Top PC game genres on Steam: Simulation and Strategy tags still generate buzz

Game discoverability expert Simon Carless has shared some data on top Steam tags. The chart is dominated by different simulation and strategy subgenres, with platform and puzzle titles generating much less interest among PC players.

Carless posted the list in the latest episode of the GameDiscoverCo newsletter. It is based on the Steam Hype charts that the GameDiscoverCo team compiles for their paid subscribers.

It is worth noting that these are the top tags for unreleased games, which should help understand what subgenres the Steam players are most hyped for right now. The chart below compares data for January 1 and September 21.

Top genres of upcoming games on Steam

  • Although some positions on the chart change over time, it is clear that the top 20 is dominated by different simulation subgenres (Life Sim, Colony Sim, Farming Sim, etc.)
  • Different types of strategy games are another dominant force, as Steam players tend to like complex genres like 4X, Grand Strategy, and Base Building.
  • There is also a high demand for survival games, with the Open World Survival Craft category climbing to the top spot this month.
  • As Carless pointed out, titles in these complex genres are harder to produce, which raises the barrier to entry. However, players still look for quality games in these categories.
  • On the other hand, PC gamers are less interested in genres like 2D Platformer, Puzzle Platformer, Top-Down Shooter, and Twin Stick Shooter, which are all in the bottom 25. 
  • These games are usually easier to make, with developers often using a lot of ready-made assets. This lowers the overall quality of titles in these categories, reducing audience demand and interest.

“The data still needs a lot of interpreting, and there are all kinds of caveats. But deeper strategic and sim-centric gameplay for a ‘core PC’ audience has a greater chance of ‘hype’ (and sales) on PC nowadays,” Carless noted.

This data also correlates with a recent analysis by game marketing consultant Chris Zukowski. He concluded that Steam players usually don’t care about platforms unless they are mixed with other genres. Simulation, strategy, and roguelike games are among the top PC genres by sales.

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