Steam Had A Huge Year In 2020

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Valve has released a number of year-end stats for its PC gaming store, Steam, and it would appear that the platform had a momentous year.

The big numbers include 120 million monthly active players, 62.6 million daily active players, and a peak of 24.8 million peak concurrent players. That last record has already fallen, as more than 25 million people logged into Steam at the same time in early January.

Some of the other marquee stats included 2.6 million new Steam purchasers every month in 2020, while users bought 21.4% more games than they did in 2019. Time spent gaming is up, too, with Valve reporting that the number of hours spent gaming increased by 50.7% percent compared to 2019.

In a blog post, Valve said Steam was already seeing “significant growth” in 2020 before COVID-19 lockdowns, but this player behavior “dramatically” increased in the wake of the virus. Valve said it hopes that it helped provide “some joy” to people’s lives in 2020.

Valve also announced that its Summer, Autumn, and Winter sales all broke records in terms of revenue for developers and publishers. It wasn’t just the big players that performed well on Steam in 2020, either, as Valve said the number of games that grossed over $100,000 during the 2020 Winter Sale rose by 36% compared to the previous year’s sale.

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Additionally, Valve called out the success of virtual reality in 2020. VR game sales on Steam rose by 32% in 2020, and Valve said this doesn’t even count sales of Half-Life: Alyx, which added a further 39% on top of that. Additionally, Valve said 1.7 million Steam users tried VR for the first time in 2020, while total time spent playing VR games on Steam rose by 30%.

What’s more, Valve disclosed that people really like playing PC gams with a controller. More than 46.6 million people used a controller to play a Steam game in 2020, which is up from 31.8 million for 2019. There were 1.68 billion game sessions where the player used a controller in 2020, which compares to 1.01 billion for the year prior.

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Also in the report, Valve disclosed just how massive Steam is when it comes to data. Steam delivered an astonishing 25.2 exabytes worth of data in 2020. The release of Cyberpunk 2077, which was one of the biggest Steam releases of 2020, helped push Steam to reach a record for download traffic of 52 Tbps, which is more than double the previous peak.

Valve added three new server sites in 2020 (Frankfurt, Dallas, and Buenos Aires) and it plans to add 2-4 more in the first half of 2021. Valve also did a full upgrades of its Chicago network site during 2020 to help with performance.

Finally, Valve said it was approached by the governments of multiple countries to discuss how it could help mitigate the increase in internet traffic due to COVID-19. As a result of these discussions, Valve changed some of its bandwidth policies during peak traffic hours, with updates moved to the evenings to help with these bandwidth considerations.

Looking ahead, Valve outlined some of its plans for 2021, which includes working with Perfect World in China to finally make Steam available in the country. Check out the full Year in Review post here.

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