Fri. Mar 24th, 2023
A snapshot of the self-reported country data captured by Steam Spy.

A snapshot of the self-reported country data captured by Steam Spy.

A new daily service, inspired by Ars Technica’s own Steam Gauge project, details estimated sales and player data for each game on Valve’s Steam service.

Steam Spy uses the same sort of random sampling methods we first outlined in our first Steam Gauge post to estimate total ownership, average play time, recent play time, and more for all games on Steam. The service is updated every day, and with a simple, clean interface, users can explore the data based on user-reported player location, game genre, release date, developer, and more with just a few clicks.

On the Steam Spy About page, Cypriot gaming blogger Sergey Galyonkin credits a “cool idea by Kyle Orland of Ars Technica” as the basis for the site (thanks!). He also warns users that Steam Spy has many of the same limitations as Steam Gauge before it: a small margin of error inherent in sampling about 100,000 user profiles per day, temporary skews of “free weekend” numbers, missing data from other distribution methods, and results that are “completely unreliable for recently released games”. Still, the site represents an invaluable resource for anyone interested in demystifying the usually obscure world of game sales statistics.

The site’s Alpha launch over the weekend is already having some ripple effects in the industry. Wadjet Eye Games’ Dave Gilbert decided to release official sales statistics for all of the company’s games rather than leave others guessing at the accuracy of public estimates available on Steam Spy. “This is the new reality and I suppose developers like me will have to adapt,” he writes.

Steam Spy isn’t the only project to take the Steam Gauge idea and take it in interesting directions. Deep Gabe uses the raw data from Steam API sampling and applies machine learning algorithms to compare games based on their similarities. The result is a model that attempts to predict Metacritic scores both before and after launch based on available information.

For our part, we’re planning more analysis of our own Steam Gauge data in the coming weeks, including some statistical breakdowns of data beyond the standard “top sellers” lists.

By akfire1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.