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Internal Steam Release Dates Apparently Leaked via API

March 15, 2022

By: Robert N. Adams

 
 

Internal Steam release dates have apparently been leaked via the Steam API, providing insight on when we can expect some of the most anticipated games to come out in 2022 and beyond.

There are countless cool games that are coming out in the coming months and years, but not all of them have made their release dates public. Even then, there's always a level of uncertainty. Games can end up delayed due to trademark disputes, a need for more development time, or with no official public explanation whatsoever. Now, it appears that the Steam API has let loose a massive torrent of information: the internal Steam release dates for pretty much every game on the platform have been made public.

 

Steam API release dates Starfield
Apparently, Starfield is coming out at 8:00 PM UTC on November 11 -- at least according to the date set by Bethesda on Steam.

These Steam Release Dates Are Not Set In Stone

Users at the SteamDB Discord have highlighted an interesting new database entry via the Steam API: "Store API Release Date." This tidbit shows the hidden release date that developers have set for their games.

Here are some of the more notable games and their associated internal release dates. Disclaimer: these dates are not guarantees that the game will actually launch at these listed times for reasons we'll detail shortly.

 
 
Game Internal Release Date
Dwarf Fortress Release Date 30 September 2022 – 23:00:00 UTC
Dune: Spice Wars Release Date 26 April 2022 – 13:00:00 UTC
Frostpunk 2 Release Date 2 January 2024 – 00:00:00 UTC
Kerbal Space Program 2 Release Date 31 December 2021 – 16:00:00 UTC
My Time at Sandrock Release Date 30 December 2022 – 18:00:00 UTC
Nobody - The Turnaround Release Date 1 November 2022 – 23:00:00 UTC
Party Animals Release Date 30 December 2022 – 13:00:00 UTC
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection Release Date 15 July 2022 – 21:00:00 UTC
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Release Date 29 December 2023 – 17:00:00 UTC
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Release Date 30 December 2022 – 22:00:00 UTC

Behind the scenes, Steam requires developers to set a secret release date. This does not have to be made public as shown in Steam Partner documentation, allowing developers to set a custom string for the release date field that you'll see on a Steam Store page. Dwarf Fortress, for example, shows "time is subjective" as its release date on its Steam Store page rather than a specific date.

In my estimation, the publication of these release dates via the Steam API may have been an accident. These dates were subsequently recorded by SteamDB, a website that tracks behind-the-scenes changes via the Steam API.

 
 

So, are these dates accurate? It's difficult to tell. In some cases, an end-of-the-year release date (such as with My Time at Sandrock or Warhammer 40,000: Darktide) is almost certainly a placeholder. (Remember, Steam requires that developers set an internal release date before publishing a Steam Store page.) This is most evident with some of the more absurd cases such as Hollow Knight: Silksong which has an internal Steam release date of February 28, 2028. (I'm no psychic, but I'm pretty sure we won't have to wait 6 years for that game to come out.)

Other games, however, have release dates that may be a little closer to reality, such as Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection (July 15, 2022) and Dune: Spice Wars (April 26, 2022). Nobody - The Turnaround is also a good candidate for a potential real release date as opposed to a placeholder.

Critically, Valve will not allow a developer to automatically change its release date once it gets within 10 days of the date set by the developer. Otherwise, a dev can change this date at any time. Essentially, that means that none of the dates longer than 10 days away are guaranteed. Even if there are less than 10 days remaining, Valve will allow developers to change the date by contacting them.

Ultimately, this leak of internal Steam release dates gives us a rough idea of when developers think their games might come out. Figuring out which release dates are real and which ones are placeholders, however, is a mystery that cannot ever be solved -- at least until a developer makes an official announcement.