Steam player data leak reveals detailed PC game sales data

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Chary, Jul 9, 2018.


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    When Steam announced that they'd be changing the way their user data was shared to comply with the recent European GDPR laws, Steam Spy, a site dedicated to estimating the amount of owners of Steam game, was rendered almost useless by the change. In the hopes of creating something similar to gauge amount of copies sold on the platform, programmer Tyler Glaiel ended up finding a new way to do what Steam Spy did, and in an even more accurate manner. His method required using Valve's Steam API to check achievement data for games and calculating the data to find the percentage of how many people obtained an achievement, and then use that to further find how many people had purchased a certain game. With the numbers provided by the API workaround, Glaiel was able to find the exact sales numbers of a large number of Steam games, so long as they had achievement data.

    His method is detailed below.

    When Valve had stated that they were working internally to find a better way of offering player data to users, this was not at all what they intended, and the data "leak" in the API was patched within four days of it being discovered. Prior to that, however, tech site ArsTechnica compiled all the offered sales data into a .CSV file and are hosting it on their site.

    The file includes sales amount and data for games up until July 1st, and is the most accurate and detailed information dump to exist in regards to Steam. This also lets us see the highest selling or downloaded games of all time for the platform, of which Team Fortress 2 tops. Other games like Skyrim, Rocket League, Portal, PUBG, and more are also incredibly popular and have sold over 10 million on Steam alone.


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    The full technical details of the leak can be found on Arstechnica, as well as the csv and top 1000 chart.

    :arrow: Source
     
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    Discussion (40 replies)
  1. leon315

    leon315 POWERLIFTER

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    Using the numbers of STEAM achievements to calculate numbers of sales, Pretty smart tho!
     
  2. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Tom BombaDadlo

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    I forgot
    These sales figures are pretty interesting, there's a few games here that I thought would've been much, much higher, and some that I thought we be way lower.

    Skyrim, for example, is one of those ones that, to me, is on the low end. I know the estimated sales figures overall for the game was like 30 million or so (not counting the Special Edition), but I find it hard to believe the game has sold more on consoles (even combined PS3/360) vs PC.

    Payday 2 seems on the high end, last I heard that game hadn't even broken 10 mil in sales on it's own total, so the fact that it's sitting at 18 mil is pretty surprising.

    Interesting to see though, I wish devs would push out exact sales figures for older games more often.
     
  3. bootmonster

    bootmonster GBAtemp Fan

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    You would need to include Skyrim special edition which has sold 4.4m according to that.

    Assume they have only included where the person doesn’t have Skyrim OG as you got special edition free if you had the original game.
     
  4. VitaType

    VitaType GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Wow, didn't expected Team Fortress 2 beeing before [insert recent Counter-Strike release], also that GTA5 is under Civ5 and Terraria.
    Guess that GTA5 is such low on the list compared with the success it had has to do with GTA beeing seen as a console game by most people :unsure: (it actually didn't sold that well on PC it seems)

    Uhm. The OP explaines the method used here and that explanation answers your question how they where counted ;)
     
    Last edited by VitaType, Jul 9, 2018
  5. hollowtip

    hollowtip Advanced Member

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    Skyrim had a physical PC release so it doesn't include those sales as well.
     
  6. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Tom BombaDadlo

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    I forgot
    The physical released uses Steamworks, so yes it would be included in those sales. You can't actually install Skyrim from the physical copies without installing and using Steam.
     
  7. Volttekka

    Volttekka Member

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    I think in regards to Payday 2, it had numerous occasions where the game was offered for free, so that might account for the higher than expected ranking.
     
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  8. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Tom BombaDadlo

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    I forgot
    That sounds about right, definitely forgot the game went free a couple times (I think that's actually how I ended up owning it myself :lol:)
     
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  9. bootmonster

    bootmonster GBAtemp Fan

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    Just rereading that again, so if there no achievements the sales don’t count? I own a bunch of those games including gta v and Skyrim on steam but have never played them as I own them on console as well. So those won’t be counted?
     
  10. Chary
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    He used the percentage data--Steam mentions how many percent of players obtain achievements in a game, and he used that data to backwards calculate from there. So it theoretically does include those without achievements ever gotten.
     
  11. bootmonster

    bootmonster GBAtemp Fan

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    Still doesn’t make sense for Skyrim special edition. The number of owners should be more than Skyrim standard edition if everyone who the original automatically got the special edition for free, and there will have been subsequent sales of the special edition.
     
  12. Tom Bombadildo

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    I forgot
    That deal was only for people who bought the Legendary edition of Skyrim, if you only bought the original and then the DLCs separately, you wouldn't get Special Edition for free.
     
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  13. bootmonster

    bootmonster GBAtemp Fan

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    That’s actually a fair point. Nice addition at the bottom of the post in the link he does actually state that the “total” does only count people who launched the game at least once. Interesting nonetheless.
     
  14. xtrem3x

    xtrem3x Advanced Member

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    GTA 5 was cheaper directly though Rockstar Social Club + all the CDKey sites were a lot cheaper than Steam and they go through Rockstar Social Club too. For this reason you can't use the Steam figures alone to calculate the success of GTA 5. Steam maybe accounts for 40%(?) of GTA 5 sales, maybe even less. I know a lot of people who bought it but none of them have it on Steam.
     
    VitaType likes this.
  15. ip60

    ip60 GBAtemp Regular

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    Most games sell more on consoles.
     
  16. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

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    I'm surprised Unturned and Robocraft are so high up, I've never even heard of them.
     
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  17. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I wonder what all those claiming PC gaming was dead 10-15 years ago would make of this.
     
  18. ip60

    ip60 GBAtemp Regular

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    The list makes it seem pretty dead, it's all multiplayer games from over 5 years ago and free to play games.
     
  19. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Tom BombaDadlo

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    I forgot
    Did you even look at the source? There are nearly over 300 games that have 1 million+ in sales there on Steam alone, which is easily over 100+ more than the big three platforms (360/PS3/Wii/WiiU/XB1/PS4/Switch) combined.

    Pretty sure that's far flung from "dead".
     
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