Following the Steam Discoverability update in September 2019, some indie developers have seen a huge boost to sales.

Valve introduced the update as a way of better personalising recommended games. Previously, the games recommended on both the home page and store were tailored towards the most popular games. The experiment that took place on several members of the Steam community showed a 75% rise in unique games visited.

According to a recent VG247 article, publishers such as No More Robots have seen a significant boost in wishlist placements. Unfortunately, not all indie developers have received the same treatment. Other sources, such as PC Gamer, suggest some indie titles have received less promotion on the marketplace.

Valve will likely apply some changes to the recent update following the mixed response but thus far has remained silent. Since the update is still relatively new, the data gathered in the following months could help improve indie visibility.

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Richard Flint
Part of the UK team, Richard enjoys a bit of everything. From covering news, to meeting up with devs at events, Rich has done it all and loves every minute of it. No task is too big or too small and each new opportunity is a chance to grow as writer.

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    1 Comment

    1. The vast majority of reports are of severe loss of sales:
      https://twitter.com/tha_rami/status/1177937102568329216

      Here are some more sources
      * Spark Chronicles reports on the effects of the algorithm.
      https://sparkchronicles.com/steam-the-new-algorithm-is-a-catastrophe-for-some-indie-developers/
      * While Steam likely has a considerable department of data scientists, BurakTezateser raises an excellent analysis of the stakeholders on the platform
      https://gamasutra.com/blogs/BurakTezateser/20190930/350922/
      * A discussion about releasing indie games under the altered algorithm. https://reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/d3ly0s/steam_did_your_more_like_this_section_change/
      * Developer MKSchmidt wrote an open letter to Valve HQ on how the changes are negatively impacting sales and crushing smaller developers:
      https://indiedb.com/news/an-open-letter-to-valve-ceo-gabe-newell
      * There’s over 650 posts on the Steamworks developer forum (most of them complaints)

      Additionally

      https://steamcommunity.com/groups/steamworks/discussions/0/1627412171703341967/
      * Steam likes is a website that shows how many recommendations a game has and where. The number of recommendations to the few top sellers have doubled, while other games vanish.
      https://steamlikes.com
      * Kotaku on the effects on the algorithm:
      https://kotaku.com.au/2019/09/steams-big-discovery-update-is-hurting-some-indie-developers-games/

      Additionally here’s some examples of the loss of relevance in recommendations:
      * Bastion/Transistor: No isometric RPGs besides each other (and maybe Omensight)
      * Terraria/Starbound: No sandbox platformers besides each other, all AAA 3D games.
      * Vagante/Dead Cells/Downwell /Towerclimb/Eagle Island: Few procedural platformers shown overall.
      * Monaco: No top-down stealth games (Besides Escapist 2)

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