Embarking on a journey that allows you to endure thick and thin in the bustling city with a console in hand is an adventurous endeavor. If one possesses everything but has never stepped into the realm of gaming, they might be considered an individual lost in gnarled woods.
As per SteamDB, a reputable independent Steam analytics site, a staggering 14,535 games graced the platform in the past year, marking a visible surge of about 2,000 titles compared to the count in 2022. However, this gaming frenzy doesn’t find an equal on other platforms in the US, with the closest contender being Nintendo Switch, which delved into a deep forest, releasing 2,360 games in 2023, according to market insights firm Circana. This stark contrast underscores Steam’s dominance in the market.
The meteoric upthrust in the number of games hitting Steam’s virtual shelves is a noteworthy trend. In just five years, Steam has heaved from unleashing 8,134 games in 2019 to a monumental increase of over 6,000 in the last year alone.
Such significant growth shows no signs of ebbing, indicating that in the first four days of 2024, a raucous 80 games have already unfurled from the canal to cascade through the streets of various countries. If the thunderbolt phase shows no sign of stopping at the nearest station, we might witness the mind-shattering release of almost 29,000 games for 2024.
This surge is embroiled in a confluence of factors, notably the increased accessibility of game development tools, facilitating more developers to bring their creations to life. Additionally, the somewhat relaxed curation on Valve’s part has played a role, allowing a multitude of games to enter the marketplace. However, this lax approach has not been without criticism. Many players express frustration at the unwieldy nature of navigating the platform, where high-quality releases risk being overshadowed by a deluge of low-quality titles.
A similar apprehension reverberates through the corridors of Nintendo’s eShop, which, while seeing a fraction of Steam’s releases with over 2000 games in 2023, hustles with its own challenge of ‘shovelware’—low-quality, hastily produced games—crowding the platform. This has spurred calls for Nintendo to take a more proactive role in curating the eShop, ensuring a more discerning selection of titles for players to explore.
At the heart of the matter, the gaming landscape is experiencing an unprecedented influx of titles, raising questions about the balance between quantity and quality and the role of platforms in curating an enriching gaming experience for users. This could be something either extraordinary or unforeseen.