0.9% Of The Global Population Have Steam Accounts

Somehow I'm not expecting 65 million Steam Machines, however

65 million Steam accounts now, apparently. That’s a fair old slice of the approx. 7.121 billion human beings on the planet Earth – perhaps by this time next year, Valve will have reached the magic 1%. For now though, they’re celebrating a claimed 30% growth in “active accounts” over the last year, which just so happened to be the service’s 10th anniversary. What a long way it’s come from a rudimentary download service that made everyone’s life hell on Half-Life 2’s launch day.

Not a lot else to say, other than questions I can’t answer such as “how many of those accounts are regularly used; how many exist purely because someone bought a specific videogame which required the creation of a Steam account; how many are duplicates to get around bans or regional restrictions; what is the size of cow; what does ‘active’ actually mean here?” But even so, there’s absolutely no doubting Steam’s ubiquity on PC these days. I wonder what the PC landscape would be like without it – would some other service have cornered the market, or would it have been a fragmented but more free world?

I DO NOT KNOW. But I suspect Microsoft are particularly pissed off about it.

Here’s a token Gabe quote on the matter:

“The main goal of Steam has always been to increase the quality of the user’s experience by reducing the distance between content creators and their audience. As the platform grows, our job is to adapt to the changing needs of both the development and user communities. In the coming year, we plan to make perhaps our most significant collaborations with both communities through the Steam Dev Days and the Steam Machines beta.”

Following this statement, Mr Newell flew to Venus in a rocketship made of solid diamond, where he proceed to terraform the entire planet into a personal castle/battlestation made of platinum.


  1. d3vilsadvocate says:

    2 out of my 9 friends haven’t used theirs in more than two years…

    • truck says:

      Maybe they just blocked you.

      • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

        Maybe they just leave the “display as offline” permanently on.

    • bills6693 says:

      Of my 45 steam friends (some of which are IRL friends), only 1-2 seem to be ‘gone’ – one not online for 237 days, one not online for 70 days. Then there’s one not for 20 days. Then no more than 7 days offline.

    • ersetzen says:

      One guy seems dead since 320 days, but the other 20-or-so were online within a day or less… Also, the Firefox dictionary doesn’t know online?

    • jameskond says:

      That means they’re not part of the 0.9%, they have to be active in the last 4 weeks to be counted.

      • uh20 says:

        im pretty sure based off the info and post that the 0.9% is based on ALL accounts, and the 30% increase in activity is based on any accounts active in 4 weeks

        • sexyresults says:

          From the verge article “Steam now has more than 65 million active accounts. The figure marks a 30 percent rise in players over the last year.”

          Seems like that 65 million is up 30% from last year. So, 65 million accounts have been logged into in the last 4 weeks.

    • bstard says:

      Almost proven case of alien abduction.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Possibly a sign they got married and have other entertainment… um, I mean responsibilities.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Probably fell victim to a proprietary console of some kind. They will (presumably) be missed.

  2. Amnesiac says:

    Is this the first year steam hasn’t seen a 100% increase in steam users?

    If so Valve’s decision to break into hardware is starting to make more sense/

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I think the 100%-per-year increase thing was regarding revenue, not users. Could be wrong though.

  3. Agricola says:

    Everyday I give thanks to the GabeHead, that his is the one true DRM platform.

    • Iron Ladyboy says:

      GabeHead, the infinite head with room for all the hats.

  4. lordcooper says:

    Cow is pretty big.

  5. seamoss says:

    This assumes that everyone has only one Steam account – many, many people have multiple Steam accounts, for various reasons.

    • Carra says:

      What reasons would that be? Can’t think of any good reason.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Because then you can have all your games in three places instead of one, and bigger numbers are better

      • Koozer says:

        Maybe Steam VAC bans you for no good /a perfectly valid reason so you need another account to play your favourite game?

      • seamoss says:

        The main reasons are for single-key bundles of games some of which you already have and some you don’t and don’t want to waste the extra copies, a separate account for Steam gifts and trading, a way to slightly ease Steam’s horrible account-based DRM (no, I don’t want to buy the same game twice, one copy for me and one for my kids), circumventing VAC bans, idling games for cards, scamming other people in trades, and so on. Some people even don’t want games like “Secret of the Magic Crystals” (look it up) sullying their main account library and taking away their powergamer cred (but want to be able to say that they have 1000 games on Steam).

      • HadToLogin says:

        TF2 idling, scamming, market-boting, buying stuff using stolen credit cards to sell them for paypal, selling cheap Russian games without risking getting steam-ban on main account.
        Lots of reasons to make second accounts.

        • Baines says:

          HadToLogin is right about TF2 idling.

          Just search for it on Google, and you’ll see plenty of guides and videos. There are programs and guides for setting up multi-account farms. (I never bothered with TF2 idling, but it sounds like you could run multiple VM/sandboxes on the same machine, each one running a separate Steam account that was running TF2.)

          There are people who admitted to having hundreds of alt accounts for TF2 idling.

      • sharkh20 says:

        I used to use 3 for counter-strike so I could play in multiple clans competitively haha. All the leagues required your steam id.

      • GSGregory says:

        Friend uses one so certain people he knows don’t know he is on.

      • Iron Ladyboy says:

        I have a friend who create new all the time to play a few games and then sell the account. He only get the ones he is sure he want to keep on his main.
        I’m sure there are also a frightening amount of people who create new accounts instead of password reset when they don’t use a service often and forget their user/pass. My brother did exactly that (and I punched him every time I had to add him to my friends list).

      • vagabond says:

        I have a second account for running the dota client on my media center PC, allows me to watch dota matches/replays without kicking my account off my gaming PC.

        Depending on how exactly the sharing thing works, I may create a third account to use a subset of my software on my laptop.

      • Sn3ipen says:

        If you have a VPN, you can create a Russian account to get cheaper games.

        If your’e a European, you can create an American account to pay in dollars instead of Euro.

    • Inzimus says:

      I’ve two different accounts, partly due to humblebundle games which I’ve gotten several of the same games in different bundles and partly because I’ve more than one computer and I like to be able to LAN at home, either with my girlfriend or friends who drop by on occasion…

    • jameskond says:

      There are also a lot of people with multiple Xbox Live accounts though

  6. marlin says:

    I almost didn’t buy HL2 because it needed this thing called ‘Steam’….took me hours on my 56k.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I ragequit PC gaming because of Steam for several years. Ended up giving away my useless copy of HL2 — a game I’d been drooling to own for 6 years — because I couldn’t play it due to my internet situation. I’ve never been so disillusioned and pissed off at a company as I was at Valve in late 2004.

      Steam sure is nice now though.

    • Jenks says:

      I bought it on Xbox so I didn’t need to install Steam.

      My god, what a stupid asshole.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        The Xbox version came out a year later…and really sucked. Unless a silky smooth 10 fps is your thing, I guess.

        • Jenks says:

          I don’t remember having framerate problems, but considering I have almost 400 games on Steam now I’d say I wasn’t seeing the future very clearly.

      • goettel says:

        Yeah, hardware DRM (XBOX, consoles in general) sure beats software DRM in suckyness.

        • Jenks says:

          What the hell is hardware DRM? You can play the game on any console, and sell it when you’re done. You mean needing the disc in the drive to play? I’ve never heard of anyone refer to that as DRM.

          • LionsPhil says:

            That’s mostly because it falls under the older term “copy protection”, because the disc is oft meddled with in some way to make it awkward or impractical to copy (or, later, make images of). It became full-on DRM once the technical requirement (i.e. loading things from the CD because they weren’t all installed on the hard disk—so normal for consoles) went away and it just became a hardware dongle to authorize the software to run (a CD-check).

            “Hardware DRM” these days usually seems to mean hardware-locked limited activations, though, which is a different kettle of hate.

          • Jenks says:

            So in short, goettel’s sarcastic quip is simply idiotic.

  7. SirKicksalot says:

    “Active account” means being online at least once in the past 30 days.
    In the past at least one registered purchase was also required, but I guess it was dropped since there are so many f2p games now.

    • sexyresults says:

      Dropped for good reasons, f2p/microtransactions make up a huge part of the industry now and it’d be silly to not include them.

  8. Dudeist says:

    Steam? I never heard about. It’s free?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Free to play in theory but you’ll not have much fun unless you buy some of the ludicrous number of microtransactions.

  9. Stardreamer says:

    Ten years of grumbling about Steam eh? Bloody Half-Life 2! Oh well, Happy Birthday, you terribly obnoxious hand-holding dictatorial monster of a game client. But thanks for all the cheap games and the free copy of Portal. Here’s to another ten years of complaining about you!

    Before I go, a wee story in tribute to your glory, Steam. A very kind soul purchased a DVD copy of the new XCOM for me not long ago, a game my GF was gagging to play. “Install it! install it!”, she demanded. So off to Steam I went. It took 45 minutes to copy the files from the DVD, which was tedious but hardly your fault, but then you insisted on downloading 3gb worth of updates before you’d let me touch it. Two hours later, long past the point where my GF’s boredom threshold had gasped its last, you were finished…but then came the DirectX check, and the other first-time pre-launch fiddly bits you seem to think are so important, to which my girlfriend – an avid XBox gamer – cried: “Ohmygod, PC gaming really sucks!

    i could do naught but agree, for in that instant I was also mightily vexed. Steam: making PC Gaming look bad since Half-Life 2.

    • Hicks233 says:

      Ok that made me laugh :)

      Steam! Because you can’t be trusted (so the drm is needed) and can’t be arsed (to update or install).
      Pity there’s no sign of them ditching the drm and just being a discount bin store.

      • bills6693 says:

        To be honest, I think its for the best on balance.

        Without the DRM, think how many publishers would add their own level of DRM. And look how that has turned out (U-Play) for the one that did. Plus EA making Origin, although thats never caused me much hassle, to its credit.

        Basically, all the big publishers (bar those two) can trust in Steam’s DRM instead of adding their own. Imagine if everything had an equivalent to U-Play added to it, instead of steam DRM.

        As far as DRM goes, steam is pretty damn unobtrusive. For example, I can’t play my HOMM when not connected to the internet (cheers UPLAY) but I can still play XCOM. I can install XCOM on as many computers as I want, and soon, other people can play it if I’m not playing a game at the time.

        Overall, I think its better than the probable alternative. I don’t think its realistic to expect there to not be DRM if it weren’t for steam. There was DRM before and, if it ever happens, DRM after steam. Publishers want to protect their investment and if they can do that through steam instead of pissing people off with their own system, thats good for all.

    • GSGregory says:

      The updates you probably could of stopped. The pre launch check is because of all the idiots who can’t or do not know how to update drivers ect.

      To hicks233. Steam is only a drm if the dev/publisher chooses to use that function of steam.

      Finally. With the next gen consoles games are going to either have to download or install to the hdd for the most part.

      Also that sucky pc game has access to higher end graphics and to all the modding in the world.

      • Stardreamer says:

        If you can point me to a way of stopping updates and then being allowed to play my game I’d be forever in your debt, good sir. It drives me freakin’ nuts.

        I do understand why Steam does these things; there are people out there who genuinely need such loving care and attention. But for those of us that learned how to pee by ourselves long ago having someone grasp your penis each time and point it for you – even when you peed recently and don’t need to go again – is more than a little frustrating.

        • bills6693 says:

          LOL nice analogy :)

          As for the comment above, only high-end graphics with a higher-end computer. If you build/buy something for same or cheaper than a console, the graphics will probably be worse. Especially with the next-gen ones coming out.

        • BlackAlpha says:

          You cannot “install” a game on Steam without doing an update and most games update in such a way that you basically need to download at least half of the game when you install it from DVDs. Honestly, don’t bother getting DVDs. Just download it from Steam straight away. Come back in a few hours (depending on your internet speed, most games shouldn’t take more than 2 hours). Play the game. Problem solved.

        • DuneTiger says:

          You can’t cancel on-going updates (as far as I know), but you can either globally turn off automatic updates in your Steam client settings or go to specific game properties and uncheck “Keep this game up to date” from one of the tabs.

    • DanMan says:

      Pro-tip: you can usually just cancel the “pre-launch fiddly bits”, and the game will start up anyway.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Genuinely good to know. Thank you. Although I’d prefer an OPTION (you listening, Valve?) to be a big boy, grown-up gamer and take my own risks, thank you very much, just as I enjoyed in my formative years.I’d also like to be given the OPTION to install the updates, or at the very least properly informed as to what they contain. Steam isn’t great at presenting you with this kind of information, making it a step backwards from the pre-steam era for me.

        • ecat says:

          I believe the directX pre-check/install is a Microsoft requirement, so, maybe write them a letter? I think it goes something like this: if a game built around directX the game must ship with directX and the directX it ships with must be installed as part of the game install.

          • Skull says:

            At least when you buy a game on disk, the installer will check to see if you have the latest version of DirectX and then give you a choice about updating it.

            Steam can’t even be bothered to check.

          • darkChozo says:

            Old RPS articles to the rescue!

            Or the Steam support page if you don’t trust those dirty RPS writers.

            The TLDR is that you need the D3DX library, of which there are many, many versions. If you don’t have the right version (not the most up-to-date version), you can run into issues. The DirectX installer is the best way to both check if you have the right version and install the right version if you do not.

          • barcharcraz says:

            I really wish these sorts of libraries were available as static libraries, without some kind of package management dynamic libraries are quite pointless.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I sincerely hope they never implement such an option, since people may use it. Those people will then complain that things don’t work, and waste bughunting effort that could be spent on actual issues.

          • Stardreamer says:

            Bury the options in a menu so deep you can knock on the Earth’s core, then. Or let some kind of ‘Pro-Gamer’ mode be set as launch flags in the application shortcuts. Or let us tweak a config file. Just put them generally where the users that need powdered, nappied and safety-pinned aren’t likely to trip over them. Not that hard, surely?

          • LionsPhil says:

            The users most likely to be a problem with this option are the ones who think they know what they are doing and go digging.

    • Ernesto says:

      Haha. What really sucks is impatience and short attention spans :P

  10. rockman29 says:

    I think a more representative measure of “use” would be how many user-hours online and/or in-gameplay were made by users in say… a week or a month.

    Or purchases, or spending averages per month, but Steam doesn’t release that stuff.

    It would not be as inflationary, and therefore… not make Steam look as good :)

    • ecat says:

      My occasional monitoring of Steam consists of simply looking at the Current User activity chart – just look at the peaks. It has certainly passed the 6,000,000 mark in times quite recent, previously it would be in the very high 5,000,000 so I do not doubt the claim that active accounts have increased.

  11. acidlacedpenguin says:

    There are 3 pen strokes required for 0.9 and 3 pen strokes for %. A 30% increase of users, that’s 10 times 3%. Those are 3 facts we can take away from this announcement.

    Half-Life 3 confirmed.

  12. donweel says:

    Seriously http://goo.gl do you really expect anybody to fall for that?

    • phelix says:

      I am almost inclined to believe a “top of the range” Lancia costs less than $10000.

  13. Bweahns says:

    I have several steam accounts. I switch accounts when I’m drunk with my friends so we can play dota and have fun rather than play dota and lose horribly and bicker with each other.

  14. grrrz says:

    had to install it to play black mesa source, it got away right after finishing it.
    still an useless and invasive piece of junk with drm, don’t know what the fuss is about.
    (besides my windows machine which is for games only is never connected, I don’t play anything online, and couldn’t care less about installing/maintening an antivirus/firewall like in the 90’s)
    anyway for games I go straight to the publisher source, the humble store, and gog.

  15. Kageru says:

    When Steam first came out I remember it was an established fact that PC gaming was dying. Retail coverage was shrinking, Microsoft was focused on it’s more lucrative console and the game market was all focused on console releases. The advantages of the PC as an open platform were worthless since the games were increasingly just console ports.

    …. Things have certainly changed, and Steam had a lot to do with that.

    • yobokkie says:

      Agreed, 10 years ago PC gaming was in trouble, not very many good games coming out then at all, and a lot of piracy on those that did. I think that what Steam did was to provide an easy platform for publishers and gamers alike where publishers have more peace of mind over piracy issues and gamers have convenience and community and as more people have bought into that more publishers have been attracted back to the PC.

      I also think we’re going to be in for some good years on PC with the latest versions of two of the main tv-connected plastic boxes that people play games both sharing architecture with the PC, making the PC the best platform to develop on and then port down to those. It’s already happened on a few of the games being released now. And with the prices of those pieces of plastic being so high this time round I think a lot of people are going to come over to the dark side and steam will probably be leading the charge.

  16. uh20 says:

    population increase, boring. i guess theres no news about the boxes here.
    my excitement about the controller and steam streaming support is just as sad as last year when i was waiting for (and bypassing through) the linux beta.
    if it follows anything like it did last time, those 3 announcements will be the only announcements until december or so, where they finally tease some more junk and then later release everything only to be in a working state 3 months later.

  17. racccoon says:

    STEAM!! I only use it as I am forced to use it to play my favorite games, I see STEAM as a total waste of my time, I prefer to load and install my games instantly into my HD and not be forced into using a silly tool which basically is useless, In my normal install all I have to do when I want a update is get it when I want to, I do not need a bunch of ads set in STEAM and STEAM to be constantly updating itself and other crap that it throws at my face! its interfering with my game play time, when I could be using that time to actually play more of my game outside of the crap called STEAM! STEAM = A total waste of time.

  18. sabasNL says:

    Gabe Newell is conquering the world after all…
    All Hail Lord GabeN, Bringer Of Discounts, Master Of Procastrination, Troll Supreme and Destroyer Of Lives!

    • BooleanBob says:

      You forgot his most terrifying title of all… Feeder Of The Backlog.

  19. AlienMind says:

    2405518376 Internet user worldwide. 65000000 STEAM accounts worldwide.
    Ergo: 97% of all internet user don’t use STEAM.
    Faith in humanity restored.