2017 End of Year Statistical Examination – Part 1


For the third year now, I am endeavoring to examine the 4X game market. Just to review, I’m looking at data strictly from the birth of eXplorminate through 2017. Part of this is personal – we’re proud of the effect our site has had on the 4X community. Part is practical: data prior to 2014 is sketchy at best, so collecting it would most likely prove counterproductive.

All data for this article series comes from SteamSpy, Steamcharts, Steam, and Metacritic. If you note any errors, please bring them to my attention. Data is accurate as of December 31, 2017.

In part one of this article, just the raw numbers will be presented. I’ve found that some of our community members want to examine the numbers without my commentary and bias. I am totally sympathetic. I hope we can all learn from what is presented here. The most recent data (games from 2017) are shown first.

Games of 2017







Games of 2016







Games of 2015







Games of 2014







First, I’d like to thank SteamSpy and SteamCharts. Without those sites, this data analysis would not be possible. Also, as a reminder, I’m looking primarily at Steam data. Similar data for other services such as GOG or Origin are not available. Likewise, do not confuse Steam Owners with Steam Sales. There are a lot of ways to get a key on Steam, many do no require buying the game on Steam.

Now, with four years of data, we’re finally able to begin seeing some patterns to the 4X market. It’s a very exciting time, and with all this information, I believe we can learn a great deal from what’s going on in our beloved genre. I look forward to presenting my conclusions part two!

Categories: 4X, eXpositions

18 replies »

  1. Wow Stellaris truly had a stellar year. :P Also nice to see Thea still kicking it strong. ES2 numbers are a bit disappointing though even considering it’s rough launch.

    Going by the eXplorminate scores 2015 looks to be the best year for new releases but actually it was the most boring one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. wow what a work dude !!! bravo i really enjoyed reading this review and all this statistics hahaha and to be honest i really loved to see ES2 , Stellaris GC3,and Endless Legend on the top and got the eXemplary mention !!! hat up for the work .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome work Troy.

    I can’t believe the resurgence that GC3 has had lately.

    Makes me think it deserved most improved (despite my initial disagreement) after digesting those numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is amazing how much the Crusade expansion really turned GC3 around. Vanilla was the most disappointing 4x space game I’ve ever played because it was just boring and lifeless. Crusade lifted it much closer to the GC2 experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. nice to see GalCiv3 and Thea are still successfull in 2017.

    Imperium Galactica 1+2 where nice games back in their days, but selling them now for normal price at about 10$ is a scam.

    thanks for the roundup of information.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would suggest normalizing the peak and weekly number of players by the total number of owners. That would at least provide a different way to think about the data.


  6. I would suggest normalizing the peak and weekly number of players by the total number of owners. That would at least provide a different way to think about the data.


  7. Just checking – on the chart for 2014 games you have aow 3 labeled as a consider. Is that right???
    I am surprised by that! i thought it should have earned a recommended status Or I am I mistaken ?


  8. For the Gal Civ 3 base game numbers, please keep in mind they were in three separate bundles for Humble Bundle in 2017. One the reasons I had a copy and gave another away to Explorminate. Data from IsThereAnyDeal.com.

    Humble Stardock Bundle by Humble Bundle – EXPIRED 2 MONTHS AGO
    Humble Monthly – July 2017 by Humble Bundle – EXPIRED 6 MONTHS AGO
    Humble Intergalactic Bundle by Humble Bundle – EXPIRED 8 MONTHS AGO



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