If somebody buys your game, there’s about 42% chance he plays it

By summing up totals for each answers in buy vs play poll, it can be summed up that after somebody buys a Steam game, there’s about 42% chance that he actually plays it for more than 2 hours.

The audience of this blog are mainly game developers, so that affects the outcome of the poll. My not so wild guess is that if audience would be mainly gamers, the percentage would be much, much higher. As you can see from the earlier blog post replies, some folks do play all the games they buy.

I presume there are also gamers who don’t play all the games they buy, but what is quite certain that game developers like to *just* buy the games.

Why would this be? My guess is one or some of the following reasons apply:

  • For research purposes: hearing about some game and then testing mechanics can be enough for a game developer to buy the game.
  • To bring old memories back. Every now and then there’s new game that you played 20 years ago and either a remake or similar game appears, and you just want to add it in your collection.
  • To increase your collection, you hoarder.
  • To support game development. This can be somewhat funny… that game developers buy each others games to support development. I do this too.

And I bet there’s some other reasons (feel free to add).

But whatever the reason, it is quite strange that nowadays we buy games we won’t quite likely even play.

Why is that?

Should we all start making intro screens from now on?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. In addition to the reasons you listed above, I definitely buy with the intention of playing. However, with the advent of real life I often just don’t have time to play all the games I want to.

  2. To be honest… some offers on steam are just IMPOSSIBLE to not accept. Like the other day I bought dead space 1 and 2, for 6 pounds… i played the first one abit, though if i don’t play the second one within the month i probably won’t get around to it… ever

  3. What an idea for an experiment! Just roll out a trailer, a fancy website, some faked screenshots and a downloadable binary. Let’s see how much money comes in until people recognize it’s a scam.

  4. Well one reason I have a lot of games I didn’t play yet (or maybe won’t ever) is that they came as a bundle on steam. So in those bundles there will always be games I’m not interested in and won’t play but they essentially came free with the bundle.

    But I like bundles because occasionally there’s a hidden gem in there I wouldn’t have otherwise known about! That more than makes up for all the games I’m not going to play.

  5. I’ve got some games that I’ve bought on Steam and haven’t played. It’s for various reasons — some of those are mentioned above, like supporting game development or a certain developer or engine (I bought Rochard because it was built with Unity 3D, and it won a lot of awards but I just haven’t had time to fire it up yet) or because they’re on one of those crazy good steam sales where things are 75% off to save for later or because it was part of a bundle (Humble Indie, of course!)

    As a rule, though, it’s got to be something that looks interesting or I’ve heard good things about. The main issue for me is time. I’ve got a family, I’m a fulltime freelance programmer and I just released my first game (it’s about running over clowns) and I just don’t have the time to explore/play games as much as I’d like.

    I’ve been playing games since they were available to play in the home and I love them, but I also realize the more time I spend playing games, the less time I spend making them. Dividing time up between work and family is difficult enough, but then when I’ve got “free time” to do whatever I’d like, I can play a game or I can write some code. If I get really deep into a game, then I’m going to end up playing it more and not working on my game as much. That’s the reason that many of those games sit untouched.

    Also, at least for me — even though I have a bunch of them that I haven’t ever played for more than 2 hours currently, I don’t expect those games to sit untouched forever. As I have time, I explore different ones and might play one for a few weeks and then nothing for a month or two as I get busy and/or focus on my game(s).

    It’s interesting to hear that other game developers do this, too. I’m curious to see what thoughts/reasons other people have.

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