It Was A Record Year for Steam, Claims Valve

On Friday Valve Software boasted that it was a record year for Steam, as the company wrapped up 2011 with more than 1,800 games stocked in the virtual library, more than 40 million accounts created, and a year-over-year unit sales increase of more than 100-percent. Steam's simultaneous user number even eclipsed the 5 million player mark during the 2011 Holiday Sale.

"Steam doubled the amount of content delivered in 2011 vs. 2010, serving over 780 Petabytes of data to gamers around the world," Valve said in an email. "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."

Does this boom in sales mean that non-casual PC gaming is on the rise, returning to its former pre-Xbox/PlayStation 2 glory days? It certainly does look that way, and Valve even claims that over 14.5 million copies of Steamworks games were registered during 2011 -- that's a 67-percent increase over the previous year. What helped push sales were blockbuster hits like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

"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."

Eat that, console fanboys.

  • intel4eva
    I don't know about Steam, but I more than doubled my gaming purchases this year. And yea, almost all of it was from Steam, when shit's on sale. Nobody can afford to be a hardcore gamer if they pay 60 bucks for every game. If you play more than a few titles a month (and many are really sweet, but short, like Bastion) the cost of software can eclipse the cost of maintaining a rig.
  • thanks to steam i save sooooooo much moneys on games.
  • rohitbaran
    I bought many games for less than 10 bucks. All hail steam!
  • Gotta love the sales, though I haven't gotten through even a 1/3 of the games I purchased, ha.
  • joytech22
    intel4eva Nobody can afford to be a hardcore gamer if they pay 60 bucks for every game.
    $60? You have it easy..

    Try $89 for a new release here, most stores sell at that price for about a month or two.
    That is the only reason I switched to PC gaming and holy cr*p it was a fantastic choice!

    Better graphics, better prices.. Better experience.
    My 360 is now a DVD player in the lounge..
  • amuffin
    Must resist buying games!!!!!!!
    Valve: 50% off of a game I want.
  • Oh look, another person whining about what games cost in their country. We've heard it a billion times before, we get it already. Shut the hell up.
  • zanny
    It might be bad economics for steam in the long run. They are building a brand expectation that almost every game will hit the $10 price point that they stock, and the long term is that more people (myself being my main example) now plan to wait out purchases until they hit the systemic lows 3 - 4 years after release. I got Neverwinter Nights 2 for $5 over the sale, for example, after having bought the first one back in 2003.

    I mean, there is a natural trend of the cost of games towards $0 since the cost of reproduction is so low (thus the rampant piracy) and it seems Steam has proven that exponentially more people buy games at half the retail price outright.

    I think if they just launched games at $30 rather than $60 on Steam, they would have significantly more profits just because a lot of people that pirate new releases due to the insane $60 price point would buy the $30 one, along with a lot of people like myself who wait on the blockbusters to go on sale. For example, Witcher 2. I'm waiting for it to go below $10 (also, waiting on my new gaming rig this summer) because I know it will eventually go that low. If it launched at $30, I might have bought it back in March.
    PC gaming won't be on the rise until developers stop making crappy console games ported to the PC and start developing for the PC first.
  • Target3
    I use Steam because pirating games is for lowbirths