Guide for an indie developer:How to get money from your Steam game

v 1.0 10.01.2022
Steam is a unique opportunity for an indie game

Steam is a unique opportunity for an indie game

In previous articles, we explained why an indie game will get much smaller coverage of organic audience than a famous title from a big publisher and why it makes sense. There were a few negative news articles about Steam on the internet, stating that after another change of algorithms, the platform cuts back some organic traffic for indie games.

After reading our article “Why Steam does not promote indie games?” you might get completely disappointed and start feeling that big shots in the gaming industry will not let you come close to their level and Steam will help them with that. However, things are different once you understand what is important for achieving success on Steam. You already made the first step – you opened this guide and visited GameSensor :)

Based on our analytics, I want to explain to you in numbers that Steam is a unique opportunity for an indie game that currently has no analogues in the market.

Every year, a limited number of expensive projects from major studios release on Steam, and a bit more good games that required limited funds and a huge number of low-budget projects that aim to make at least some money.

Steam’s objective is to filter content for players, weeding out all non-target second-rate and third-rate games, thereby reducing organic traffic for such games to a minimum.

Steam’s algorithms protect players from content that looks better than it really is, thanks to pretty covers. Player reviews and comments tangibly affect the game’s visibility on Steam and give highly praised projects a chance to attract more audiences.

We made a report that shows the distribution of sales level among games on Steam. From this report, it is clear that the number of games sold for more than 10,000 dollars on Steam and the proportion of the total number of games constantly grows.

By default, the graph calculates sales in the first 12 months from the start of sales, so the full statistics for 2020 will be available at the beginning of 2022, similarly, for 2021 it will be 2023.

Steam encourages quality games that the audience likes. Soon, we will make a separate report on this topic and add an article to the guide. Check the guide version in order not to miss new content.

Steam is a unique opportunity for an indie game
GameSensor Man


In this way, indie studios have an effective weapon to combat big titles – the quality of a product that from a distance may be more effective than an expensive marketing campaign for a mediocre game.