• Dethrone Valve Games - How Hard Is It?

    So recently on the 27th, PUBG (Player Unknown's Battle Grounds) dethroned every other game to take the #1 played game on Steam. Though it was short lived, it is possible.

    However, this brings to mind a question. How hard is it for a development company to do something like this? Surpassing all games made by the company that owns the platform you released your game to? Has to be difficult, but lets look into how hard it actually is.

    If you are a fan of first person shooter games, you have most likely heard of Counter Strike. If you are a fan of the MOBA genre, you have played DOTA 2 at least once.

    3 of the top 10 games today are made by valve, and are of those two Genre's. The rest of the games on the list are from other developers, including developer Bluehole Studio's Player Unknown's Battle Grounds. So what does it take to be a more popular game than Football Manager 2017 which today as of writing this is at #6 on the list?

    First off you have to make a game that is easy to get into, addictive to stay playing and keeps you coming back for more. Without that your numbers might spike but they won't be constant. You have to keep your constant player base in the upper echelon of counts to even break the top 10. The number one thing about all of these games are replay-ability. You want to keep playing, day after day to get better at the game, increase your rank on the ladder, or just win a tournament.

    One of the hardest things is to get the launch of your game right. Without testing prior to release, you can potentially fail to attract the initial player base you will need to progress further up. This affects probably the number one factor in all of this. Player opinions. While everyone has one on the internet, the ones that shout loudest are the ones that gain the most traction. So obviously the ones that people focus on are the negative aspects. What aren't they going to like when they buy and install this game? Keeping the player's happy on launch is probably the first area most games fail, especially if it includes an on-line aspect.

    Look at GTA V release. It was great on consoles, and then the PC version came out and the servers went down for days, sometimes just randomly disconnecting players and a general sense of "Rockstar Screwed Up" feeling was heard in cries of anguish around the interwebs. Not many people who bought GTA V left however, because the single player aspect was still there, so they could at least play 'the game' just not online 100% of the time. Eventually they fixed the problems, and everyone was happy for the most part again.
    When your game consists of some sort of Online content, be it game play itself (Team Fortress 2), or having to be connected to even play the Single Player (Sim City), you can run into some issues if you are not prepared for the onslaught of players that may be playing your game.

    In some aspects, the pre-sale is a good metric to go by, seeing as if you track your sales day by day, you can sort of judge how many people MIGHT log into the game at the same time on hour 1 of your launch. A lot of developers do this, but what they fail to see is the number of players that buy the game are usually more than half of the ones that buy the game on launch day. With the recent launches of games pushing big numbers at the start, they tend to dwindle if the game is not fun, has not replay-ability, or they just can't connect due to server stability and loads.

    So after all of that is done, you have spent thousands of dollars in infrastructure and advertising for your games launch, now you have to compete with existing games. Meaning you have to make a part of your audience from those games want to play YOUR game. This can be challenging, especially if there are many games like yours on the list already.

    Rainbow Six: Siege, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 are all the same 'general' idea. First person shooter with goals to complete a round or game. Two of these games are made by Valve. Rainbow Six had to come up with some sort of aspect of their game to distinguish them from the others to try and pique the interest of the players of CS:GO and TF2. I think they did that very well with making a strategic kind of FPS, which is pretty much what every Rainbow Six game is all about even going back to Rogue Spear days. I think that is the only reason that it is on the list. It is different enough from the other games with a different game play style, while remaining a FPS shooter game.

    And your game doesn't have to be NEW to make the list. As of writing, Gary's Mod is still in the top 10 list at #10 actually. But that game is all about replay-ability. The modding community is what makes that game work, and work well.

    So if you are a game developers, you need to make sure you do all of the above things, which everyone tries to do, yet we still have flops and games that are generally boring or un-intuitive in UI design. These games have practically no effect on the number of players who are playing games on Steam, and usually take up space in a database somewhere. The most difficult task is going to be coming up with some unique idea, but not unique enough to be something completely different than anything else. Look what happened to No Man's Sky. While the developers flat out lied to media and the consumers, they were doing exactly this. They were using a pretty common practice of generating content, but on such a massive scale that they were the first company to really put out a game using it at its core. No Man's Sky currently sits around a 4,000 user peak count in a 24 hour period, at $60 per player it is still fairly popular with its hardcore fanatic following.

    Since it's release, other game developers have taken the ideas and concepts behind No Man's Sky and created games that are so much more than No Man's Sky was, but are still no where near the user base that No Man's Sky has currently. Here is a list of similar titles and the 24-hour peak counts, just for show:

    Empyrion - 2,027
    Astroneer - 529
    Planet Nomads - 76
    Pulsar: Lost Colony - 75
    Rodina - 9

    So obviously, since these developers have seen a potential game mechanic as being interesting and cool, I think one of the big downfalls of them were the lack of advertising and product promotion. Astroneer which a LOT of people have heard about, but not that many have played, had a peak of 11,900 players compared to No Man's Sky 212,321 players.

    Imagine what could have happened if Astroneer's developers had gotten the push by Sony that No Man's Sky did...

    So there are a few points to keep in mind if any Ownedcore members are developers or looking to get into game development, want to see how much hard work and money needs to go into even getting your game to chart, and the insane amount of work that will need to be done to push your game up into the top 100 let alone the top 10 of Steam Charts. If you are interested in a game and have not heard about Steam Charts, go check out a google search for a game and add in Steam Charts after the name. If it is on Steam you can see how much effort they put into the game from development to marketing for release to the masses.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Dethrone Valve Games - How Hard Is It? started by Veritable View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Yawnstar's Avatar
      Yawnstar -
      Every game in the top chart screenshot above (apart from football manager) has multiplayer replayablility, it makes sense why so many games these days would rather cut single player content and add multiplayer to their game.

      Interesting post, thanks!
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