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December 13, 2018
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Devs say a problem with the Steam algorithm has severely hurt store page traffic

Devs say a problem with the Steam algorithm has severely hurt store page traffic

December 3, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon




Indie developers are calling attention to a significant drop in traffic to the Steam pages for their games on the platform that very suddenly appeared at the beginning of October and has persisted ever since.

Grey Alien Games’ Jake Birkett has rounded up his own experience with the sudden shift in a blog post and Tweet on the topic, and other developers have since chimed in to say that they also saw a sharp decrease in traffic around early October as well. 

As Birkett notes, there was a known discovery bug at the beginning of October that has since been fixed, but some devs are still reporting noticeable hits in traffic (and thus sales) when comparing data from before and after the bug. It is worth noting however that, as both Birkett and devs on Twitter point out, some indie developers haven’t seen a change in traffic, but the number of devs that have had issues still seems to indicate that something is up on Valve’s end.

RocketWerks CEO Dean Hall says that his team is seeing about 10 percent as much traffic for their game Stationeers as they were before the October bug. Another dev, Peter Angstadt behind the game Kingdoms and Castles, says sales dropped by 30 to 50 percent when the bug first hit and have yet to recover. Developer Simon Roth shared an image of traffic for the game Maia, embedded just below, that also shows a sharp decline at the beginning of October and lower traffic following that. Looking at the data gathered by Birkett in his own blog post, full price sales are half of what they were before the early October bug, while unit sales of Grey Alien Games’ most expensive game have fallen by 36 percent in the same period. 

Wow @GreyAlien wasn't kidding. In October @steam_games did something that killed traffic to loads of indie games. Here's mine. Look at that baseline drop to 0. Hmm. pic.twitter.com/8lOnOtT3Fn

— Simon Roth (@SimoRoth) December 2, 2018

For developers with Steamworks accounts, there is a forum post on the dev portal where concerned developers have been discussing the issue.  Gamasutra has reached out to Valve for more information and will update this story following a reply. 



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