Game marketing consultant Chris Zukowski has analyzed genres of indie games on Steam. It turned out that titles with NSFW content is a tag with the most number of releases, but roguelike deckbuilders sell the best on average.

Slay the Spire, probably the most successful roguelike deckbuilder on Steam

Note: Zukowski used data by VG Insights for games released between 2019 and 2022. He filtered out all AA and AAA titles, as well as games with less than 10 reviews.

Key takeaways

  • 32,202 indie games have been released on Steam since 2019. 57% of them received more than 10 user reviews.
  • Looking at the graph of the number of games released in each category compared to their median estimated sales, Zukowski concluded that indie developers continue to make way too many titles in commercially unappealing genres.
  • The list includes platformers, VR games, first-person shooters, shoot’em up titles, and tower defense games.

  • Interestingly, the tag with the most releases over the last three years is “Sexual Content,” which means there are really plenty of small NSFW games on Steam.
  • Roguelike deck builders are by far the most commercially successful category, beating all other genres in terms of estimated median sales. However, there are only 99 games released with this tag from 2019 to this day.
  • “The audience here seems insatiable and not enough devs are making purely roguelike deck builders,” Zukowski noted.
  • The problem with median sales being too low for a lot of popular genres is that there is always the rule that the winner takes it all, which makes it harder for new developers to break into this category and earn money.

The full article, where Zukowski provides more data on genres, their estimated revenues, and the methodology used for this research, can be found here.

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