Using Steam Achievements for Analytics

It's been more than a month since I released my game on steam, and although it didn't do well, it's been a great learning experience. It allowed me to get my feet wet in the world of Steam.

Achievements on Steam

While playing steam games I don't give much attention to achievements. After I released my game on steam however, and added my own achievements, I noticed something useful about them.

In a game's store page all of the achievements for that game are listed. If you click on the "view all" you get an overview of all the achievements for that game and how well players are doing at unlocking them.

View all achievements from the store page

The image in the following section shows the achievements for my own game. The percentage denotes the proportion of players that have both launched the game and unlocked the given achievement.

Interpreting the data

The first thing you might notice is that the percentage for "Start a new game" is quite low - only 66.5%

If someone goes to the trouble of downloading and running the game, you would at least expect them to play it! The only reasonable explanation is that these players are experiencing crashes upon loading into a level. I decided to only support Windows 10 and didn't test on any other OS, so this is not too surprising.

Secondly, there are quite a few players that have unlocked ALL achievements, and it's the same unlock rate for each.

Suspicious... 🤔

I'm quite sure that this is a group that cheated the game, to "harvest" the achievements. I'm certain because this percentage has remained static since about 1 or 2 days after the game was released. Also, it would be almost impossible to unlock them all in just 2 days - the game is quite long, and the bonus collectibles are hard to get, let alone find.

So people cheated - but it's not a big deal. They can enjoy the game however they like. But it might be a good idea to factor this into our analysis.

Percentage of achievements unlocked for all players

Lastly, I realised that my game is too damn hard!

If we remove both those that cheated and those who couldn't run the game from the stats, we end up with the following:

Achievement unlocked % of players
Start a new game 100%
Start level 7 2.4%
Start level 13 0.32%
Start level 19 0.48%
Finish the game 0%

Welp, looks like my game was way too hard (or doesn't seem worth trying) for most players. For my next game I'll make sure to get a variety of players to test it to ensure it's balanced, as it seems I've wasted a lot of time in making the later levels.


There's a lot of insights you can gain from achievements if you put them in interesting places throughout your game. From how players are progressing in the game to how much a certain feature is used; there's a lot of room for analysis. And they're super easy to add to your game to boot!

So next time you release a game on steam, make sure to think about how you can gain insights from your achievements after launch. But make sure not to add in dozens of achievements just for the sake of analytics. They should still feel like achievements to the player.

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