Ars Technica Estimates Steam Sales and Hours Played

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 01:56 AM |
Tagged: valve, steam

Valve does not release sales or hours played figures for any game on Steam and it is rare to find a publisher who will volunteer that information. That said, Steam user profiles list that information on a per-account basis. If someone, say Ars Technica, had access to sufficient server capacity, say an Amazon Web Services instance, and a reasonable understanding of statistics, then they could estimate.

Oh look, Ars Technica estimated by extrapolating from over 250,000 random accounts.

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If interested, I would definitely look through the original editorial for all of its many findings. Here, if you let me (and you can't stop me even if you don't), I would like to add my own analysis on a specific topic. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the PC, according to VGChartz, sold 3.42 million copies on at retail, worldwide. The thing is, Steamworks was required for every copy sold at retail or online. According to Ars Technica's estimates, 5.94 million copies were registered with Steam.

5.94 minus 3.42 is 2.52 million copies sold digitally. Almost a third of PC sales were made through Steam and other digital distribution platforms. Also, this means that the PC was the game's second-best selling platform, ahead of the PS3 (5.43m) and behind the Xbox 360 (7.92m), minus any digital sales on those platforms if they exist, of course. Despite its engine being programmed in DirectX 9, it is still a fairly high-end game. That is a fairly healthy install base for decent gaming PCs.

Did you discover anything else on your own? Be sure to discuss it in our comments!

Source: Ars Technica
April 16, 2014 | 10:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Good for the Gaben, I just hope he does more for the content creators, the Debian folks, and gets them some NVIDIA Jetson TK1 development kits/ and AMD kits(when available for tablet based SKUs), and gets Steam OS running on Tablets, and I mean tablets that are able to run a full Debian distro (Steam is Debian based). The tegra K1 has the full desktop versions of OpenGL, OpenCL, etc. and a full linux based tablet should be able to run Gimp, Blender(AT least for mesh modeling), and maybe some rendering. The wacom graphics tablets cost $$$$, dito for the windows OS based graphics tablets! The Nvidia K1 has the potential to make a fine low cost graphics tablet running a full linux distro, same for AMD's low cost X86 based APUs running full linux, and AMD future ARMv8 custom APUs that are being developed! All this attention to Android, and other consumption based OSs, has me worried that the content creators will be stuck with little options, and there should be a few full Linux based tablets for those that are creating the content that the gaming industry needs(more so for the indipendent creators, and students). Full Linux, with its low system overhead would be great for any low cost graphics tablet, and give WINTEL some competition. Apple appears to be heading in the direction of a pro tablet that can run OSX, but that will be high cost also, and a full Linux based tablet may be the only chance for a walled garden FREE ecosystem on the tablet form factor.

P.S. any chance of PcPer getting a NVIDIA Jetson TK1 development kit, for review?

April 20, 2014 | 10:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Problem is steam stats are a bit off, the client will sometimes not register that your game has closed, this happens even if the game did not crash, it does not poll to see if the executable is running, so I can be stuck in a game 24/7 if I don't bother to just end task of steam client, and no, it won't let you exit normally if you have a phantom game running, and it won't let you launch any other games either. Just one of the things muddying up the waters, I tend not to fix this issue until I H ave to run another game....

April 21, 2014 | 06:34 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yeah, that is a problem. Ars Technica compared their predictions against some testimonials and found it was fairly accurate, though; examples suggest around +/- 10%.

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