More Steam Releases Earning USD$10k at Launch; CERO Suspends Operations


TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the prevalent business stories in gaming. In today’s news: More Steam releases earning USD$10,000 (£8,100) at launch; CERO suspends operations; and Facebook Gaming launches Tournaments.

More Steam releases earning USD$10,000 (£8,100) at launch

Valve has released an analysis of revenue generated for PC titles sold through its Steam storefront, revealing that there was an 11% increase in the proportion of titles earning at least USD$10,000 (£8,100) in the first two weeks of release in 2019 compared to the figure recorded in 2018. Similar increases were observed across other post-launch revenue brackets, namely USD$5,000 (£4,060); USD$50,000 (£40,600); USD$100,000 (£81,200); and USD$250,000 (£203,000).

While the analysis also noted that the median title released in 2019 earned 24% more during its two week launch window than its 2018 counterpart, assessing the percentiles rather than the average yielded a less positive note. While titles in the 75th percentile bracket, tending more to AAA releases, earned 56% more at release in 2019 than 2018, games in the 25th percentile earned 17% during this period. This figure could have particular ramifications for smaller independent developers, with the increased volume of titles sold through the platform since listing criteria were relaxed since 2014 cited as a potential factor contributing to the decline.

A statement commenting on the analysis released through the Steam Community forum reads, "One of our goals is to be a platform where great games can realise success. So a natural place to start this analysis was to ask: Are more games finding success? Of course, "success" is different for each developer, so we looked at several different benchmarks of success in this analysis. Regardless of how we defined success, though, we found that an increasing number of games were achieving it[...] We want to make sure we aren't standing in the way of games' successes, so we plan to take a closer look at everything that contributed to these results."

CERO suspends operations


The Japanese video games rating agency CERO (the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization) has temporarily suspended operations as a result of the state of emergency imposed by the national government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions are in place in Tokyo, where CERO operates from, along with six other locations, and are similar to those imposed in other countries such as the United Kingdom, in that working from home is strongly encouraged and non-essential businesses are required to close to the public. According to a statement released by CERO, as external reviewers travel in to the Chiyoda-ku office in order to conduct game reviews, "it is not possible" for both staff and reviewers to work from home.

Due to the suspension of CERO's operations, it is highly likely that games due to be released in Japan over the coming months will be delayed until they can receive official ratings and approval. These include Minecraft Dungeons (Mojang-Xbox Game Studios, 26th May); Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive edition (Monolith Soft-Nintendo, 29th May); and Ghost of Tsushima (Sucker Punch Productions-Sony Interactive Entertainment, 26th June).

Facebook Gaming launches Tournaments

Facebook Gaming

Facebook Gaming has launched a tournament organisation platform in early access. Dubbed simply as Tournaments, the feature caters towards casual audiences alongside professional esports athletes, with additional live-streaming capabilities for tournament hosts and integration with the wider Facebook fundraising system. While comparable open esports platforms are available from independent providers, the product launch marks the first foray into mass consumer esports tournament hosting from one of the major platforms.

The launch of Tournaments comes less than a week after Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet reported that hours watched through the Facebook Gaming platform had increased by a measure of 236% through Q1 2019-Q1 2020, with average concurrent viewership up by four-fold during this time. The California-based tech giant has also been increasing its presence in the VR gaming market recently, having acquired Asgard's Wrath developer Sanzaru Games in February.

A statement on the Facebook Gaming website reads, "We’re excited to open early access to Facebook Gaming tournaments, a feature to help people stay connected through games. Gaming is all about friendly competition, and Facebook Gaming tournaments help bring that experience to everyone wherever they are, whatever game they’re playing."