Another year passes and it’s time again for another look at the top sellers on Steam. “Sellers” is a nebulous moniker, since many games on the list are free-to-play, and Valve even clarifies what its 2019 list means — “The top 100 games as measured by gross revenue this year” — but I suppose that “Top 100 Gross Revenue-Getters” wouldn’t be quite as catchy.
As is the case every year (like for 2018, 2017, and 2016), we’ll take a look at how stacked the top 100 list is with free-to-play titles. As usual, the games were split into four categories: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. We’ve listed all the free-to-play games on the top 100 list below, with their 2018 rank in parentheses.
Platinum: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (P), Destiny 2 (N/A*/**), Warframe (P), Dota 2 (P)
Gold: Path of Exile (G)
Silver: War Thunder (S), Team Fortress 2 (S)
Bronze: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links (N/A), Crusader Kings II (B*), World of Warships (B), Paladins (B), Smite (B)
Dropped: Bless Online (B)
* Was B2P, went F2P in 2019
** New to Steam in 2019
That’s a list that has less mobility than Tokugawa-era Japan. Exactly zero games out-and-out changed their overall ranks, with new-to-Steam game Destiny 2 making its debut near the top of the chart. Curiously, despite being out for two years and experiencing a slight downturn throughout the year in terms of player count, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links makes the top 100 for the first time. I’m still not going to play it, though, because I hate Yu-Gi-Oh! Oh, and naturally Bless Online dropped out of the rankings altogether, but that was easy enough to predict.
Over on the “highest peak simultaneous players” list, we find Dota Underlords, which has no monetization to speak of and thus wouldn’t have made any revenue-based list. In fact, exactly half of the top 12 games — all with 100,000 or more players at one point — are free-to-play titles, which is kind of the point of being F2P: to bring in bodies. The 50,000 list includes Ring of Elysium and TF2, while the 25,000 and 15,000 tiers each feature four F2P titles.
With so little movement, does this mean that the F2P market has stagnated? To some extent, maybe, though this list obviously doesn’t account for non-Steam F2P games that came out in 2019 like Apex Legends. You never know when the next big thing could come along, but it’s probably wise not to wait on its arrival, either.