State of Free to Play on Steam in 2024 – Industry Report

Free to play (FtP) has been a standard in the mobile games industry for over a decade now. In the PC and console world it became a bigger topic around 2017-18 when Fortnite took the world by storm. Suddenly, every large publisher needed to have their own FtP title.

But free to play really started at a meaningful level much earlier, on PC. There are the classics outside of Steam – Runescape (2001), Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (2003), Silkroad Online (2007) as well as examples on Steam – Team Fortress 2 (2007), DOTA 2 (2013) and so on.

Which brings us to the state of free to play games on Steam in 2024. This report explores the popularity of FtP within Steam and looks at the top games over time.

You’re not going to believe trend number 4! (just baiting you to read the report)

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Short Summary of the Market Report

We have summarized the free to play market trends in 6 points

1. Free to play games capture over half of the player engagement on Steam

2. Counter-Strike and DOTA 2 have been leading the engagement charts for over 10 years

3. FtP games are very concentrated – top 25 FtP titles capture 88% of all FtP player engagement

4. Only a few new FtP hits launched in the last 4 years – it is getting crowded as older titles remain popular

5. Premium games at $20-$40 price point with live service elements might be an attractive middle-ground

6. United States, China and Russia are critical for the FtP titles as they make up nearly 40% of all FtP players on Steam

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Download the free PDF instantly without any email sign-up required: State of free to play on Steam in 2024

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Fun with tables – metrics by year now available

Games database now includes more metrics for our business subscribers

Business subscribers will now find 4 new groups of columns they can add to the tables – units, revenue, # of promos and average CCU by year.

Users can now easily see and compare how games have performed over the years.

All of the data is available as Excel downloads for the Business subscribers as per usual.

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