Steam Reports 100+% Growth for 7th Year in a Row

SteamAccording to Forbes, Steam has reported over 100% growth in 2011, making this the seventh year in a row such progress has been made. Steam boasts over 40 million registered users and over 1,800 titles available. The company is also claiming that 780 petabytes of data was purchased by customers and that over 14.5 million Steamworks-enabled games were registered in 2011, which is a 67% increase from the year before. Steamworks is now included in over 400 titles. During this year’s Holiday Sale, Steam’s simultaneous user number eclipsed the 5 million player mark.

The full press release reads as follows:


5 Mil Simultaneous Users, Seventh Year of 100% Unit Sales Growth

January 6, 2012 – Valve® today announced the 2011 growth data for Steam, a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment.

During 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to over 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100% for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale Steam’s simultaneous user number eclipsed the 5 million player mark.

Meanwhile Steam doubled the amount of content delivered in 2011 vs. 2010, serving over 780 Petabytes of data to gamers around the world. To meet the increasing demand for games and services on the platform, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.

Over 14.5 mil copies of Steamworks games were registered during the year, a 67% increase over 2010. Steamworks titles shipped during 2011 include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution , and more. Since the suite of services was released three years ago, Steamworks has shipped in over 400 games.

“Steam and Steamworks continues to evolve to keep up with customer and developer demands for new services and content,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “Support for in-game item trading prompted the exchange of over 19 million items. Support for Free to Play (FTP) games, launched in June, has spurred the launch of 18 FTP titles on Steam, with more coming in 2012. Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode, which will allow gamers to experience Steam on large displays and in more rooms of the house.”

For more information, please visit

About Valve
Valve is an entertainment software and technology company founded in 1996 and based in Bellevue, Washington. The company’s portfolio of entertainment properties includes Half-Life®, Counter-Strike®, Day of Defeat®, Team Fortress®, PortalTM and Left 4 DeadTM. Valve’s catalog of products accounts for over 40 million retail units sold worldwide. In addition, Valve is a developer of leading-edge technologies, such as the Source game engine and Steam, a broadband platform for the delivery and management of digital content. For more information, please visit

People can also see up-to-date stats from Steam here. According to this page, at the time of publication, a peak of 4,587,722  users have been signed in simultaneously in the past forty-eight hours.

Analysis: This is awesome news for Valve, especially since these numbers are here despite having an increase of competition in similar services like Origin, OnLive, and Desura. None of these platforms have quite the selection that Steam does, which is to be expected since none of these services are that old: Origin was released in June 2011, OnLive was made available in the States in June 2010, and Desura has only been available for about a year now. In comparison, Steam has been available since 2003. Desura might not be accurately described as a competitor, though; it doesn’t attempt to compete with Steam but instead wants to fill in where Steam doesn’t. Origin, on the other hand, definitely wants to match Steam’s growth and eventually outpace them, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon due to the drama surrounding the service. I don’t really see why anyone would want to use Origin with the exception of absolutely requiring it to play certain games—and even then, I’m tempted to just skip over those games. And no one really seems to be sure where OnLive is attempting to go; I don’t hear about it much. So despite more competitors or alternate services, Steam is still going pretty strong. Good news for Valve.

Steam isn’t perfect by any means, but it does a lot of things right. They allow you to add the Steam overlay into any game, even if it’s not supported by Steam. They also have a great selection of big name titles, and more publishers are adding Steamworks into their games. They’re choosy with the indie games they put in the store so that the quality is high but then support those games by highlighting them and allowing users to get good deals on them. That’s the way it should be done. They also not only encourage people to buy games, but to play them, like their Great Gift Pile event has shown. They seem to outdo themselves on every holiday sale, and that’s definitely a good thing, because not all platforms had the same success. I know a lot of people who weren’t that excited with XBox Live Arcade’s sales this year aside from specific titles (e.g. Bastion), but we’ll have to wait until the numbers are in to see if I’ve run into a representative sample.

It also goes to show that PC gaming isn’t a flop like a lot of people say it is. Those that say there aren’t any games haven’t seen they have over 1,800 to choose from Steam alone. Granted, one might not want to play all 1,800 titles, but come on, I’m sure there are a few that you’d want to play. And as Mohammed Al Saadoon pointed out in a recent blog, people who say that Steam isn’t sustainable seem to be pretty blatantly wrong if they look at the numbers. Granted, Steam probably isn’t going to make 100% increases every year from here on out, but as long as indie developers continue to strive for inclusion in Steam’s store, and as long as big publishers continue to work to have their works included as well, I don’t see Steam failing anytime soon. That’ll be especially true if they stay receptive to users and work toward improving their service where improvement is needed.


Note: Sales numbers come from Valve, but they could not be verified by an independent source.

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