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

v 1.0 10.01.2022
What is the mechanism of game promotion on Steam?

What is the mechanism of game promotion on Steam?

What is the mechanism of game promotion on Steam?
GameSensor Man
I won’t be writing about how you should find your target audience and motivate users to buy your game. There’s specialized literature for that. You’ll learn about the key metrics that Steam considers before helping a game to get money or hide it away from the service’s audience.

Steam is very careful with indie games and indie developers, and it doesn’t actively promote such projects. However, when registering a game on Steam, it provides some traffic to your game’s page for the first few days.

Rather than stopping on specific pages where your game might appear, let’s talk about the main criteria that will allow your game to get organic traffic.

A few days after registration, audience activity will rapidly drop and the game will become less visible for users. The title and tags will keep the game appearing in search or recommendations from time to time, but only in case of the exact match with player’s interests.

In order for Steam to show your product more often, it’s important to form a big wishlist. The game will start to appear in search and similar games recommendations more frequently by means of extensive list of potential buyers.

At the moment of game’s release, it’s important to have a big enough wishlist – from 5 000 to 20 000 subscribers. This will allow the game to get into the list of new anticipated games and get organic audience flow from Steam before the release.

In the first day after release your game might get additional organic boost from Steam, depending on how good the financial performance is at the start of sales.

It’s important to understand that the amount of games Steam promotes is limited. Minimum threshold indicators of wishlist and game’s revenue depend heavily on the release date for additional organic traffic on Steam.

GameSensor analyzes indicators of your game, saturation of releases during your release and their economical potential. Based on all information, our algorithm calculates the probability of getting organic traffic in Steam and calculates the possible financial output of a game.


Every day, release dates and wishlist size of your game and other games change. We recommend to check GameSensor’s predictions once a month to avoid an unpleasant situation on the release day. Marketers of other games don’t stand still; they’re also increasing their chances to get organic traffic from Steam.