Is Steam suffering from the same problem as the Google Play Store?


The problem with running a minimally regulated digital distribution platform is that, while there will be no shortage of new content, the quality of that content won’t always be the best. This was one of the biggest weaknesses of the Google Play Store before Google started increasing its quality control, but while the same thing has been happening to Steam over the past couple of years, is it really a bad thing?

Since the time Valve began publicly tracking hours-played in July 2009, I’ve launched 341 different games from Steam. Today, Steam adds at least that many games each month and a half—55 each week, on average, or almost eight per day. There’s no question that Steam is saturated. Steam grew by 561 games in 2013, but added 1,814 in 2014. Seven months into 2015, there’s already 1,592 new games on Steam. But is that truly a problem? Steam’s library is growing at the fastest rate in its 12-year history, and those of us who play and write about PC games full-time will never dig more than a spoon into Steam’s mountain range of more than 5,600 games. It’s certainly tempting, even natural, to label that as a problem. Last year, there was a wave of concern following a Gamasutra post that visualized the volume of new games hitting Steam. Kotaku wrote that the trend was hurting developers and gamers. Spiderweb Software’s Jeff Vogel told of the imminent burst of the indie bubble, and others jumped up from their chairs to agree: there are too many games on Steam.

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