'Indie game developers are being hit hard by Steam's algorithm change' pointed out

Steam is the world's largest game distribution platform operated by Valve . The game delivered by Steam is not limited to games made by major manufacturers, but also a lot of indie games are delivered. Jake Birkett, who is developing indie games, argues that "Sales of Indies games are drastically declining due to Steam's algorithm change."

Gray Alien Games »Blog Archive» Steam's discovery algorithm killed my sales

Steam uses an algorithm that displays "games that are recommended for people who are interested in this game" according to the preferences of the user and the product page of the games visited. This made it possible for users to know the existence of minor games that match their own tastes, but Valve, which runs Steam, added some changes to its algorithm in early October 2018 about. As a result, a bug occurred, "I recommend not only games related to users' interests or the product page you are visiting but only some famous games".

Valve seems to have fixed the bug found in the algorithm within a week, but after that, in many indie games, the traffic from "other game product page" and "Steam's homepage" has drastically decreased Birkett says.

The following image is data analyzed traffic on Steam for Birkett's game sold on Steam. As of September before alteration to the algorithm was made in early October, we can check 305 traffic from "Other Product Pages (other product pages)" per week ... ...

After changing the algorithm in early October, there are only 91 traffic per week. The number reaching to your product from other products is less than 1/3, which is a big blow for indie games.

The traffic graph on Valve's free game development and sales comprehensive tool " Steamworks " also shows that traffic from other product pages in Steam is decreasing.

An orange line chart represents the inflow from other product pages, and as of September it exceeds traffic from other routes. However, after a while in October, it can be confirmed that the traffic from other product pages is decreasing at a stroke and continuing sluggishness.

Birkett said that in addition to games that introduced traffic with numbers and graphs, he confirmed similar traffic reductions in the two games. In addition, some other developers are showing more severe drop in traffic, and it is said that the situation of indies game sales is very severe.

This is a graph showing the game sales situation developed by Mr. Birkett from September to November. After the bug problem in October, Mr. Birkett said that overall sales have halved. This problem seems to be unknown in detail when selling new game or discount sale, but as far as the data published by other game developers is concerned, the decrease in sales volume It can be confirmed.

Not all traffic is declining in all games due to this bug, and as far as Mr. Birkett hears, there seems to be a rise in traffic in several games. However, "The increase in traffic in some games means that there was a decrease in traffic in other games," Birkett said the increase and decrease in traffic is two sides of the same.

Several relatively famous indie game developers including Mr. Birkett sent a mail to the person in charge of Steam personally exchanging business cards and asked for explanation about this case. However, at the moment it is said that no clear answer has been returned.

When sending a mail to the person in charge, Mr. Birkett submits the reduction of the traffic observed in his game in a table. The following image is a screenshot of the table attached to the e-mail, and in the portion highlighted red, you can see that there is a significant decrease in traffic as soon as it entered in October.

Looking at the situation of game sales, it is quite obvious that in September and October there is a clear change in overall sales, although there are some changes.

According to Mr. Birkett's independent game developer Danny Day, there is a possibility that Steam's algorithm contained historical data. According to this theory, since all previous history data has been deleted after fixing the bug, it means that the same traffic as before can not be obtained.

Another reason is, "For commercial reasons Valve switches algorithms to recommend specific games, some famous games benefit more than ever". It is no wonder that Valve is also a company, and as a result we have to pursue profits and as a result we have turned to a policy to focus on famous games that cut down on sales of small indies games as a whole and focus on profitable profits.

As far as these hypotheses are concerned, Mr. Birkett is paying attention, but as the developers of the indie games declined sales on Steam, they said "to sell the game directly" or " itch.io It is necessary to explore alternatives such as "to use another platform such as. Birkett said that if users feel that they want to support indie games, they can support indie game developers by purchasing direct sales that does not draw commissions on the platform.

by Jamie McInall

in Web Service,   Game, Posted by log1h_ik