In context: Like many other digital entertainment services (such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+), Steam exploded in popularity throughout 2020. This was no great surprise given the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders imposed on the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but regardless, it was an exciting year for PC gamers.
With that said, even Valve itself likely couldn’t have predicted just how explosive its growth would become toward the latter half of the year. In 2020, the massively-popular gaming platform reached the 120 million monthly active players milestone, which is a big step forward.
For reference, Steam’s comparable 2019 figure sat at 95 million monthly active users, so 2020 brought an increase of at least 25 million players. On an equally-impressive note, Steam also managed to pull in 24.8 million peak concurrent players.
Those players also bought more games than ever before — a 21.4 percent increase over 2019 — and they spent more time in said games. To be more specific, Steam saw average playtimes increase by 50.7 percent across the board compared to 2019.
Again, this isn’t a shock due to the increased free time many of us had in 2020 (voluntarily or otherwise), but that hasn’t stopped Valve from bragging about it.
All of this information comes courtesy of Steam’s latest “Year In Review” blog post. The post includes a few other juicy tidbits, too — for example, controller use skyrocketed in 2020, according to Valve.
46.6 million users decided to use a gamepad as their input method of choice during the entire year, versus 2019’s 31.8 million. VR revenue also saw a nice boost on Steam, increasing 71 percent year-over-year.
Half-Life: Alyx is responsible for the bulk of that increase (39 percent), but other VR game sales also saw great success, boosting revenue by the remaining 32 percent.
With all of this in mind, now comes the question: can Steam maintain all of this success in the long term? As PC enthusiasts, we hope so, but only time will tell.