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Steam gaming platform - statistics & facts

Steam is a digital games distribution platform created by Valve Corporation. In its current shape, the platform offers multiplayer gaming, digital rights management, social networking services, and video streaming to subscribers. Steam was first announced in 2003 at the Game Developers Conference purely as a distribution network. It was initially created to solve Valve’s problems with updating their online games, such as Counter-Strike. By late 2005, the platform was hosting third-party games which were made available for purchase and download. The first of such games were Rag Doll Kung Fu and Darwinia. Soon after that, large developers such as Capcom started distributing their games on Steam as well. In mid-2021, there were over 46 thousand games available on the Steam, with 9,842 of those gaming titles being published in 2020 alone.

User peaks

In 2020, Steam reported an estimated 120 million monthly active users worldwide, an increase from 90 million just two years earlier. Moreover, the peak number of users on the platform at the same time, also called peak concurrent users, has been on a steady increase as well. In April 2021, Steam reached a record peak of over 26.9 million concurrent users after steadily increasing its user figures during the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The platform has managed to retain its post-COVID momentum and continues to grow its active audiences - this is evidenced by the stable rate of peak concurrent in-game users of approximately 7 million per month.

Biggest games on the platform

The biggest game on Steam in 2020 was Counter Strike: Global Offensive. The multiplayer first person-shooter was ranked first in terms of peak concurrent users, topping out at over 1.3 million simultaneous players worldwide. CS:GO was first published in 2012 and has enjoyed constant popularity since then. Other popular titles of 2020 were the long-awaited action RPG Cyberpunk 2077, and battle royale favorite PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Throughout the year, the most popular games regularly reach several hundred thousand concurrent players on average.

Market reach and impact

The company reported that in 2020, Steam drew approximately 2.6 million new game buyers per month, and that game purchases on Steam increased by 21.4 percent compared to the previous year. Although Steam and its parent company Valve have stopped publishing public revenue figures for the platform, Steam still remains immensely influential as a digital storefront for online gaming purchases. Despite the market dominance of mobile gaming and the strong performance of console titles, Steam is still one of the strongest contenders in the PC gaming segment. A 2021 survey found that over a quarter of game developers worldwide generated 50 to 99 percent of their annual revenues via Steam.


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