The “Popular Upcoming list” on Steam is being exploited by developers. The Popular Upcoming list shows what games are going to be coming out soon. This allows players to keep their wallets ready, to plan ahead, and it allows the developers to build hype. This list is at the forefront of the Steam homepage and is very important from a sales viewpoint.
A game is likely to receive a boost in sales if it appears there. Now the way this list works is the closer a game is to the release date, the higher it climbs up in the list because the list is sorted by date. Mike Rose – founder of publishing label No More Robots – highlighted and explained the situation in an extended Twitter thread.
Steam looks at the release date for each title set in the Steam backend, then lists all the titles with decent wishlist numbers, in order of when they are supposedly coming out. Here’s the thing: you can set any date for your game’s release in the Steam backend, and it means nothing.Setting this date has no meaning – except for appearing in the upcoming list.
Having your game listed on the front page of Steam or in the upcoming list can give a huge boost. However, if this section is manipulated and it doesn’t actually show upcoming games, the consumer would stop looking at it which isn’t beneficial for anyone.
Games such as “Deceiver” (which is kinda ironic) isn’t due to release until May was seen at the top by many Steam users.
Developers have to give basic information about their game to Steam when they want the game to appear on Steam. This information is provided backend and includes dates, genre, titles, description etc. Now, developers can give the Steam any date they want and this can cause their game to “appear” at the top of this list.
This can give the game a sales boost. Although Valve has taken notice of the problem, the company doesn’t seem in a hurry to solve this issue… for some odd reason? Maybe they’re working on Half-Life 3 finally (fingers crossed).