Steam now has more than 125 million active users
It’s easy to track users on consoles due to the fact that each console uses a single dedicated platform created by the company that developed the console. Microsoft can track how many active users the Xbox One has, what games they’re playing, how long they’re playing them, and so on thanks to the fact that Xbox Live is the only platform available on the console. Things aren’t nearly as easy on PCs.
For years, the PC market was made up of numerous platforms, with a significant portion of gamers not even using a platform at all. This made accurately tracking PC gamers virtually impossible up until now. The reason this changed was because of Steam, which has risen to become the closest thing to a universal platform that the PC will ever have. Wile there are still plenty of other platforms to choose from, Steam is the undisputed leader by a significant margin.
Valve has always loved to track demographics and statistics on Steam and has even made a lot of that information available to the public. You can go to Steam right now and check out how many people are online at any given moment and what they’re playing. Valve even offers a map that shows which countries download the most games, a chart that shows what operating system its users are running their games on, the most popular hardware choices, and more.
Every now and then Valve will give us an update on how many active users Steam has as well, and the number never fails to impress. However, this latest update goes beyond impressive and borders on the absurd because, according to Valve, there are now more than 125 million active Steam accounts. To put that into perspective, the only consoles in history that have sold more than 125 million unites are the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation 2, both of which are no longer being sold. Considering that Steam will continue to expand so long as PC gaming is still a thing, you can expect the service to surpass both consoles very soon.
Keep in mind also that this number only accounts for PC gamers on Steam and doesn’t include other platforms. The service was estimated to have a 70% share of the digital distribution market for PC games back in 2009. Assuming that the estimate was accurate and hasn’t changed in the years since, there may very well be over 165 million active PC gamers right now. It’s no wonder that so many games go straight for PCs and skip consoles altogether.