1 USA 322,583,006 274,292,330  $       20,484,628,000  $      74.68  $    0.2046
5 United Kingdom 63,489,234 55,476,893  $         3,426,259,000  $      61.76  $    0.1692
13 Australia 23,630,169 20,806,364  $         1,143,044,000  $      54.94  $    0.1505
8 Canada 35,524,732 31,890,552  $         1,717,991,000  $      53.87  $    0.1476
4 Germany 82,652,256 71,080,940  $         3,528,196,000  $      49.64  $    0.1360
20 Switzerland 8,157,896 6,950,527  $            325,731,000  $      46.86  $    0.1284
7 France 64,641,279 56,237,913  $         2,608,818,000  $      46.39  $    0.1271
30 Ireland 4,677,340 3,899,031  $            179,576,000  $      46.06  $    0.1262
25 Norway 5,091,924 4,888,247  $            223,430,000  $      45.71  $    0.1252
21 Austria 8,526,429 7,111,042  $            310,340,000  $      43.64  $    0.1196
9 Italy 61,070,224 36,886,415  $         1,514,067,000  $      41.05  $    0.1125
19 Sweden 9,631,261 9,053,385  $            370,406,000  $      40.91  $    0.1121
88 Iceland 333,135 323,141  $              13,121,000  $      40.60  $    0.1112
71 Luxembourg 536,761 505,736  $              20,535,000  $      40.60  $    0.1112
26 Denmark 5,640,184 5,470,978  $            221,460,000  $      40.48  $    0.1109
29 Finland 5,443,497 5,096,746  $            205,745,000  $      40.37  $    0.1106
10 Spain 47,066,402 37,370,723  $         1,489,366,000  $      39.85  $    0.1092
34 New Zealand 4,551,349 4,164,939  $            140,004,000  $      33.61  $    0.0921
15 Taiwan 23,532,713 19,292,118  $            643,417,000  $      33.35  $    0.0914
97 Malta 430,146 307,812  $                9,872,000  $      32.07  $    0.0879
22 Belgium 11,144,420 9,807,090  $            293,560,000  $      29.93  $    0.0820
17 Netherlands 16,802,463 15,861,525  $            433,195,000  $      27.31  $    0.0748
27 Portugal 10,610,304 7,983,193  $            214,519,000  $      26.87  $    0.0736
2 China 1,393,783,836 701,073,270  $       17,866,677,000  $      25.48  $    0.0698
46 Singapore 5,517,102 4,378,372  $              81,606,000  $      18.64  $    0.0511
14 Mexico 123,799,215 56,130,564  $         1,006,072,000  $      17.92  $    0.0491
92 Cyprus 1,153,058 779,928  $              11,722,000  $      15.03  $    0.0412
67 Slovenia 2,075,592 1,494,426  $              21,206,000  $      14.19  $    0.0389
40 Czech Republic 10,740,468 8,491,414  $            117,774,000  $      13.87  $    0.0380
83 Estonia 1,283,771 1,078,368  $              14,508,000  $      13.45  $    0.0369
50 Hong Kong 7,259,569 5,372,081  $              70,797,000  $      13.18  $    0.0361
12 Russian 142,467,651 88,059,255  $         1,143,197,000  $      12.98  $    0.0356
53 Slovakia 5,454,154 4,830,199  $              60,760,000  $      12.58  $    0.0345
65 Qatar 2,267,916 2,084,215  $              25,549,000  $      12.26  $    0.0336
64 Lithuania 3,008,287 2,223,124  $              27,068,000  $      12.18  $    0.0334
49 Greece 11,128,404 6,899,610  $              79,699,000  $      11.55  $    0.0316
11 Brazil 202,033,670 118,593,764  $         1,339,375,000  $      11.29  $    0.0309
69 Panama 3,926,017 1,970,861  $              20,980,000  $      10.65  $    0.0292
48 Hungary 9,933,173 7,549,211  $              80,322,000  $      10.64  $    0.0292
23 Poland 38,220,543 26,372,175  $            279,656,000  $      10.60  $    0.0291
18 Turkey 75,837,020 37,349,732  $            375,039,000  $      10.04  $    0.0275
80 Latvia 2,041,111 1,605,130  $              15,915,000  $        9.92  $    0.0272
36 Chile 17,772,871 13,789,971  $            132,225,000  $        9.59  $    0.0263
63 Croatia 4,272,044 2,978,469  $              28,209,000  $        9.47  $    0.0259
55 Belarus 9,307,609 5,511,966  $              51,472,000  $        9.34  $    0.0256
38 Romania 21,640,168 13,196,174  $            122,354,000  $        9.27  $    0.0254
58 Bulgaria 7,167,998 4,548,095  $              41,977,000  $        9.23  $    0.0253
73 Uruguay 3,418,694 2,137,709  $              19,473,000  $        9.11  $    0.0250
24 Argentina 41,803,125 27,004,819  $            243,946,000  $        9.03  $    0.0247
86 TFYR Macedonia 2,108,434 1,572,892  $              13,238,000  $        8.42  $    0.0231
57 Serbia 9,468,378 5,586,343  $              46,297,000  $        8.29  $    0.0227
56 Israel 7,822,107 6,323,391  $              47,912,000  $        7.58  $    0.0208
33 Saudi Arabia 29,369,428 19,677,517  $            143,522,000  $        7.29  $    0.0200
99 Bahrain 1,344,111 1,236,582  $                8,872,000  $        7.17  $    0.0197
72 Costa Rica 4,937,755 2,876,736  $              20,216,000  $        7.03  $    0.0193
52 United Arab Emirates 9,445,624 8,973,343  $              62,819,000  $        7.00  $    0.0192
43 Peru 30,769,077 13,107,627  $              88,903,000  $        6.78  $    0.0186
82 Puerto Rico 3,683,601 2,144,961  $              14,535,000  $        6.78  $    0.0186
28 Colombia 48,929,706 31,589,018  $            209,041,000  $        6.62  $    0.0181
70 Oman 3,926,492 3,121,561  $              20,618,000  $        6.61  $    0.0181
74 Kuwait 3,479,371 2,963,728  $              18,644,000  $        6.29  $    0.0172
90 Albania 3,185,413 2,048,858  $              12,481,000  $        6.09  $    0.0167
39 Ukraine 44,941,303 19,630,361  $            118,604,000  $        6.04  $    0.0166
59 Ecuador 15,982,551 6,806,968  $              40,869,000  $        6.00  $    0.0164
42 Venezuela 30,851,343 15,953,229  $              89,000,000  $        5.58  $    0.0153
93 Libya 6,253,452 1,974,840  $              10,981,000  $        5.56  $    0.0152
81 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,824,746 2,857,850  $              15,627,000  $        5.47  $    0.0150
60 Dominican Republic 10,528,954 6,089,947  $              33,063,000  $        5.43  $    0.0149
98 Jamaica 2,798,837 1,749,553  $                9,327,000  $        5.33  $    0.0146
78 Lebanon 4,965,914 3,749,265  $              16,933,000  $        4.52  $    0.0124
95 Paraguay 6,917,579 2,313,238  $              10,200,000  $        4.41  $    0.0121
96 El Salvador 6,383,752 2,470,512  $              10,043,000  $        4.07  $    0.0111
87 Cuba 11,258,597 3,429,369  $              13,208,000  $        3.85  $    0.0106
45 Malaysia 30,187,896 22,520,170  $              81,861,000  $        3.64  $    0.0100
91 Guatemala 15,859,714 3,711,173  $              12,433,000  $        3.35  $    0.0092
62 Kazakhstan 16,606,878 9,758,202  $              30,491,000  $        3.12  $    0.0086
44 South Africa 53,139,528 28,179,892  $              85,101,000  $        3.02  $    0.0083
84 Bolivia 10,847,664 4,617,851  $              13,622,000  $        2.95  $    0.0081
51 Thailand 67,222,972 21,578,574  $              63,628,000  $        2.95  $    0.0081
35 Vietnam 92,547,959 44,728,429  $            131,242,000  $        2.93  $    0.0080
76 Syrian Arab Republic 21,986,615 6,134,266  $              17,524,000  $        2.86  $    0.0078
47 Iran 78,470,222 28,249,280  $              80,384,000  $        2.85  $    0.0078
37 Egypt 83,386,739 43,819,731  $            122,434,000  $        2.79  $    0.0077
79 Azerbaijan 9,514,887 5,956,319  $              16,110,000  $        2.70  $    0.0074
54 Morocco 33,492,909 19,760,816  $              53,322,000  $        2.70  $    0.0074
32 Indonesia 252,812,245 54,405,195  $            146,684,000  $        2.70  $    0.0074
16 India 1,267,401,849 223,062,725  $            582,853,000  $        2.61  $    0.0072
85 Tunisia 11,116,899 5,127,114  $              13,302,000  $        2.59  $    0.0071
75 Algeria 39,928,947 7,063,431  $              17,836,000  $        2.53  $    0.0069
41 Philippines 100,096,496 48,526,781  $            115,611,000  $        2.38  $    0.0065
94 Angola 22,137,261 4,706,382  $              10,667,000  $        2.27  $    0.0062
31 Nigeria 178,516,904 74,584,362  $            152,824,000  $        2.05  $    0.0056
100 Sri Lanka 21,445,775 5,333,564  $                8,857,000  $        1.66  $    0.0045
66 Uzbekistan 29,324,920 14,416,131  $              21,900,000  $        1.52  $    0.0042
61 Pakistan 185,132,926 21,993,792  $              30,505,000  $        1.39  $    0.0038
89 Sudan 38,764,090 9,691,023  $              12,692,000  $        1.31  $    0.0036
77 Bangladesh 158,512,570 14,107,619  $              17,555,000  $        1.24  $    0.0034
68 Kenya 45,545,980 18,355,030  $              21,151,000  $        1.15  $    0.0032

I’m working on a small research piece regarding digital distribution and would appreciate any help from my game development friends in providing some answers. Here’s a link to a Digital Distribution Channel Survey we created: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MDGN6H7

I’ll definitely publish the results here on IESherpa. Any help in filling it out and sharing with your friends is appreciated.

Sony recently put out more numbers on the success of the PlayStation 4 in the market so far. There are:

  • 4.2 million PlayStation 4’s were sold in 2013
  • 2 Million PlayStation Plus Accounts
  • 150 Million PlayStation Network Accounts

The high attach rate – almost 50 percent is an excellent sign of future growth for PlayStation Plus. The Instant Game Collection and ongoing free games match the offering of the Xbox Live Gold program from Microsoft. Since this generation is expensive and there are few titles available at launch, it’s going to be important for Sony to continue to offer great content on a regular basis digitally. I expect the product line-up to increase significantly in Q3-Q4 as more developers are getting development kits and middleware meets the demands of the market.

Interesting announcements from EA and Valve related to digital distribution today:

  • Steam has 75 Million users
  • Origin has 50 Million users
  • Uplay had 50 Million users (as of February 2013)

It’s important to note that in addition to PC/MAC games, EA’s Origin service and Ubisoft’s Uplay  service are also tied into their console and mobile titles,  so their 50 million user totals are not just for PC/MAC.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Digital PC and Mac Gaming 2013-2017 Forecast:

  • PC and Mac gamer spending will be $24 billion worldwide by 2017
  • Worldwide digital PC/Mac gaming is expected to grow at a rate of four percent per year
  • Market growth will occur in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) regions
  • Hardcore F2P games have close to a $16 ARPPU, the highest of the categories studied.

ARPPU - 2014