Your target audience doesn’t exist
Sergey Galyonkin

This article is so incredibly naive and misguided it’s funny.

First — “female gamers”. If you consider that until recently females were considered a minority in gaming and that its only prudent to understand how that segment of the market develops it doesn’t seem so strange. It’s not like we just segment out “female gamers” then calculate to rest of the stats, it’s just one way of looking at the data, and the more ways you can look at the data, the more interesting insights you gain into it.

You said “There is a market and audience for smaller games, otherwise Steam wouldn’t exist”. I’m calling bullshit here — Steam, like EA Origin, existed so Value could digitally distribute their games essentially cutting out the middle man (physical stores) and maximizing profit. Valve however had the foresight to realize that if they were the digital distributor for their competitors they could make a profit from even their competitors’ sales. Also, it would be spectacularly shortsighted and close minded to ignore the incredible sales figures of “casual games” in the mobile market. What about perceived size? Do you invest your time into a digital distribution system with 20 games or the one with 2,000. It seems like a no-brainer, but these points are completely ignored in your article. I assert that you are entirely wrong and that smaller games exist on Steam because Valve is trying to have their hands in everyone’s pie and maintain market dominance.

Finally, let’s address the meat and potatoes of the article; the ridiculous assertion that a core/target audience doesn’t exist. Gamer’s gaming personalities are like plaid — most people have a preferred genre and several other liked genres. The amount that each gamer prefers each genre varies, but we will usually find a dominant preferred genre. Like myself for example; I prefer FPS games, but I also enjoy retro side-scrollers, RPGs, puzzle games, etc. It would be dishonest to say that FPS was not my favorite and that FPS games represent the largest chunk of my gaming time. The bottom line is many players have preferred genres, they have tremendous interest in those types of games and they will dedicate a considerable chunk of time and money to that particular genre. To identify those players you MUST generalize. It’s fundamental to human logic and being able to abstract complex concepts. For example and back to the “female gamers” — if you wanted to expand the potential audience for your game and you identified that 20% of your audience is female, but you know that for casual mobile games your female audience should be much higher. Now (with that very useful information) you can then start to get more specific and try to identify the actual cause. But without first generalizing it it may be hard to gain that insight.

There’s also a bunch of other issues with the way you do comparisons and assert causation when all you’ve really done is possibly identified correlation. For example — You compare the number of games that Dota 2 owners and Torchlight II owners have. What you don’t address is that Dota 2 is free-to-play and Torchlight II is currently $19.99 USD on Steam. Free-to-play players and typical pay-up-front players have a fundamental differing philosophy in when/why players should be charged, but that’s completely ignored in this article. You present the issue as MOBA vs MOBA, when it’s really Free-to-play MOBA vs Paid MOBA.

You mentioned “20% of Steam gamers own 88% of games. That’s even more than Pareto principle suggests.” The Pareto principle looks at effects and causes, it does not take into consideration abandoned or unused accounts. Your research and article are supposed to take that into consideration before applying comparison to the Pareto effect. People make new accounts and abandon old ones all the time (Trolls, hackers, etc..). Some may have stopped using Steam and switched to a console and as a result have not logged in in years into an account that may only have one or two games. Is a five year old unused account completely relevant in understanding today’s trend? I think not! Your article talks about steam accounts but doesn’t identify if these are all active accounts and furthermore what exactly is considered an active account.

You clearly lack fundamental understanding of statistical analysis and what assertions you can make after an analysis. Please try harder on future articles as this one is utterly embarrassing. For shame!

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