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.