eXplorminate is a 4X-centric strategy site dedicated to promoting and understanding the 4X genre. As part of that mission, I’d like to begin a new tradition at the site. At the end of each year, I’m going to publish a few vital statistics for all the new 4X and 4X-lite games that were released that year. The aim of this article series is to provoke discussion in our forums and hopefully, after a few years, allow us to examine some trends and draw conclusions from those trends that can inform various aspects of game publishing such as design, crowdfunding, marketing, and so on.
The four areas I want to eXamine are numbers of copies sold on Steam, All-Time Peak Concurrent Players on Steam, Peak Monthly Average of Concurrent Players on Steam, and Crowdfunding Success. Links to my sources will be provided.
There are a number of obstacles when it comes to measuring sales. Up until this year, there was no publically available data on game ownership at all, but thankfully a source tracking game ownership on Steam came online this year. 2015 sales figures for games are estimated using the peak ownership level according to SteamSpy.com. Thanks to some very generous developers, we are able to compare internal and verifiable sales data with data from SteamSpy. Based on data from multiple companies both large and small, it is our conclusion that the peak owners statistic on SteamSpy most closely correlates to actual sales. Because of non-disclosure agreements we have with several game companies, we will not publish their actual sales data, thus our reasoning for using peak SteamSpy ownership for the purposes of this article. Keep in mind these are estimates only and that SteamSpy has a not-insignificant margin for error, and I am going to sidestep issues regarding when a game was launched, early access sales, presales, and the like. I am focussed merely on quantitative data, not qualitative judgements.
|Title||Estimated Copies Sold|
|Galactic Civilizations III||204529|
|Star Ruler 2||35298|
|Thea: The Awakening||31608|
|Worlds of Magic||16526|
Peak Concurrent Players
Here we measure the most players who were playing our selection of 4X games at a single time. The record for most concurrent players will be calculated using SteamCharts.com. SteamCharts gets its data directly from Steam.
|Galactic Civilizations III||6225|
|Thea: The Awakening||1691|
|Star Ruler 2||360|
|Worlds of Magic||202|
Peak Monthly Average of Concurrent Players
This data set measures the average number of players that were concurrently playing a particular game at any given time over the course of a month. As with the above category, our data comes from SteamCharts.com.
|Galactic Civilizations III||1895|
|Thea: The Awakening||403|
|Star Ruler 2||97|
|Worlds of Magic||54|
Data for this section comes from Kickstarter and Indie-Go-Go. If you know of a crowdfunding revenue stream that any of the below games employed other than those two, please contact us via Steam or post in the comments section.
|Galactic Civilizations III||No Campaign|
|StarDrive 2||No Campaign|
|Thea: The Awakening||2 Failed|
|Star Ruler 2||No Campaign|
|Sorcerer King||No Campaign|
|Worlds of Magic||2 Successful|
|Arcane Sorcery||No Campaign|
|Galactic Inheritors||No Campaign|
I will not be doing any editorializing of these statistics in this article. They are here only to provoke discussion in our message boards and for future reference. I plan on producing one like this every year. Ideally, in the future, we will be able to look back at this article series and draw some conclusions from what we discover.