Indie developers are having a tough time staying competitive on third party platforms, a struggle that’s perhaps most visible on Steam. A major contributor to this state was a discoverability algorithm update in 2018 that caused a sharp drop in traffic for many indie teams. This was followed by revenue sharing changes, new content policy rules, web API adjustments, and other changes that seemed to favor AAA developers over everyone else.
Steam is still a valuable sales channel for indie teams looking to reach a large audience, despite the visibility challenges. To survive, developers have been adopting overly cautious marketing tactics to avoid losing what little ground they’ve gained. Anything that could potentially reduce Steam traffic or Steam sales is off the table, even if those tactics could produce better results in the long term.
In this ebook, we’ll take a closer look at what game developers can do for better discoverability and increase organic traffic on Steam. We’ll see that revenue from this source may not be as crucial as some developers believe and that adopting community building strategies such as early game key sales can actually produce better traffic and sales results inside of the Steam ecosystem and beyond.