What makes a successful game? Let’s take a look at the current best-sellers on Steam
According to the best-seller list on Steam a game needs action and realism (Arma II, Call of Duty, Max Payne 3), needs a great game concept (Civilization, Endless Space), needs a huge world to explore (Skyrim), needs a good storyline (The Walking Dead), needs a good price (discounted C&C, Warhammer), oh and it needs to be all about war!
War games and shooters generally tend to sell well. In general, a shooter sells better than a mediocre strategy game. For RPG’s to sell well, it requires a world that everyone can get into very quickly. We’re all natural explorers, so it’s no wonder that Skyrim is doing so well.
But making just a shooter won’t work out, Arma and Call of Duty have something that sets them apart and the big budget of the games clearly helps with that. Indie developers simply don’t have the money to compete with a Call of Duty or Battlefield 3 and they shouldn’t go for a FPS in the first place unless they are using a licensed engine like UE3 (soon 4), but even then a genre-mix will probably do better (Sanctum, Tower-Defense + FPS)
The Best-Sellers This Week
- Arma II: Combined Operations
- Civilization V: Gods & Kings
- Endless Space
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Collection
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Walking Dead
- Command & Conquer Red Alert 3
- Wargame: European Escalation
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II Complete Pack
- Max Payne 3
In the end, every genre has the potential to sell well – that is if the game has something that sets them apart. It’s just like business, without a USP (unique selling proposition) the game will not do well. If you’re an Indie developer, first think about your USP, what makes your game stand out from the crowd.