Steam flooded with record-breaking number of new games in 2023 – why it may be cause for concern

**The Inundation of Games on Steam: A Cause for Concern?**

In the year 2023, a record-breaking 14,532 games flooded the online gaming platform, Steam. This number marked a significant increase from the previous year, with 2022 witnessing 12,561 releases. The trend of escalating game releases on Steam has been consistent, with yearly increments observed since 2013. The surge in game releases has triggered discussions about the implications of this inundation on the gaming community and the platform as a whole.

**Rising Tide of Game Releases**

The influx of new game releases on Steam has been a steady progression, with the exception of 2019, when there were fewer releases compared to 2018. The early days of 2024 have seen 149 new titles appearing on Valve’s platform, setting the pace for another potential increase in the number of game releases for the year.

**Amidst the Flood: Quality vs. Quantity**

While the multitude of game releases includes high-quality titles such as Baldur’s Gate 3, recipient of Steam’s Game of the Year award, and Dave the Diver, Valve has faced criticism regarding its policy on curation. This lack of curation has led to the influx of low-quality games, often selling for nominal prices and lacking functional gameplay. Despite the availability of Steam’s refund policy, concerns have been raised about the proliferation of substandard games on the platform.

**Evolution of Curation Policies**

The inception of Steam Greenlight aimed to provide opportunities for aspiring developers to showcase their products on the platform. However, the system faced challenges, including fraudulent attempts to secure votes and the emergence of schemes exploiting the trading card system. Subsequently, in 2017, Steam Direct replaced the Greenlight program, requiring developers to pay a $100 fee for each game listing. Although this modification aimed to enhance the vetting process, it has not fully stemmed the tide of low-quality game releases.

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**Navigating the Sea of Games**

With an average of approximately 279 game releases per week in 2024, navigating through the vast array of available titles on Steam has become increasingly challenging. The platform’s attempt to leverage user-based curation through the Steam Curators system mirrors the experience of sifting through products in a supermarket, where distinguishing quality amidst a plethora of options becomes an arduous task.

**The Dilemma of Curation**

The debate around curation on Steam revolves around the balance between freedom of release and ensuring the availability of functioning and quality games. While some argue for minimal intervention, citing the platform as an open marketplace, others advocate for a more stringent curation process to safeguard consumers from purchasing subpar products. The challenge lies in striking a balance where potential hidden gems are not overlooked, while preventing the proliferation of unpolished games.

**Conclusion**

The surge in game releases on Steam presents both opportunities and challenges for the gaming community and the platform itself. As the discussion continues, it remains essential to consider the implications of this trend on the overall gaming experience and the necessity of balancing quantity with quality in the gaming industry.

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