Steam and MMOs

Ars Technica recently released statistics on Steam games. They sampled public data and estimated sales and gameplay for the most popular titles. Both articles are interesting and worth a read:

The 2nd page of the 2nd article has a big list of the top 100.

Naturally, I looked over the list, curious about MMOs.

First, the most popular MMOs don’t have Steam clients. For instance, in the list that Nosy Gamer maintains, which is the top 12 by XFire statistics, I can’t find the following games on Steam (list of games taken from the Apr 15 2014 list):

  • 1. WoW
  • 2. Guild Wars 2
  • 3. SWTOR
  • 4. Elder Scrolls Online
  • 7. Aion
  • 8. TERA
  • 12. Runescape

That’s more than half of them, including the top 4. Oof.

So of Ars Technica’s estimated top 100 Steam Games, I see the following MMOs, not counting FPS type shooters or RTS games:

  • 1. DOTA
  • 17. Planetside 2
  • 21. Spiral Knights
  • 48. Realm of the Mad God
  • 51. Path of Exile
  • 94. Fallen Earth

The thing is, and I don’t want to get into arguments about what is and isn’t an MMO, but my own definition doesn’t include MOBAs or action shooter RPGs and games along those lines. To be fair, I haven’t played most of those games so I can’t render an opinion based on experience – for instance, I list Planetside 2 since Nosy Gamer did – but what blew me away was the game at #94. Fallen Earth.

Congrats are in order to Fallen Earth for being the only MMO (IMHO) that made the top 100 Steam Game list! Represent!!

That’s the only game I think is really an MMO in the list. Spiral Knights and Realm of the Mad God look more like arena shooter type games, Path of Exile looks like a Diablo-style dungeon crawler action RPG. Besides, further up on the list at #40 is Torchlight 2, a game in a similar vein.

Fallen Earth. Ranked #94, which places it above games available through Steam which aren’t on the list at all, such as EVE Online, LoTRO, TSW, DDO, FF XIV, RIFT, Neverwinter, Darkfall: UW, AoC, etc.

Perhaps what partly explains Fallen Earth’s lofty position is that it was released recently enough (Sep 2009) so the majority of the player base hadn’t already bought it standalone by the time it came to Steam (Oct 2011) for all of its time to be tracked (after Mar 2009). And with the transition of Fallen Earth to Gamer’s First, the shrink wrapped product fell by the wayside versus purchasing it on Steam. Where, just to take an example, Trion has been over RIFT the entire time, selling direct on their website, so the proportion of direct sales to Steam sales is different than it is for Fallen Earth.

Now to be fair, MMOs typically also have their own standalone clients; not everybody buys through Steam. For instance, LoTRO and DDO both became available via Steam years after their original release: LoTRO release Apr 2007 and was added to Steam Jun 2012, etc. So many players probably don’t go through Steam and thus no stats. And there is the fact half the popular ones (Digital Dozen) including the top 4 aren’t on Steam at all.

It would be interesting to see the tail end of the game list, if Ars would publish it. Games #101 to 200 or even higher. I have a feeling Valve/Steam might not be too happy about publishing more, however.

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