As the year comes to a close, many people and businesses are highlighting the year the was. Whether it be sales or listing the best games of the year. Today is the last day of Nintendo’s Indie World Holiday Sale. The Epic Games Store Holiday Sale is still ongoing as is the Steam Winter Sale. Nintendo recently shared what the best-selling Indie titles of the year were, Square Enix creators shared their plans for next year, and Masahiro Sakurai ran down what his best of 2021 was. Recently, Steam shared the best of the year for its platform. They’ve provided several lists that highlight 2021: Top Sellers, New Releases, Most Played, Early Access Grads, Best of VR, and Controller Friendly.
The Top Sellers highlight the 100 games that earned the most revenue on Steam during 2021. The total revenue is a combination of the game sales, in-game transactions, and DLC sales for every app on Steam from January 1, 2021, to December 15, 2021. According to Steam, 2021 was a good year for games making their debut on the Top Sellers list and getting into the Platinum category. Steam sorts the games into categories to give an idea how they stack up to each other. The categories include Platinum (1st-12th), Gold (13th-24th), Silver (25th-40th), and Bronze (41-100th). Six new games made their debuts in the Platinum category: New World, Valheim, NARAKA: BLADEPOINT, Apex Legends, Battlefield 2042, and Dead by Daylight. More than a third of the entire list was compromised of first-time Top Seller appearances. Many of these debuts were new releases for 2021, but there are still several older titles that are still Top Sellers such as Dota 2, CS: GO, Grand Theft Auto V, PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and Destiny 2.
The Top New Releases are monthly lists highlighting the Top 20 games released each month. There is also a Top 25 list of new releases for the year. It was created based on the revenue they generated during their first two weeks following their launch. This list includes: Battlefield 2042, NARAKA BLADEPOINT, Farming Simulator 22, Back 4 Blood, Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Forza Horizon 5, New World, Outriders, Resident Evil: Village, Valheim, Halo Infinite, Age of Empires IV, Tale of Immortal, It Takes Two, F1 2021, Icarus, Deathloop, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Days Gone, Tales of Arise, Neir Replicant, Guilty Gear Strive, Football Manager 2022 Humankind, and Biomutant.
The Most Played Games list showcases games that achieved the highest number of players through December 15, 2021. Every game included has reached more than 30,000 players for the year and they have been grouped into buckets based on the number of players they reached. The games that reached over 200,000 peak players in 2021 are Halo Infinite, Apex Legends, New World, Dota 2, CS: GO, Rust, Valheim, Cyberpunk 2077, Grand Theft Auto V, and PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS.
The Top Early Access Graduates represents the top-selling games that launched out of Early Access in 2021. The list is based on all the revenue earned through December 15, 2021, by any app that exited out of Early Access during that time. Steam said that “Early Access continued to be a popular development model on Steam throughout 2021, with well over 1000 games launching with it during the year. But this list is about the graduates, who have all come a long way from their debuts. Some of them made quick progressions through their Early Access milestones, while others steadily progressed through years of development. Although each has a unique path and story, they all stand as shining examples of the amazing games that Early Access can produce.” The Top Early Access Graduates in the Platinum category include Endzone – A World Apart, Midieval Dynasty, Skul: The Hero Slayer, Solasta: Crown of the Magister, Chernobylite, GTFO, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, Hell Let Loose, Subnatica: Below Zero, Wildermyth, Draw & Guess, and Breathedge.
The Top Selling VR list represents the 100 best-selling VR-only experiences of 2021. The list is based on revenue similar to the Top Sellers list. “The VR catalogue continued to grow in 2021 with over 500 new VR-only games released throughout the year. Many of these releases made their way onto this year’s Top-Selling list, which features dozens of titles making their debuts. However, the stalwarts at the top remain unchallenged this year, with only one new game appearing in the Platinum category (Into the Radius),” Steam said. Alongside Into the Radius, Arizona Sunshine, SUPERHOT VR, Pavlov VR, Boneworks, Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Beat Saber, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Half-Life: Alyx, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, Blade and Sorcery, and VR Kanojo made it into the Platinum category.
The Top Controller Games represent the games that registered the most controller sessions during the year. It’s a ranking of games based on the highest number of unique controller players that they reached through December 15, 2021. Regarding the Top Controller Games, Steam said “With the growth of games and player numbers on Steam during 2021, it’s not surprising that the amount of controller sessions went up during the year as well. Whether it was a console controller, a flight stick, or a dance pad, millions of unique devices connected players to their games during 2021.” The Platinum category for the Top Controller Games include Cyberpunk 2077, Tales of Arise, Grand Theft Auto V, Apex Legends, Guilty Gear Strive, FIFA 21, FIFA 22, The Binding of Issac: Rebirth, eFootball 2022, Monster Hunter: World, Halo Infinite, and Forza Horizon 5.