Valve released the summary of the best games on Steam in 2023, categorizing them into Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. This year has been abundant with excellent games. While some top-ranking titles were expected, seeing Half-Life, the 1998 classic, at the peak of the list for the most played games daily on Steam Deck by active users was unexpected.
The top-selling list includes the usual major free-to-play games on Steam and big releases like Baldur's Gate 3 and Starfield. However, the inclusion of Sons of the Forest in the same category as major AAA releases was most surprising. It's heartening to witness success for a studio that once started small!
The list of most popular games remained almost unchanged, except for one. Goose Goose Duck, a free game strongly resembling Among Us, gained popularity to the extent of entering the overall ranking of games based on peak online users, possibly due to a surge in players in January, reaching over 700,000 simultaneous players.
The section on new releases by revenue demonstrates how games typically associated with consoles, such as Jedi Survivor and Street Fighter 6, successfully made their mark on Steam alongside Baldur's Gate 3 and Remnant 2. Interestingly, games with negative reviews still sold well: Payday 3 and Cities Skylines 2 made it to the top Platinum category. However, the silver placement of Far Cry 6 was surprising to me.
Among the best early access releases by revenue this year, there are expected leaders like Baldur's Gate 3, Ready or Not, and Against the Storm, as well as lesser-discussed games. It might be surprising that the farming simulator Sun Haven and the royal battle Farlight 84 entered the top tier by revenue. It's especially gratifying to see small indie teams like World of Horror and Your Only Move is Hustle finding their place in this list.
The Steam Deck category likely best reflects the daily activity of players rather than just peak moments. The list is quite predictable: The Witcher 3, Dave the Diver, Vampire Survivors, along with some of the most popular new releases and excellent games from the past few years. However, it seems many, including myself, still prefer playing the old yet beloved Half-Life. There surely is an explanation, but I don't know it.