Steam: Record Revenue and Users – Review of 2020


of Karsten Scholz
The people in charge at Valve have published an exciting review of 2020 for Steam. In the extensive post we find out details about remarkable records, exciting number games and new features. Would you have thought that there are more gamers on Steam every month than on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live?

Steam is one of the most popular and successful game platforms of all and if you want to gamble regularly across all genres on your PC, you will find it difficult to avoid installing the associated launcher. Just a few days ago there was the latest user record with 25,425,816 players who were simultaneously active in Steam online.

But how successful was Steam in 2020 exactly? We learn this and much more in the extensive Valve review of the past year. We have summarized the most important findings for you below.

  • The number of active users per month rose to 120.4 million in 2020 (for comparison: Playstation Network 102 million players, Xbox Live: 90 million players), the number of active users per day to 62.6 million, the maximum number of simultaneous players 24.8 million, the number of new customers to 2.6 million per month, the number of hours of play to 31.3 billion and the number of games sold increased by 21.4 percent compared to 2019.
  • The biggest discount campaigns (summer, autumn, winter) in particular generated record income for developers and publishers. The number of games with revenues in excess of $ 100,000 between the 2019 and 2020 winter promotions increased 36 percent.
  • The number of demo activations rose significantly over the year, from 0.6 million Demp activations in spring to 3.1 million demo activations in summer to 5.1 million demo activations in autumn.







Steam in 2020: Some exciting number games from Valve.



Steam in 2020: Some exciting number games from Valve.

Source: Valve




  • 2020 was the start for that Steam points program, a set of features that reward users for purchasing games and their commitment to the Steam community. To date, 15.5 million users have redeemed their points for 99 million items, and over 2 million users have awarded 7 million community prizes to members of the communities.
  • Sales of VR games for PC showed an increase of up to 32 percent again in 2020. With the release of Half-Life: Alyx the growth then rose by an additional 39 percent. More than 1.7 million users on Steam experienced VR games for the first time in 2020. Accordingly, the demand for the Valve Index was consistently high. VR users enjoyed over 104 million VR sessions on their PC last year. Each session was an average of 32 minutes long, which led to an increase in total playing time of 30 percent.
  • To date, 46.6 million users have used a controller. At the end of 2019 there were 31.8 million. Last year, a total of 1.68 billion game sessions were executed with controllers, which is an increase of 66.6 percent compared to the 1.01 billion sessions in 2019. Of those game sessions in 2020, 452 million were built into games Steam input, which is an increase from 232 million last year.
  • At the beginning of March, download traffic for games grew by 30 to 40 percent. This is a smaller increase than Valve normally sees during an action and was therefore quite easy to use. With the release of Cyberpunk 2077 Valve then recorded a record of 52 Tbit / s (26 Tbit / s only for the period of the pre-loading) for the download traffic – a doubling of the previous high.
  • Despite the lockdown, Valve was able to overhaul the Chicago network location and set up three new locations (Frankfurt, Dallas and Buenos Aires). Another two to four new locations are planned for the next six months.

Preview of 2021

Last but not least, those responsible at Valve gave an outlook on the innovations that are planned for the next few months.

  • Steam China: Our team has worked hard together with our partner Perfect World to bring the program out soon and bring Steam to China in early 2021.
  • User experience improvements:
    We continue to try to iron out minor inconsistencies in how we interact with Steam – we just want to make it as easy as possible to buy, install, and play games.
  • Steam Login: We continue to plan to update the Steam Mobile app to make it easier for users to log in and secure their accounts.
  • The Steam Points Program: We continue to consider ways we can reward users for their commitment to Steam, including people who are not specifically interested in Steam community features.
  • Linux: We continue to invest in technologies that make game compatibility and performance beyond Steam Play improve. We're also working on new ways for potential users to get started playing Linux and experience these improvements too.
  • Steam laboratories: In addition to improving existing experiments such as B. Experiment 010: Browsing Steam and Experiment 012: Discovery of offers, we are exploring new ways for players to browse our offers in the coming year.
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