Valve explains why some indies have seen reduced Steam traffic

Valve explains why some indies have seen reduced Steam traffic

PC games giant Valve has given some detail as to why smaller studios have seen a downturn in traffic to their Steam pages.

In a blog post, programmer Tom Bui said that the issue was down to changes that Valve made to searches on the platform. At the start of October, the firm started to factor items on a person's wishlist or sales more than before. As a side effect, this started showing popular games that had one tag in common with the title which was being searched for in the 'More Like This' section.

Valve has said that it tweaked the way More Like This worked again, boosting the tag similarity at the end of October.

Alongside this, between October 10th and 17th, Valve started experimenting with More Like This designed to more effectively show users titles they wanted to see. This was only meant to be for a smaller number of users, but has resulted in a decrease in traffic over time.

Valve reckons that traffic has recovered as of October 19th - well over a month ago - which doesn't address the concerns of developers speaking to who have seen traffic tanking since the start of October, a trend that has not reversed since like Valve seems to believe.

"In general, we’re always trying to show games to customers that we think they will enjoy, no matter who made them, what the budget was, when they came out, etc, "Bui wrote.

"We're constantly exploring ideas and trying new things to try to figure out the best ways to do this. The fact is, traffic is going to shift whenever we do this work; it may go up or it may go down for any individual product. However, not all impressions and views are equal – in the end, what matters is that we show customers games that they find interesting."

Valve has found itself under fire this week due to the aforementioned traffic issues, but also because it has made changes to its revenue share terms meaning that games that make more than $10m will be paying a 25 per cent cut to the firm rather than the standard 30. That figure shrinks to 20 per cent once a project hits $50m in revenue. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.