One thing that PC gaming has going for it is that users don’t constantly need to purchase a new console every few years in order to play the newest titles: this ultimately works out in Valve‘s benefit.
Steam, the most popular gaming platform on PC by far, has passed 23,000,000 players all online at once during Christmas 2020; a monumental leap from 2019 that saw roughly 16 million concurrent users.
The number has climbed ever-upwards in the past decade, thanks to users not needing to repurchase a box for access to the platform, and backwards compatibility coming as a standard with PC thanks to emulation and open source projects.
Steam peak concurrent users on Christmas day:
Top played games on the platform included CS:GO, Dota 2, PUBG, Cyberpunk 2077 and GTA V
Gaming has been one of the key benefactors of the pandemic this year pic.twitter.com/LjdQ1SYSWB
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 28, 2020
This very same consistency, year after year, can also be seen with the titles that most people are enjoying on the gaming platform: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continues to enjoy unabashed adoration from fans on an international scale, along with DOTA 2 and other titles.
Even Rocket League continues to enjoy a good bit of adoration on the platform in spite of the title no longer being playable on it after Epic Games did what they like to: buy out the title and try to turn it into a platform exclusive for the Epic Games Store.
Yet while the arguable best titles were coming from relatively small indie studios, with Phasmophobia and Hades turning into surprise hits rated by number of purchases crossed by the number of positive reviews, larger studios haven’t necessarily been suffering entirely either.
The long-fabled Cyberpunk 2077 released as an absolute mess with lawsuits and arguments being slung around, yet still holds a top-three ranking for most popular title current being played: CD Projekt Red recently bypassed 13 million sales in spite of the atrocious state of the title that resulted in it simply being pulled from Sony as CDPR begged the company to allow users to return the title.
Yet the real driving force behind Steam managing to almost double its concurrent users has been the pandemic; people are stuck inside and forced to while away the hours consuming some form of media, and Hollywood has been struggling in the face of gaming well before the pandemic hit.
Perhaps there was something behind the theory of gaming taking off on an unprecedented level when the pandemic was still a possibility, instead of the current reality.
The climb of Steam isn’t likely to suddenly experience any setbacks, either: unless Valve make a few horribly poor choices that leads to people questioning the direction it’s going in.