What do the names of bestselling Steam games have in common? Words like Manager, Tycoon, Remastered, and HD

(Image credit: GameDiscoverCo)

The folk behind the GameDiscoverCo newsletter have gone on a deep dive into Steam, ranking 212 words based on the median gross lifetime revenue of games that have them in the title. The results they pull out of their data may not all be super surprising, but that doesn't mean they're not interesting.

Number one with a bullet is the word HD, with a median gross Steam revenue of $63,082. It's not the only word commonly associated with rereleases near the top of the list, with Remastered at number three ($32,243) and Gold at number six ($11,239). Collection, Deluxe, and Ultimate all place solidly as well. Nothing shocking there, of course. We live in an age of remakes, which is fine as long as we can still get the originals.

Slightly more unexpected is how well management sims are represented. The word Manager clocks in at second place ($33,341), with Tycoon at number four ($18,903). Though there are other words associated with specific genres in the list, they're ranked much lower: Tactics at number 12 ($5,391), Hidden at number 20 ($3,632), and Rogue at 22 ($3,228) for instance. Management sims really are a heartland PC gaming genre, even if they're not always the most attention-grabbing.

Some of the words obviously earn their rank thanks to individual standouts rather than larger trends. The word Call comes in at number seven ($8,361) thanks to Call of Duty I assume, unless a lot more people bought into the Call of Juarez series than I'd expect. (Yes, I know people liked the cowboy one, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.)

GameDiscoverCo pulled a few trends out of their data, most notably that "Almost all of the median revenue numbers are worryingly low". The amount of games released on Steam every month is huge, and most of them sink without a trace. Especially if they have the word Jump in the name apparently, with a median gross lifetime revenue coming in at a measly $43. (The word at the bottom of the list, Prologue, has a median gross revenue of zero dollars, which I figure is due to it being used in the names of free standalone demos.)

GameDiscoverCo also notes words like Witch, Black, and Dead are more popular than words like Farm or Little, and suggests this is due to a dislike of cozy games among "Steam's 'grimdark' audience". It's a conclusion the newsletter has leaped to before, and it seems like an odd way of phrasing "a lot of the people playing family-friendly games do so on their Switches" to me, even before you consider that there are plenty of cozy games about witches

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.