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Data available on the independent Steam analytics site SteamDB shows that a record 14,530 games were released on the platform in 2023. That is the highest since the platform started tracking game releases in 2006. Launched in September 2003, Steam has grown astronomically to become the go-to storefront for PC gamers. But, is the growing number of annual title releases on the platform a good thing?

Steam Breaks Annual Game Release Record With Over 14,000 Titles, But Is It A Good Thing?

“According to @WeAreCircana’s own @SilvaStandard, the closest any other platform has come in the US is the 2,360 games released on Switch, also in 2023,” tweeted Mat Piscatella, executive director and video game industry analyst at Circana. “14,000 is a lot.”

Since SteamDB started tracking game releases in 2006, the number has continued to rise. The only time there was a drop in the number of annual game releases on the platform compared to the previous year was in 2019.

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In 2022, a record 12,559 games were released on Steam which was also a record breaker. A year before that, it was 11,388 games which was also another record. At the time of writing this post, over 160 games have already been released on the platform in the first 5 days of this year.

Steam Breaks Annual Game Release Record With Over 14,000 Titles, But Is It A Good Thing?

On a month-by-month basis, October was the busiest for game releases last year with a record 1,324 games released on Steam. The number of games released on the platform has exploded in the space of a decade. From just 1715 in 2014, the number rose sharply to 14,530 in 2023. Another fun fact, 2023 was the first time that over 1,000 games were released every month on Steam.

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At 160 games released already in the first 5 days of this year, we may be heading to another record game release year on Steam. This is especially because January historically has one of the lowest game releases each year. But is there a downside to having too many games released each year?

The potential downside of the high volume of game releases on Steam

Steam Breaks Annual Game Release Record With Over 14,000 Titles, But Is It A Good Thing?

For a video game enthusiast, the more the number of releases, the more fun, right? But can too much of a good thing be a bad thing? Well, the higher number of game releases on Steam has had its pitfalls for some users of the platform—as well as game developers.

One of the reasons blamed for the deluge of game releases on Steam is the democratization of game development tools. Also, Steam has been accused of poor game curation. In other words, games are not vetted before accepting them on the platform.

The latter reason has arguably had by far the most negative effect on the platform. Users have complained that it is becoming increasingly harder to navigate the platform and find great games which are often hidden under a pile of low-quality releases.

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Although the number of games released on Nintendo’s eShop in 2023 is about one-sixth of that of Steam, users of the platform have also complained about the increasing number of low-quality titles on the platform and have called on Nintendo to step up the game in curating the platform.

On the developer side of things, an increase in the number of releases means more pressure on the consumers who have to ration their limited resources. In the end, developers may experience poorer sales—which may not have been the case if there were fewer titles available to consumers.

With the astronomical number of layoffs in 2023, there is a huge chance that some of the laid-off developers may turn to the development of indie games, meaning we may get more game releases this year—particularly from indie developers.

Categories: News

Emecheta Christian

Emecheta Christian is an avid gamer with over 5 years in the industry. He is also a poet. It is therefore not surprising that his post sometimes read like poetry.

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