In April last year, Russian games veteran Sergey Galvonkin set up Steam Spy.
Though not completely accurate, it analyses profile data to better understand how games are selling – and when – on PC download service Steam.
Steam Spy has provided MCV with UK figures for between April and the end of 2015 so we can have a closer look at how the big games are selling.
As you can see (bottom), GTA V was unsurprisingly the biggest game of 2015. followed closely by Fallout 4.
Though new titles such as Rocket League, ARK, Cities: Skylines (which launched before this data period) and Football Manager 2016 are all present in the charts, it's interesting to see the long-tail performance of titles, such as Garry's Mod (now ten years old), Skyrim and Counter-Strike.
The regular Steam sales clearly benefit older titles, and the impact of game sales can be seen in the playtime graph (below). The peaks are centred around big launches (you can clearly see GTA V – April 14th – and Fallout 4 – November 10th), seasonal events (the biggest spike runs over New Year). And, of course, the sales. Including the recent Steam Winter Sale.
Another interesting chart are the games that overperform in the UK versus other territories. Not only are we a country of Football Manager lovers, but it turns out simulation titles over index in the UK versus other markets, too.
HANG ON, IS STEAM SPY RELIABLE?
No, not exactly. Steam Spy extrapolates data from a number of user profiles and thus isn't 100 per cent correct. In order to make this as accurate as possible, Steam Spy has to gather millions of points of data every day, and that's why it's often wrong. Although it gives us a good idea of how things are performing, and until an agreement can be reached on sharing digital data, it's the best we have. For now.
STEAM SPY TOP 10 (APRIL – DECEMBER 2015)
1. Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar) – 242,778
2. Fallout 4 (Bethesda) – 239,970
3. Counter Strike: Global Offensive (Valve)–193,326
4. Rocket League (Psyonix)–158,550
5. ARK: Survival Evolved (Studio Wildcard)–151,445
6. Football Manager 2016 (Sega)–128,140
7. Cities: Skylines (Paradox)–83,527
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda)–81,964
9. Elite Dangerous (Frontier Developments)–80,087
10. Garry's Mod (Facepunch)–75,370
STEAM SPY UK OVERPERFORMERS
These are games that have the most share of players from the UK compared to the average. It's not a Top Ten of popular games.
1. Football Manager 2016 (Sega) –32.57%
2. Football Manager 2015 (Sega)–30.72%
3. Mini Metro (Dinosaur Polo Club)–18.64%
4. Elite Dangerous Horizons (Frontier Developments)–15.02%
5. Train Simulator 2015 (Dovetail Games) –14.08%
6. Elite Dangerous (Frontier Developments)–13.41%