96 Steam Statistics You Must Know: 2022 Market Share Analysis & Data
Initially launched in September 2003 as a platform for Valve to provide automatic updates for their games, Steam has gone a long way to become a prime digital game distribution platform for developers and publishers and their title offerings. Capable of running on Windows, macOS, and Linux, it has acquired millions of users over the years.
Other than games, the platform also has a selection of apps and software, anime, films, and game soundtracks.
Today, Steam dominates the market with an astounding number of active players daily. At some points, it can have as many as 25 million concurrent users. These include those browsing its storefront and those who are actively playing games.
But how big is Steam really? And what do we know about the users of the platform? Below, we will take a look at recent Steam statistics as well as other relevant figures.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic hitting many digital and physical businesses worldwide, Steam ended 2020 on a positive note (Steam, 2021). In a nutshell, these are the numbers with which Steam ended 2020:
120 million active players.
Steam reached a peak of 62.6 million daily active players.
The number of concurrent players peaked at 24.8 million.
The gaming platform gained an average of 2.6 million purchasers per month.
Gamers purchased 21.4% more games compared to 2019.
Gamers spent 50.7% more hours gaming in 2020 than they did in 2019.
Steam Userbase Statistics
As a gaming platform available worldwide, Steam is loaded with blockbuster titles that attract users by the millions. As of March 10, 2021, the most number of Steam users online was 26,401,443 (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021).
Effects of Covid-19 on Steam gaming (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
The Steam platform experienced a surge in user gains in March 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions went into effect.
The concurrent peak number of users online in March 2020 was 23,635,201. The platform gained 4,527,398 active users that month. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
Steam’s lowest gain in 2020 was 27,617 users in August 2020. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
June 2020 showed 1,880,626 users becoming inactive or leaving the platform. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
By February 2021, the peak of Steam reached 26,401,443. In comparison, the peak of February 2020 was only 19,107,803. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
Geographic Data (Steam, 2021)
As of March 2021, North American gamers downloaded the most data from Steam. The download bandwidth they used up was 737.5 Gbps.
Users in the United States used 80.2 PB as of March 2021.
But Chinese gamers used up more overall—90.7 PB.
The region with the least bandwidth used was Asia at 5.7 Tbps.
Myanmar has 0 PBs at this time, owing to the political situation on the ground.
Other countries and territories with 0 PB consumption are Cuba, Sudan, Eritrea, Somaliland, Syria, Kosovo, Iran, Western Sahara, and East Timor.
The hermit state of North Korea also registered 0 PB.
19% of Steam traffic comes from China, followed by 16.8% from the US. This coincides with the large percentage of Chinese gamers among the number of gamers worldwide.
That lines up with the most used languages of Steam users (as of February 2021): English (38.8%) and Simplified Chinese (19.8%). These are followed by Russian (11.3%), Spanish – Spain (5.25%), and German (3.87%).
Russia and Germany provided 5.8% and 4.4% of traffic, respectively.
In the US, Verizon Fios is the network that is one of the most popular among Steam gamers. The average download rate on the network is 103.6 Mbps.
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5 Most Used Languages on Steam
as of February 2021
5 Most Used Languages on Steam English: 38.8%
5 Most Used Languages on Steam Simplified Chinese: 19.8%
5 Most Used Languages on Steam Russian: 11.3%
5 Most Used Languages on Steam Spanish – Spain: 5.25%
Spanish – Spain
5 Most Used Languages on Steam German: 3.87%
Source: Steam, 2021
Steam Platform Statistics
In the first two months of 2021, these are the games that reigned on Steam (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021):
Portal 2 is a game developed and published by Valve. Released on 19 April 2011, it currently stands as the highest-rated game on Steam with 235,407 positive reactions. It has a 97.61% rating.
Despite having 688,564 positive reactions, Terraria by Re-Logic is the fifth top-rated game on the platform. It has a 97.09% rating.
Indie game Hades, released on 17 September 2020, is the third on the list of top-rated games with a 97.43% rating.
Factorio and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are second and fourth with 97.44% and 97.10% ratings, respectively.
Left 4 Dead 2 (96.33%) and Phasmophobia (96.31%) are two horror games that made it to the top 25 highest-rated games. They sit at the 16th and 17th spots.
These are the games that ended the year 2020 on a high note:
Factorio took the top spot with a 97.44% rating.
Hades was in second place with a 97.43% rating.
Meanwhile, Phasmophobia was placed higher in 2020 than in 2021; it was in sixth place with a 96.31% rating.
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Top 5 Highest Rated Games on Steam
as of March 2021
Top 5 Highest Rated Games on Steam Portal 2: 97.61%
Top 5 Highest Rated Games on Steam Factorio: 97.44%
Top 5 Highest Rated Games on Steam Hades: 97.43%
Top 5 Highest Rated Games on Steam The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: 97.10%
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Top 5 Highest Rated Games on Steam Terraria: 97.09%
Source: SteamDB, 2021
Most-Played Games (Steamcharts, 2021)
As of this writing, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the most played game. Released in August 2012, the first-person shooter game has logged 753,453 concurrent players. At its peak, there were 1,167,609 players. The most hours clocked in were more than 538 million. It has a rating of 88%.
Dota 2 comes in second; It once recorded a peak of 640,997 concurrent players and over 290 million hours played.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is a popular survival first-person shooter game, had 458,778 concurrent players at peak with more than 143 million game hours.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, the sixth installment of the popular strategy game, is the 22nd top game. It had a peak of 61,550 concurrent players with over 26 million game hours.
Like any other platform, Steam has to deal with support requests as well.
Typical response times for refund requests vary from 53.63 minutes to 3.50 hours. (Steam, 2021)
Purchase and billing support can take anywhere from 2.32 hours to 15.74 hours. (Steam, 2021)
Game and steam technical support can be as fast as 1.25 hours or as long as 2.07 days. (Steam, 2021)
Account security and recovery take the longest to close; can be finished in 2.37 hours or take up to 13.02 hours. (Steam, 2021)
Steam handled 13 million support tickets (not counting refund requests) in 2020. This figure is 5% more than in 2019. (Steam, 2020)
Steam delivered 25.2 exabytes of data in 2020. (Steam, 2021)
There was an increase of 30-40% in traffic due to game downloads in March 2020. This coincides with the beginning of widespread COVID-19-related restrictions. (Steam, 2021)
Cyberpunk 2077 contributed a record-breaking 52 Tbps of download traffic. The game contributed 26 Tbps during the preload period. (Steam, 2021)
Games Library Statistics
In 2020, 10,263 games were released on Steam. This is the most number of games published in a year on the platform. The year with the closest number of releases in 2018, which saw 9,050 games make their way to the platform (Galyokin, 2021).
Best Game Developer (Steam 250, 2021)
Valve is considered the number one game developer because of its consistently good releases on Steam. It is best known for Portal 2. The company has a score of 8.5.
Following Valve is Supergiant Games, the developer behind a 2020 hit, Hades. It has a score of 8.44.
Klei owns the third spot. This developer introduced gamers to the survival game Don’t Starve and its multiplayer version, Don’t Starve Together. It has a score of 8.4.
CDPR, the name behind The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is only in the 12th spot with a score of 8.18
Bethesda of Skyrim fame is 64th on the list of best game developers, scoring 7.85.
Feral Interactive, which brought the refreshed Tomb Raider to life is 79th with a score of 7.8.
Source: Steam 250, 2021
User Badges Statistics
The following Steam statistics focus on the badges that Steam users have gained by reaching milestones.
Steam user Sonix has the most owned games on Steam: 24,601. While that may seem extravagant, it is still nowhere near the cost of the least expensive toy among the most expensive toys in the world. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
Sonix has been on Steam for 10.6 years and has 7,284 hours on record. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
The user that is 100th on the list of most Steam games owned is seph.au with 13,135 games. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
The top user on Steam by level is St4ck, who has reached level 5000 on the platform. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
St4ck has been on Steam for 10.9 years and has played 15,590.6 hours. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
Following that user is Magic, who has reached level 3913. The user has been on the platform 14.5 years and owns 2,765 games. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
The user that has been on Steam the longest is Abacus Avenger. The account level is only 74 but the player has been playing on the platform for 17.5 years. Abacus Avenger on 10 September 2003 at 11:14:45. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
Abacus Avenger is followed by user EJ, who registered for a Steam account only one minute later than Abacus Avenger. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
999 of the accounts with the badge “16 Years of Service” registered on Steam within three days of the platform’s release. (xPaw & Marlamin, 2021)
What Steam Gamers Use
Steam gamers have their personal preferences for gaming hardware and software. These include video cards, VR headsets, PC processors, and even the number of PC CPUs per computer. Numbers are based on the Steam survey conducted on February 2021 (Steam, 2021).
16.28% of Steam gamers use video cards manufactured by AMD.
On the other hand, 8.76% of users like to use Intel for their video cards.
NVIDIA is the most popular video card among Steam gamers, with 74.83% of user share.
The most common video card description on Steam is NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, which is used by 9.19% of gamers.
Nearly ¾ of Steam gamers use Intel as their PC processor.
Meanwhile, 28.66% prefer to have their PCs run on AMD.
There are 11.53% of Steam users who have 8 CPUs per computer.
The majority of gamers (42%) on the Steam platform use 4 CPUs per computer.
Of the users who use Mac hardware for gaming, 52.82% use MacBook Pro and 26.59% use MacBook Air.
The most used VR headset of gamers with that kind of device is Oculus Quest 2 (22.91%). That is followed by Oculus Rift S (21.58%) and Valve Index HMD (16%). With many people using VR headsets for gaming, it is no wonder that the future of VR is looking good.
100% of Steam users have microphones.
67.29% of users have their primary display resolution at 1920 x 1080.
Most of those who have multiple monitors have a desktop resolution of 2840 x 1080 (71.82%).
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Hardware Preferences of Steam Gamers
Hardware Preferences of Steam Gamers NVIDIA for video cards: 74.83%
NVIDIA for video cards
Hardware Preferences of Steam Gamers Intel as PC processor: 71.34%
Intel as PC processor
Hardware Preferences of Steam Gamers 4 CPUs per Com: 42%
4 CPUs per Com
Hardware Preferences of Steam Gamers Oculus Quest 2 for VR: 22.91%
Oculus Quest 2 for VR
Source: Steam, 2021
Controllers on Steam
While most gamers would play with their keyboards and mice, there are still players who like to use controllers. In fact, 48 million players have played with controllers on Steam.
10% of daily game sessions are played with controllers. (Stanton, 2021)
The use of controllers on Steam has doubled in the last two years. (Stanton, 2021)
Only 1% of gamers use controllers for RTS games. (Stanton, 2021)
70% of sports and fighting games are played using controllers. (Stanton, 2021)
Racing and skating games can have more than 90% of sessions played with controllers. (Stanton, 2021)
Third-person action games like Assassin’s Creed see around 40% to 50% of controller usage. (Stanton, 2021)
Usage of controllers in FPS games is low—only 7% to 8%. (Stanton, 2021)
VR on Steam
In 2020, around 1.7 million users experienced VR games for the first time. Including the sessions of these new VR users, SteamVR sessions rose to over 104 million. With these numbers, VR for gaming is a trend that will continue for a while. Similarly, AR for gaming is on the rise and there are no signs of stalling yet.
The average time spent on VR sessions is 32 minutes. This increased by 30% compared to the figure from last year. (Lang, 2021)
VR game revenue rose by 71% on Steam. (Lang, 2021)
39% of the VR revenue on the platform came from Half-Life: Alyx. (Lang, 2021)
Steam Games Earnings
Steam shared its list of Top Sellers of 2020. While these games are divided into Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, the platform does not share the gross revenue of each title or how much they need to sell to qualify for a certain tier.
12 games made it to the list of Platinum earners. Included here are Grand Theft Auto V, Dota 2, and Among Us. (Steam, 2021)
Fall Guys, a Platinum earner, sold 10 million copies within 8 months of its release. (Dante, 2020)
Cyberpunk 2077, despite issues that bugged it at launch, is one of the biggest games of 2020—it sold 13 million copies. (Dante, 2020)
There are 12 Gold tier games, including Civilization VI, Phasmophobia, and The Elder Scrolls Online. (Steam, 2021)
Meanwhile, there are 13 titles that are Silver earners. Total War: Warhammer, Cities: Skylines, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey are among those. (Steam, 2021)
The Bronze tier has the most qualified games: 60. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition made it to the list. Don’t Starve Together, whose developer is considered as one of the best, is also a Bronze earner. Death Stranding, whose main character is modeled after The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus, is also on the Bronze list. (Steam, 2021)
Gamers always flock to seasonal sales such as the Steam Autumn Sale. In 2020, the platform revealed that revenue was at its highest during the Autumn Sale 2020.
Nearly one million users made purchases for the first time during the Autumn Sale 2020 period. (Young, 2020)
The 33% increase is significant compared to the same period in 2019. (Young, 2020)
24 million users were on the platform concurrently during the said sale. (Young, 2020)
That number is up over 7 million compared to the past year. (Young, 2020)
Big titles earn a lot of money on Steam (Statt, 2018). They are the only ones to even reach more than $10 million in sales on the platform to take advantage of lower cuts by Valve. But how much does the average game on Steam make?
The average Steam game made 47% less in 2019. (Bailey, 2019)
The average game would sell around 1,500 copies in 2019, 70% less than what they sold in 2018. (Bailey, 2019)
Games that are priced at $10 typically sold 1,000 copies. Those within the $11-15 price range would sell about 2,000 copies. And games that have a price tag of $21 or higher are likely to sell 5,000 copies. For games that sell for $16-20, they are likely to sell 2,500 copies. (Bailey, 2019)
14% of paid games have earned less than $1,000 since their release on the platform. (Kontus, 2020)
Nearly half of Steam games have not made over $5,000 in revenue. (Kontus, 2020)
Only a quarter of titles earned more than $50,000. (Kontus, 2020)
The top 10% of games, which would be the territory of AA and AAA titles and really successful indie games, have made more than $430,000. (Kontus, 2020)
The biggest moneymakers are the top 1%, which can make over $25 million. (Kontus, 2020)
Is Steam still the future of PC gaming?
Steam has major competition in Epic Games. When the latter opened its storefront in December 2018, it attracted game publishers with a huge 88% profit share. In comparison, publishers would only get 70% from Steam. However, Steam still owns the lion’s share of the market. It ended 2020 with 120 million active players and the platform can have more than 25 million concurrent users on select hours and days.
But it remains to be seen if Steam can hold on to the largest slice of the pie—Epic Games has secured exclusive agreements for anticipated titles that would make it unavoidable for any gamer who wants to play the game.
Nevertheless, it is the de facto PC gaming platform—for now.
Bailey, D. (2019, September 10). The average Steam game makes 47% less revenue in 2019, according to indie CEO. PCGamesN.
Dante. (2020, December 28). Steam shows which games made the most money in 2020. HRK Game.
Galyonkin, S. (2021). Games released in previous months. SteamSpy.
Kontus, K. (2020, August 6). One in a hundred indie games makes over $7 million on Steam. IND13games.
Lang, B. (2021, January 13). Valve: Steam saw 1.7 million new VR users in 2020, 71% increase in VR game revenue. Road to VR.
Stanton, R. (2021, March 4). 48 million players use controllers on Steam. PC Gamer.
Statt, N. (2018, November 30). Valve’s new Steam revenue agreement gives more money to game developers. The Verge.
Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. Her decision to focus on these two industries was spurred by their explosive growth in the last decade, much of it she attributes to the emergence of disruptive technologies and the quick adoption by businesses that were quick to recognize their values to their organizations. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.
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