Full steam ahead for Valve's cloud gaming platform

News Jane McCallion Nov 28, 2012
game pad in the shape of a cloud
game pad in the shape of a cloud

Steam network sees six million gamers set new simultaneous usage peak

Steam, the cloud gaming platform developed and run by video game development and distribution company Valve, has set a new record for the number of users online at the same time, topping six million.

Approximately 6.05 million PC and Mac gamers logged into the service simultaneously on 25 November, comes just two months after Valve announced Steam had hit the 50 million unique users mark. This puts it 20 million users ahead of EA’s Origin cloud gaming offering.

The news of the latest high in concurrent users comes just days after the announcement at the London Games Conference that 500,000 subscribers had already signed up to the beta of Steam’s TV-screen optimised ‘Big Picture’ mode.

Although Steam’s autumn sale almost certainly had a hand in pushing up the number of simultaneous users seen on Sunday, it is still less than a year since the cloud gaming service racked up five million concurrent users, in January 2012.

Additionally, there has been no big title launch at the same time as the sale, as there was this time last year with the launch of Skyrim, which has led many believe the new ‘high tide mark’ shows the growing popularity of this method of delivering the gaming experience.

Freelance games journalist Joe Martin told Cloud Pro: “Valve's success in this regard is hardly surprising. Origin ... is still a relatively new competitor to Steam. Battle.net meanwhile, though it has popular games such as World of Warcraft, is still exclusive to Blizzard games - so it can't compete in terms of choice. Valve meanwhile has been progressively upgrading and improving its platform for years... [and] also uses regular promotions and Steamworks to keep the platform in the public eye.”

Blogger Grant Howitt agreed. "The 6m users is undoubtedly off the back of the now legendary Steam Sales, but it is not massively surprising, really - Steam is the way you get software for PCs, now," he told Cloud Pro.

"Cloud gaming is inevitable, really, however we choose to frame it - whether we're just storing data elsewhere or, more radically, housing an entire game on servers that allow remote play. It's an exciting time to be a gamer," Howitt added.