Game marketing consultant Chris Zukowski has explained why the first 10 reviews a game gets on Steam are the most important. This is a key number, which can significantly boost a project’s visibility.

Zukowski started his thread on Twitter, showing stats for an unknown game. You can see how the number of its users and sessions grew 1,926.5% and 1,731.6% respectively after it reached 10 reviews since launch.

It is worth noting that these reviews don’t have to be 100% positive as Valve usually doesn’t limit a game’s visibility based on this metric. It is important, however, that they must come from real buyers, so free keys won’t count.

As Zukowski noted in a blog post, Valve has changed its algorithm due to complaints from developers about Steam being flooded with tons of shovelware games. They didn’t get any reviews and just lived off free traffic, so the company implemented a new rule.

Any game has zero visibility on the store unless it gets 10 reviews from real customers. It eventually worked, leaving all these shovelware projects behind. However, it also caused a negative effect on small indie games as it was hard for them to get even this number of reviews.

So here is what Zukowski thinks smaller devs can do about it:

The real “magic” begins when a game reaches a 10 reviews milestone and the algorithm places it into the Discovery Queue section on Steam. It is where the most valuable traffic comes from as many people use it to find new titles.

However, the algorithm will push a game out of Discovery Queue as soon as it stops making money. So Zukowski compares it to a coach that lets you play in the field / Discovery Queue after tryouts / 10 reviews to see how much you can score / sell.

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