Steam Tops 120M Monthly Users in 2020, China Launch, UX Upgrades, Linux 2021 Priorities

Nathan Birch
Steam Remote Play Together

Valve has released their now-traditional Steam Year in Review for 2020, and surprise, surprise, it was a very good year for the PC gaming platform. Buoyed by increased interest in gaming due to COVID and big releases like Cyberpunk 2077, Steam boosted its sales by 21 percent compared to 2019. And people were definitely playing those new games they bought, as Steam surpassed 120 million monthly active users in 2020, making it the biggest traditional gaming platform in the world (by comparison, PlayStation has 107m MAU and Xbox Live has 90m). You can check out a couple other key stats, below.

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All these people playing games on Steam meant Valve was dealing with a lot of data in 2020 – 25.2 exabytes worth of downloads to be exact (an exabyte is the equivalent of a billion terabytes). They also set a new download traffic record of 52tbps. It wasn’t just that were more people playing games via Steam, they were also playing in new ways. 1.7 million tried out SteamVR for the first time, and a growing number of players, around 47 million in 2020, played a a game using a console-style controller.

Of course, part of the Steam Year in Review is looking forward to the next year, and Valve outlined a few goals, including officially launching in China, introducing new user experience improvements, and continuing to invest in Linux gaming…

  • Steam China - Together with our partner Perfect World, the team has been hard at work, and we're really close to launching this program to bring Steam onshore into China in early 2021.
  • User Experience Improvements - We're looking at filing down the rough edges that most users encounter when interacting with our platform. We want to make it as easy as possible to buy, install, and play games.
  • Steam Login - We still plan on refreshing the our Mobile app and making it easier for users to login and keep their accounts secure.
  • The Steam Points program - We're brainstorming more ways to reward users, including folks who aren't especially interested in Steam Community features.
  • Linux - We're continuing to invest in technology that improves game compatibility and performance through Steam Play. We're also putting together new ways for prospective users to get into Linux gaming and experience these improvements.
  • Steam Labs - Along with iterating on existing experiments, such as 010 - Browse and 012 - Exploring Sales, we're exploring new ways for players to browse the catalog in the coming year.

What was your Steam experience like in 2020? What would you like to see Valve focus on in 2021?

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