As we move into 2017 and Steam’s lavish winter sale comes to a close, Valve has revealed the best selling games of the last year. Sadly, VR doesn’t really trouble the list.
That’s to be expected, of course, given that most Steam games require just a gaming PC and not an expensive headset on top to be played, but Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and OSVR-supported games do make a small appearance in the recently-published list of 100 games that grossed the most revenue over those 366 days.
Valve understandably didn’t provide specific information about how much these games have sold and their total revenue, but it did split the winners into Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. The only game to support VR in the Platinum group is the company’s own DOTA 2, an iconic free-to-play MOBA that features a VR viewing mode with the HTC Vive, added in August 2016. It’s not possible to actually play the game in VR, sadly, so we doubt VR support did much to contribute to the money DOTA 2 made.
Up next in the Gold category is Studio Wildcard’s popular survival game, ARK: Survival Evolved, which has featured Rift support since the DK2 days but added retail Rift support in August. Despite integrating the consumer device, ARK isn’t actually available on Oculus Home right now (it’s still in Early Access), so it’s possible that headset owners have helped boost this one somewhat. A VR-only spin-off, ARK Park, is due to release this year.
The Silver category has two popular VR compatible games, too. One is Subnautica, from Unknown Worlds Entertainment, which offers diving across Rift, Vive and OSVR. The other is Gaijin Entertainment’s War Thunder, a long-running World War 2 era online action game. Again, VR support isn’t mandatory in either.
Finally we have the Bronze category with one last VR compatible title: Elite: Dangerous [Review: 8/10]. Frontier’s massive space sim is another long-time supporter of headsets. The game’s coming to PS4 this year, but no word on PlayStation VR support just yet.
We can only speculate as to how many players are actually using VR in these apps, but we’ve reached out to the respective developers to see if they’d be willing to provide any data.
In addition to the limited install bases, it’s important to remember that some apps like CCP Games’ EVE: Valkyrie [Review: 9/10] will have had their sales split between both Steam and Oculus Home as well as other digital storefronts this year, and Rift users have been encouraged by Oculus to buy things from its store and not Valve’s.
Despite the lack of VR-only games in the list, 2016 wasn’t without its success stories for Rift and Vive developers. Earlier in the year we reported that both Cloudhead Games and Survios had made over $1 million with their respective (then Vive-only) releases, The Gallery Episode 1 [Review: 9/10] and Raw Data. We’ve also seen games like Pool Nation VR (now Sports Bar VR) periodically find their way into Steam’s current top sellers list.
This next year needs to be all about getting more headsets onto more heads if VR developers are going to have a shot at getting onto the 2017 best sellers list.