Steam players don’t care about platformers unless they mixed with other genres 

Game marketing consultant Chris Zukowski has shared a deep analysis on genres that Steam users love to play. Based on this data, it is hard for an indie developer to make a profitable platformer unless it is mixed with other genres like metroidvania or roguelike.

Rogue Legacy 2

Last month, Zukowski wrote an article analyzing the top genres by sales on Steam. Despite a low number of launched titles over the last two years, Roguelike remains the most commercially successful category by median sales. On the other hand, indie developers continue to make way too many games in highly competitive genres like FPS, Platformers, and Match3, often failing to earn money off them.

This time, Zukowski went a little further and analyzed the genres’ popularity based on YouTube views and most played demos. Here are the key takeaways from the study:

  • RPG was the most viewed genre by Steam players on YouTube last year (based on compilation videos with top titles of certain game categories released by Valve during each Steam Next Fest);
  • It is followed by Strategy and Action / Adventure games, with Platformers and Puzzle titles generating the least views;
  • A combination of Strategy, Simulator, and Builder genres was the top category among the top 12 most played demos during the latest Winter Next Fest (based on Steam’s official data);
  • There were also 4 Horror games in the top 12, but 0 Platformers, which, once again, indicates players’ attitude towards this genre;
  • It is also worth noting that Strategy was only the fourth top genre by the number of playable demos during the latest Next Fest, with Adventure and Action games leading the list;

Image credit: Chris Zukowski

  • Zukowski also counted how many games per genre appeared in the top 20 best-selling titles for the last 6 months. The leaders are RPG, Builders, Rogue, and Strategy categories;
  • There were also 6 Platformers on the list. However, all of them mix platforming mechanics with other complex genres like Rogue (Rogue Legacy 2) or Metroidvania (Infernax).

The full article, where Zukowski also explains why it is crucial to understand the risks before choosing a genre and investing the time and money into development, can be found here.

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