Steam Dev Days: Steam At 75 Million, Greenlight Going Away

Valve’s developer-only Steam Dev Days summit has begun, but that doesn’t mean corrupt, malformed press types like us can’t be there in spirit. And by spirit, I mean Twitter, because this is what my life/career has become. So then, what’s going on behind the iron veil of Valve’s Seattle warfortress? Tons of stuff, honestly. But so far, the biggest announcements concern Steam (it gained another 10 million users in three months) and Steam Greenlight’s slow, probably painful death. Also, Steam Machines, because I will not stop writing about Steam Machines every week until the day I die.

The One PC Gaming Service To Rule Them All is now at a whopping 75 million users, 10 million of whom were picked up over the holidays (thanks, Steam sales). As you can see, the majority of players come from North America and Western Europe.

On the Greenlight front, Gabe Newell once again proclaimed that the infernal community machine will eventually be smashed up into a million tiny cubelets and shot into the coldest reaches of space where it will live out eternity in a state of ceaseless, clawing discomfort. My words, not his. These are his words, per Rise of the Triad marketing brofessional Dave Oshry:

“Our goal is to make Greenlight go away. Not because it’s not useful, but because we’re evolving.”

Newell’s hope is to give developers more power over Steam, eventually allowing them to control the store itself and, in turn, how they promote their games.

Last but not least, Steam Machines. Alienware’s will be launching in September. I think it looks like a Jawa Sandcrawler when viewed from the right angle. Thrilling!

Oh, also, as Valve told me last week, it’ll eventually roll out TV, music, and movies on Steam to support its living room takeover initiative.

Whew. So there is a bunch of Valve news for you. Check back tomorrow for heaps more, because Valve won’t stop hogging all the headlines and hashtags. #steamdevdays #valve #gaben #bieber


  1. SuddenSight says:

    I am surprised the Western Europe segment is so large. I am surprised South America is so small. Is Australia part of Oceania? What about India?

    I confess the economic realities of international gaming elude me.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Oceania is for all intents and purposes here NZ+Australia.

      Honestly those numbers don’t surprise me much, but just imagine how big Steam could become if they managed to get into Asia…

      • skittles says:

        Well it is AU, NZ, and PNG + a multitude of various pacific islands. I doubt PNG is a big spender on Steam though.

        link to

        I am somewhat surprised how neck-and-neck Western Europe and North America are.

      • Talksintext says:

        Asia would add not so much as you’d think. A few simple reasons: rampant piracy and no qualms about it, a lack of gaming machines, and different tastes.

        People in the low income and developing countries aren’t going to spend $30 on a game, because $30 is about 3 days’ wages. They’re going to buy the pirated, hacked copy at the ubiquitous local pirated software store for $1.50, or better yet just go to an internet cafe and play one of their online games, usually a free-to-play MMO with millions of users. These cafes don’t have computers that can run CoD even, because that would require $400 or so, which is 1-2 months’ salary. They have pretty crappy boxes that can run flash games and very simple 3D games, that’s it. And everyone’s addicted to these low quality flash-based MMOs, so what do they want to do with anything on Steam?

        Urban China and a few other middle/upper income Asian countries/locales may be different in terms of income, but they already have their distribution with full catalogs of games in their own languages. Steam would have a very uphill battle trying to break into China or Japan even, and it simply would have no market in the poorer countries, like Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Burma, really most of China still, and Thailand (and all that pretty much IS Asia).

        • Slazia says:

          People in Japan don’t really play PC games. Everyone I meet here who plays games has a console, handheld or mobile device. As an PC gamer, I am really thankful for Steam over here.

          • Wedge says:

            But Japan is full of PC games! Except most of them are also porn, or oddly derived from it.

          • BisonHero says:

            Well, PC games get some play in Japan, but mostly visual novels and ero stuff. I agree that you when you find a Japanese gamer who is actually super into Steam, it’s a rarity.
            Like this guy: link to

          • San Pedro says:

            Well, I’m not Japanese, but I live here and play PC games. BF series seems to have tons of servers and players here, but other games probably not so much. Doesn’t help that some of the games cost $80-90 here.

            Oh, and MONSTER HUNTER!

          • Scumbag says:

            I always got the feeling it was a little more as the following:

            Japanese people don’t play “console” games per se, they play Sony and Nintendo games. Why? They are Japanese products, so they are therefore made for them. Microsoft stuff is “Western” (or at least not Japanese) in its design and market aim, so those things are not for the Japanese.

          • Cantisque says:

            I have a couple of Steam friends from Japan, it’s true there aren’t that many but enough to satisfy popular game servers like TF2. Most of them are seriously hardcore collectors and achievement fanatics.

        • Sucram says:

          Agree, working in a few counties in SE Asia I knew a few people who would play games on PC, but internet connections were so bad it’s was easiest to just go to your local shop to buy a pirated game. Locals all tended to use gaming/internet cafes.

        • Malagate says:

          That view about what the average internet cafe can do is a bit behind the times, at least in terms of China (I can’t speak for any other asian countries), where I have walked in to internet cafés in what would be considered a backwaters area by Chinese standards and have still seen Assassin’s Creed and Left 4 Dead being played (hardly titles that could be managed on the boxes you are describing, but admittedly not as graphically demanding as some more recent games).

          Of course the likes of DOTA, Warcraft, CS & a whole slew of non-graphically-intensive MMO’s and racing games are the most popular choices, and I reckon exactly none of the stand-alone titles (or valve games) were bought for legal use in an internet café. Or even paid for in any manner at all.

          • Talksintext says:

            Yes, in China and the wealthier middle income countries, they’ll have better machines. Perhaps I’m behind the times on rural China, but given that country’s income grows ~10% per year my behindness isn’t surprising. Anyway, I’ve seen decent PCs in cafes in Thailand, and I’m guessing Malaysia has its share of them as well. How much of the population, however, has access to these cafes and the disposable income to use them I’m not sure.

            But I’d still say most Asians don’t have access to the hardware required for AAA titles. And of course, as mentioned, the piracy issue for those who do. Even if $30 is just 1 day’s pay (Malaysia, Thailand, urban China, wealthier people in the poorer countries), that’s still about 8x greater than what we pay relatively speaking. What if games cost you between $250 and $400? Nobody would buy them, yeah.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:


      I am rather suprised about the NA / WE gap (or lack thereoff), but I am geussing that which is known as “western europe” has a similar population to the Northern Americans.

      As for all the other continents, I am geussing local alternatives to steam still prevail there. I can imagine the internet infrastructure in a lot of these continents simply not being that good to facilitate digital distribution in the first place (heck, several parts of NA don’t have that either), tech just being more expensive relatively due to wages, or simply the good old preference for brick and mortar stores.

      Another possibility to take into account is the sort of games that are played in these regions. I think a lot of people have steam accounts simply because a game they bought somewhere required them. A game like Call of Duty could account for a lot of steam memberships, for example, and there’s plenty of steamworks titles around. If Blizzard would run their own store, on the other hand (and … don’t they?), I can imagine the numbers being skewed towards Asia a LOT more.

      • 0positivo says:

        I’m actually surprised that America has as many as Europe, to be honest

        Don’t forget, the population density over this side of the pond is MUCH higher. Taking only Italy and France alone, you’re already at half the total population of the USA

        What I AM surprised more, really, is how small Russia is

        • fish99 says:

          Population density doesn’t actually matter, all that matters is population. Europe and US are both roughly around 300 million IIRC (the land masses are pretty similar too), and both rich and into games, so I’d expect them to be similar.

          The Russian slice is surprisingly small. Taking a stab in the dark here I’d guess it’s down to lower prices and more piracy.

          • jrodman says:

            I was curious about how many peoples there are in europe recently, so I did a detailed study:

            link to

            I concluded that the population of europe was over 2x the population of the US. That’s still true if you add Canada to the US pile.

            Is google just wrong? Or is it talking about a different definition of Europe then you are?

          • fish99 says:

            I was referring to Western Europe since that’s how Valve’s chart is labelled, but I dunno if there’s an accepted definition of that term. To me the UK and Scandanavia are part of Western Europe, which brings the total up to about 300M. That 700M+ figure you’ve seen includes Eastern Europe, and even huge countries like Russia and the Ukraine, which to me are not in Europe.

          • Ninjakuchen says:

            Just wanted to see what Wolfram Alpha thinks about this question.
            link to
            And it seems to cut off Western Europe after Germany and Austria and before Norway, but adding Greece.
            North America on the other hand seems to include the complete Caribbean and Middle America.

          • jrodman says:

            Its interesting than Wolfram Alpha consideres Greece to be “Western Europe”. I means, maybe it is, but it’s not very west-y.

            Agreed, that “North America” includes everything from Baffin Island down to Panama in a geographic sense. However as a sales region “North America” usually means US + Canada. It’s a bit silly but I didn’t make it up. (I have no idea if “Western Europe” means something odd as a sales region. More frequently I encounter “EMEA”, covering everything from the UK, to spain, to Russia, to Iran. Just not Pakistan, India, China, and things south and east of those.)

          • Fataleer says:

            I like you Americans trying to speak about geography. So toothless.

            Geographical Europe have roughly 900-1050 mil ppl.
            Western Europe is US now-corporate/then-political division stemed from Cold War.
            It roughly cuts out in center of Europe and it is consisted of countries which were not in COMECON. And still we are talking some 410-440 mil ppl.

            And it is not that surprising really. In Europe it is either strong PC gaming community or PS4. XBOX is filled with for WE user unusable services and it is done with this US consumer mentality which does not translate that well to Europe. (UK is an exception… But since USA is an offspring of an libertarian, mass murder, scholar and UK…)

          • skalpadda says:

            As an economic unit you could also define Western Europe as the EEA (EU countries + Norway and Iceland) which would give you ~500 million people.

          • Cinek says:

            Yep. Western Europe these days is EEA, with Easter Europe being everything else East from EEA.
            The definition that Western Europe ends in Germany is soooooooooo Cold War Era.
            FYI: Berlin Wall is down.

          • melnificent says:

            Easter Europe…. but it’s only January.

          • Eggman says:

            Re: division of Western/Eastern Europe, check out a map of the Catholic/Orthodox schism and compare it to a map of the EU today. ;)
            link to

          • jrodman says:

            Falateer wrote:

            I like you Americans trying to speak about geography. So toothless.

            Wow, ignorant AND an asshole. Are you sure you’re not the American?

            You don’t know what I know. You conflate geography with politics. You claim that Western Europe definitely relates to a concept that others (myself included) feel is long out of date. And you’re smug about it.

            Go take a 2 hours time out and think about how you should act better in public.

            @ Eggman:
            Yeah, the schism is what I thought of when I saw Wolfram Alpha putting the Czech republic in Eastern Europe and Greece in Western.

            @Universal Quitter: For the record, I’m an American. I guess I’m still anti-american, but only because I get to encounter the worst we have to offer on a regular basis.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            It really doesn’t take much for the anti-americanism to come out, does it? Now I have more fuckwits to block, at least.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Wow, didn’t seem anti-American at all to me, quite a pertinent observation. someone has a chip on their shoulder maybe? None of the descriptions of Western Europe offered were really cutting to the meat of why the distinction exists, hence toothless. There is a lot that is interesting about some Americans discussing how to geographically define something that was originally their own political distinction, while dancing around this fact. Western Europe was a necessary idea once but it’s as easy to find on a modern map, as it is to find the Ottoman Empire.

          • jrodman says:

            Yet another observation which is wrong.

            You again confuse geography and politics. Meanwhile what was being questioned was what it means as a *sales region*.

            Meanwhile the claim that the *US* created the political distinction of the boundary of USSR puppet states vs the rest is just a teeeensy bit of an overreach.

        • bstard says:

          The part of Russia surprised me as well, but rather how big it is. Maybe I’m an inbred reckneck from the Dutch swamps, full of prejudice, but I have this picture of Russia without a single official piece of software. Seems I’m wrong.

          • Cantisque says:

            TF2 and Dota 2 are quite popular in Russia, these games are of course free to play and require a Steam account. They don’t necessarily spend anything, however. So even though there are a lot of Russian Steam users, a lot of them make very few purchases. Getting them into the Steam ecosystem with free to play games seems to be effective.

          • Widthwood says:

            There is a famous quote by Gaben about piracy, the one in which he said that everyone told them not to go to Russia, since no one would actually buy games there. They went anyway and nowadays Russia is their largest market in Europe.

            Though obviously smaller than all of European countries combined, as we can see.

      • Talksintext says:

        You’d be amazed at how good the Internet is in some otherwise dirt poor places (in the major cities at least, which would account for at least a third of the population).

        Population density matters a lot, and Asia has that in spades. The average square km of countryside here has similar densities to suburbs in NA.

      • Armante says:

        I don’t know if sales in stores are more prevalent than on Steam in New Zealand (Oceania) but it’s not a graph showing how big it is here – it shows the percentage of sales Steam gets from that region.
        Quite a different thing, that.

    • Widthwood says:

      And just what the hell are “Russian Territories”? Is it something like “Roman Empire”? Does that include Alaska?

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        I wonder the same thing. Makes me think about Georgia and such things, but if would really be quite radical for a digital download platform to involve itself in state matters like that…

      • cckerberos says:

        My guess is that it means “the former Soviet Union”. But yeah, “Russian Territories” is not a good label to use.

      • Archonsod says:

        link to

        Technically speaking, referring to the country as “Russia”; is the same mistake as referring to the US as “America”.

        • Widthwood says:

          Nah, “Russia” is a commonly used shorthand for “Russian Federation” or “RSFSR” during communist party years.

          But “Russian Territories” is something borderline offensive for any country from former USSR other than Russia itself. And even inside Russia – for example Tatarstan is a part of Russian Federation, yet is not a Russian territory, but a Tatar territory, both currently and historically.

          Kind of the same as calling both Great Britain and India “English Territories”

          • jrodman says:

            Yes, but it is equivalent. In that “America” is shorthand for “United States of America”. It’s just that it’s not a mistake.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Yes indeed. Properly “Russian Territories” would not include parts of the former USSR such as where modern day Belarus or Ukraine are situated. Russia proper is a huge federation with overseas territories and enclaves – you should really only say “Russian Territories” to be inclusive of the likes of Kaliningrad Oblast. in the same way that sometimes people would say US territories to ensure you knew they were being inclusive of minor islands, Alaska, Hawaii and whatnot.

            The normally accepted term for the broader Russian speaking and/or former Soviet territory, that I picked up from working with Russian publishers, is CIS – which is a modern organisation whose membership includes Belarus, etc. So it is possible they’re using “Russian territories” to include this group of countries as they’re probably not worried about offending anyone from a CIS country, in this particular press release.

    • Convolvulus says:

      Oceania comprises everything except Eastasia, Eurasia, and the disputed territory.

    • Kinch says:

      This will come in useful:
      link to

    • cpt_freakout says:

      It’s not surprising South America is so low in the chart, for the simple reason that games online usually cost dollars and most of the exchange rates for them are high enough to make games pretty expensive. In a somewhat related note, given the ‘Russia’ generalization other posters are talking about, I started to doubt if Mexico is included in North America, or if the usual mistake of putting it in South America was made. Anyway, given the average wages in Mexico, for example, which I know, a triple A 60 bucks game with no discount is a pretty hefty sum of money, even for many middle class families. Added to that, you have to have a credit card, something that I think is not as common as it might be in other Western countries. It’s, of course, a much more complex thing than what I’m making out to be, but to top it all off, given the wage divide and the non-regional prices, people who are really into gaming mostly just resort to buying pirated copies of games, which are incredibly common, dirt-cheap in our own currency and work the same (except, as always, for online multiplayer).

      Another thing that is very clear to me about Latin America in general is that it’s almost exclusively console territory, perhaps more so than in other regions. If you go to a videogame store in the US or Europe, you’ll always have a PC section that, even if not considerable, is decent enough to have a couple of the latest triple A’s. Over here, the PC section, if there is one, is mostly limited to copies of WoW and Starcraft, and they don’t even bother with the new releases. It’s not that the PC market doesn’t exist, it’s just that it’s not big, and given the ease of access to piracy I guess it ends up looking as almost non-existent to providers like Steam.

  2. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    What I’d like to know is how many of those aren’t just secondary accounts. I’ve read a few times on the Steam forums that make it seem as if having a second Steam account is a normal thing. For what exactly, I’m not entirely sure…trading or something? Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

    • Wounder says:

      I have a secondary account, but it’s for my kids. I will say that, during the Steam sales, it’s uncanny how they voted *exactly* as I did and then handed me their cards.

      No idea why you’d want a second account just for yourself, though.

    • ColdNeutron says:

      Possibly to use a VPN to buy games not available in their region. I know a couple people who use a secondary account to gift the game to their primary account, since this is against the user agreement and can get your account banned.

    • Cantisque says:

      I have a secondary account for activating duplicate product keys I get from bundles where I already own it on my main Steam account. I would do this for additional trading cards. I also use it on my HTPC in the living room with Family Sharing enabled to allow it to use my main account games, but not have to sign into my main account (as other people use it), this works out very well for me.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      There’s probably a bunch of “I forgot my password and I don’t have access to that email any more so I’ll just create a new account” type people in those stats.

    • Bull0 says:

      People register new accounts to cheat on. Particularly with free games like TF2.

    • Eggman says:

      Edit: misread post.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I’ve got a second Steam account that I used to use for testing TF2 maps, and now also has a second copy of DayZ on it so I can have one character for soloing and one for playing with a group of mates.

    • Martel says:

      If it helps all of my friends and even some family have Steam accounts, and not a single one has a 2nd account. Obviously an anecdotal, tiny sample size, but at least in my realm it isn’t common.

  3. Freud says:


    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Canada, ehe.

      • PenGunn says:

        That is spelled eh’ … eh’.

        • Stardreamer says:

          A conversational trait shared by inhabitants of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, eh.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            In Glasgow it’s “but”, but….. Actually in German the word for “but” is like, totally, misused like the word “like” is misused in English.

            There really isn’t anybody, anywhere, who can speak properly, what.

  4. DanMan says:

    Can’t say I like how they open up Steam to each and every game, as lousy as they may be. Makes me worry that the good games will drown in a sea of shit.

    • Philomelle says:

      I know right? Steam was such an unbreakable paragon of quality in the days before Greenlight. I especially liked Road to Hell, Bad Rats and Secret of the Magic Crystals. Those were true masterpieces if there were ever any.

      • Nathan Grayson says:

        Hey now, Secret of the Magic Crystals is a modern classic. How dare you lump it in with the rest of that savagery?

      • Tychoxi says:

        Oh noes!!! a microscopic percentage of all the games released each year in STEAM are awful!! surely the system just doesn’t work.

      • Convolvulus says:

        Those games do not a sea of shit make.

        • RobF says:

          Maybe not but there’s already a hefty wadge of the 3k games on Steam that are fairly close to tremendously rubbish. What Steam is -currently- really good at is not really pushing that stuff to the fore so you don’t even notice it until it crops up in a bundle somewhere with Bad Rats yet again.

          But Steam itself will be changing too to accommodate the shift to an API of sorts. What shape that’ll take, I don’t know but it won’t be “the store as you see it now but with loads more games”, that’s pretty much for certain. Certainly in theory, the idea of enabling many-stores above Steam with the store owners able to take a % should lead to better filtering than we have now. Imagine having a store for Steam games that’s dedicated to only strategy games or whatever your favourite niche is… that’s the aim here.

          • Convolvulus says:

            Setting aside subjective notions of rubbish, it takes money to add games, manage patches, create store pages, investigate copyright claims, etc. The benefit of Greenlight is that it provides a bit of evidence that enough interested customers exist to at least cover a game’s launch expense. Sales can account for maintenance and bandwidth, but who’ll manage the tsunami of games that no one would even consider purchasing? (I’m not talking about the current wave of indie games in development; I’m talking about the catastrophic wave that would grow right after everyone is guaranteed a spot on Steam.)

            The better filtering you speak of would have to be proportionally better to an economically unfeasible degree, and opening Steam completely would change more about the service than its ability to highlight quality [functioning] titles. It would be hard to manage an open door policy alone, but allowing anyone to create storefronts that interface directly with the network sounds like an organizational nightmare to me, especially with regard to security. Of course, I’m not a billionaire genius.

          • SavageTech says:

            @Convolvulus: I don’t see how individualized storefronts would be a security problem as long as all of the purchasing and delivering was still handled by Steam. I imagine you’d go to the storefront (possibly/probably within the Steam client), pick your game(s), add them to the normal Steam cart, give your money to Valve, and then Valve would give a cut of the sale to the storeowner. The only issue I could see with a system like that is the potential for friends to abuse the system by exclusively patronizing each others’ stores.

            As far as the infrastructure/organization, I think Valve has that shit locked down pretty tight; they support 75 million accounts with all the related inventory space, badges, levels, achievements, and so on. I’m not saying that it would be easy, necessarily, but I think if anyone is able to make the shift from “digital retailer” to “digital distributor/manufacturer” then it’d be Valve.

          • RobF says:

            To be fair, the store on top of a store has been a solved problem for a long time. From portals to Amazon’s aStore and beyond, this is a thing many places have been doing for years. I won’t say Valve can do this easily but if many casual portals managed it, I’m sure Valve will be able to cope. Steam will handle all the payment provisions and transactions as it currently does and as someone who wants to run a storefront you’ll be able to pick and choose titles from their catalogue to highlight in your store.

            What we right now in the transitional phase is a point where they’re super heavily load testing what Steam can take as they step by step remove the roadblocks. During this point, you will see more things appear on Steam and get lost in the Steam client by 6:15 after the days releases are thrown onto the store. Looking at this, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that this is how things will go forward but as Valve are cutting themselves out step by step from the store process, it’s fundamentally missing what their aim here is.

            You won’t be drowning in a sea of shit because the entire set up of Steam as you’re used to it will change.

            What makes you think that the store will remain as it but with a shitload of titles, right? What makes you think Valve have to show you each and every game that makes it onto Steam when as with everyone else, they’ll be able to curate their own storefronts if they want to? This is the beauty of moving to a network API. Everyone can use Steamworks, anyone can publish to take advantage of Steam’s features, not everyone will have their work pushed under your nose and you’ll be able to choose the storefront that best matches your tastes or needs or wants.

            And of course, from a purely selfish point of view, it’ll bring back the ability to cross promote titles with ease and skim a few dollars here and there whilst you do so so encouraging sales from a developers home page gets a little bit easier. Something that’s always proven to be a valuable asset to underdogs and indie games and a thing that got increasingly lost as portals pulled the rugs out on commission and payment providers failed to evolve suitably (the recent rise of Humble excepted)

    • Lemming says:

      Gabe has mentioned before how he’d like publishers/developers to have their own customised store fronts in Steam, so it’s not really every game, assuming a publisher or developer has more than one. You might end up seeing individual indie devs banding together under a single store as well.

    • Cantisque says:

      The way I envision it is that any game can be published and sold via Steam, but it doesn’t necessarily clutter the front page, which would remain curated by Valve to ensure worthy titles are given exposure. Not quite sure specifically how they would manage this without becoming like XBL’s indie section. The prime reason devs want their games on Steam is the exposure, and if they allowed everyone to use it, you would no longer get it.

    • SavageTech says:

      I doubt Valve will torpedo their most lucrative operation by letting their store become a morass of shitty games. There are many ways they could filter the games in order to separate the wheat from the chaff:

      1) Allowing for curated storefronts: You could go to the Rock Paper Shotgun “store” on Steam and see all the games RPS recommends.
      2) Algorithm-based recommendations: Think like Pandora/Netflix but for games. Steam could potentially go even deeper than those systems by leveraging their statistics on the games you own and how often you play them; if you spend a proportionally huge amount of time playing roguelikes and you own a larger than normal number of point-and-click adventures then it might show you those games more often. It could also find other gamers with similar tastes who recommend games that you don’t own and suggest those.
      3) Social recommendations: Steam already has a recommendation system, but they could expand it to let you see recommendations from people with X degrees of separation from your friends list. A system like that would still force developers to pony up for real marketing in order to get their initial userbase, but if their game was good then they’d get free marketing afterwards. The recommendations could be integrated into the Steam storefront so that you’d see the recommended games before all the dross, and I imagine they’d add a way for you to filter out people whose recommendations don’t suit you.
      4) Community ratings: I’d forgive you for doubting me on this, but hear me out. The problem with user reviews on other sites is that there’s no way to verify anything about the reviewer or what they say. Steam, on the other hand, can confirm that the reviewer actually owns the game AND can offer objective information to (in)validate the reviewer’s experience. Things like hours played, achievements unlocked, and so on could be powerful tools to weed out bad reviews.

      That’s all theoretical, of course, but my point is that there are a myriad of ways that Valve could open up Steam without turning it into an uncurated mess.

  5. Superanos says:

    So sad to see Europeans making such a big number of sales on Steam. I never buy games on Euro Steam because the prices are huge ripoffs, I prefer buying from Amazon US and Green Man Gaming with USD prices.

    • misterT0AST says:

      The prices are not always bad. I’d say getting Left 4 Dead 2 for 0.00 €, Metro 2033 for 0.00 €, Deus Ex Human Revolution for 2.50€, Fallout New Vegas for 3.00 € was pretty nice.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      The largest share of Western Europe will be the UK, of course.

  6. somnolentsurfer says:

    September! Well, I guess I’d better just buy a second Xbox controller for the Nidhoggening, rather than holding out for a Steam controller.

  7. mattevansc3 says:

    How many of those 10 million users actually setup a Steam account out of choice?

    Lets not beat around the bush here, Steam is a requirement not an option for the vast majority of non-indie PC games. Want to play Crusader Kings 2? Great! Want to play it without Steam? Tough shit!.

    99.9% of the PC gaming I did in 2013 was on Steam, less than 10% of that was purchased through Steam. I was buying my games through Greenmangaming, The Humble Bundle, the Amazon US digital site among others and I would have been happy with a GoG style “here’s you installer download” purchase but I could only buy them as Steam keys.

    I haven’t made a single game purchase because the game was on Steam, Steam was just the DRM that came with games I purchased and because of that I’m an active member.

    • MaXimillion says:

      CK2 had a non-Steam version for GamersGate.

      Of course, Paradox admitted that it was a big mistake on their part since maintaining it for a small minority of players wasn’t profitable, and they will likely never make a non-Steam version of their games again.

    • UncleLou says:

      That doesn’t really matter, does it, at least not when juggling figures like that t show the state of the platform, because, Like it or not, Steam is the de facto PC platform these days. If I buy a PS4 to play, say, Deep Down, I don’t exactly buy it deliberately, either, but because I am forced to do so. That won’t keep Sony from proudly announcing they have sold one PS4 more. ;)

    • Lemming says:

      Playing games is always a choice. To suggest otherwise is to lose perspective. I’d love to play the latest Mario game, but I don’t own a Wii U, so I won’t be playing it. I’m not forced to buy a Wii U.

      • Emeraude says:

        A choice can be conditional as you so acutely noticed yourself.

        If you want to play that new Mario Game, you *have* to buy a wiiU. You have no choice in that.
        If you want legal access to a great portion of modern PC gaming, you are forced to use Steam. You have no choice in that.

    • Cantisque says:

      Going off my experience at least, I don’t think people started using Steam out of choice until just a few years ago. The introduction of Steamworks features, social features and expansion of available games made it appealing. A lot of people don’t actually buy indie games until they get a Steam release, that surely says something of its allure.

  8. Jac says:

    Brilliant. I cannot wait to buy a pc with their iShop on it and start building up my DRM’d music and video collections.

    I can’t shake the feeling that Valve are taking a direction that will not be good for pc gaming. They really need a serious competitor before the gaming community becomes irreversibly locked into their world, if we all haven’t already that is.

    I actually wish Microsoft would start selling proper pc games through their entirely evil and locked down windows 8 store to compete.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Music and games stopped coming with DRM years ago.
      Most games still have it, but a lot on Steam still don’t.

      • Kinch says:

        Except for the fact that Steam effectively *is* DRM. ;)

          • Kinch says:

            Even so, that’s merely a workaround. Even if the game’s non-Steamworks, I bet hardly anyone skips the client.

          • soldant says:

            Steam has DRM functions, whether the game chooses to use it or not is irrelevant. It is quite possibly the most acceptable form of DRM ever conceived, despite relying on an internet connection for initial activation (and whenever Offline Mode decides to break).

            Anybody who says that Steam is not DRM is sadly mistaken when it clearly has DRM functions. Again, the fact that some games don’t require it doesn’t mean that it isn’t DRM.

          • Premium User Badge

            Arnvidr says:

            Of course they don’t, the Steam client is usually an added convenience, so why would they? But it destroys the argument that Steam *is* DRM.

        • amateurviking says:

          Most of the time the executable in the game folder will work just fine without steam running. It’s just not made plain.

          • fish99 says:

            Not most of the time. Look at that list posted a few posts up, it’s less than 10% of the 3000+ games on Steam.

    • Cinek says:

      “I can’t shake the feeling that Valve are taking a direction that will not be good for pc gaming” – Same here. And not just for DRM reasons.

    • Cantisque says:

      I’m actually quite interested to see what they do with music and video. Using the already existing social features could give them a competitive edge. Speaking of DRM, not sure how they will handle that just yet. Steam itself is DRM, so perhaps it will not be as restrictive as other methods. As for competition, I don’t think you need to worry. There are plenty of other distributors playing catch-up. Valve will continue to innovate and improve as long as this pressure exists. I personally think they are going in the right direction for PC gaming, making a viable alternative to the Windows platform and to create an experience that can appeal to a wider audience.

      • Emeraude says:

        There are plenty of other distributors playing catch-up. Valve will continue to innovate and improve as long as this pressure exists.

        I don’t really see any competition so far (uPlay and Origin aren’t really competitors), and I don’t think Valve is feeling any pressure so far: all those people heavily invested in the platform aren’t going to abandon all their games unless something game-changing happens.

        • Cantisque says:

          These are gaining ground and fast, at least in the PC digital distribution arena. Valve had an enormous head-start but others already surpass Steam in some key areas such as customer service and interface design. Valve seem to be branching off in other direction, a wise move as it’s never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket.
          There’s also no reason why you have to stick to a single platform. The argument about having too many background processes running, I simply don’t buy in this day and age.

  9. huldu says:

    If you have money you buy a game. If people don’t have money they pirate. What’s so hard to understand about that? It’s just plain reality. You either have something or the means to obtain it “legally” or you take it by force. It’s human nature.

    Let’s say that it was impossible to “pirate” games, would these people that normally “pirate” buy these games? Of course they wouldn’t because they couldn’t afford them in the first place. I’m not defending pirates but it’s a vicious circle and it’s not the people to blame but the world we live in. It’s only going to get worse as the gap between people with money and those without gets wider.

    • mukuste says:

      Nah. There’s plenty of people who could afford the games/music/whatever but simply think they have the right to have them for free.

      • The Random One says:

        As well as many people who don’t have money to buy something, so never play it.

    • fish99 says:

      I can assure you people with the money to buy games often pirate them. I know because I used to do it, and so did lots of people I know. If you have the money to buy a game and yet pirate it, you still have the money to spend on something else.

      There isn’t just people with enough disposable income to buy everything they want, and people with no disposable income. There’s a whole spectrum in between.

  10. aliksy says:

    Music and other media? Like, soundtracks or music-like-on-spotify? If the catalog is decent and it isn’t DRM’d to hell, I am very interested in music at steam prices. I won’t buy an album for $10 but I’ll buy it for $2.

  11. racccoon says:

    Without STEAM Holding a compulsive monopoly on our favorite PC games no one would use it.
    It just shows how many people play PC games and are held and obligated to use this system called STEAM because of the contracts to STEAM’s restrictive STEAM only use policy.

    STEAM should pay Microsoft a Fee for the theft of its PC client base.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      0.o uhhhhh…. what? I’m guessing that comment was in jest?

    • Lemming says:


      Firstly, Microsoft only have themselves to blame for any loss in the PC gaming market. Secondly, Steam have single-handedly held PC gaming aloft when companies like Microsoft were trying to convince you that PC Gaming was dead and that you should buy an Xbox instead.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      Theft? Microsoft didn’t wan’t us, they killed their PC gaming market with neglect. They only care about Xbox now.

    • Slazer says:

      MS told their gamer base to go away, Steam was the nice old Lady that told them everything is ok and they will be alright. And MS should be thankful, because otherwise everybody in Europe would be playing PS4.

      I add non-steam titles like Broforce or FIFA to steam because I like having all in one place. MS did half-hearted attempts on that kind of stuff since Win7, but you could see right away that they didn’t really give a damn

  12. szhival says:

    I’m suprised Steam split Eastern and Western EU…

    • basilisk says:

      It’s always done that. It internally recognizes two regions, EU1 (the rich) and EU2 (the unwashed). Except the prices in those two regions are identical in 99% of cases, so it doesn’t really matter.

    • Cinek says:

      Considering that Eastern Europe is made of a few countries left outside of EEA – I’m not surprised at all. I’d actually say that they have surprisingly high market share considering tiny population are relatively low income.

      But yea – Steam policy of EU1 and EU2 is ridiculous. Someone should really smack their arse for that.

      • Koozer says:

        Publishers are in on it too. I have a copy of all the Dishonoured DLC sitting in my account I can’t redeem or sell on the market because they’re Russian Territories versions. I literally can’t even give them away on the sites I’ve posted on. Bloody Steam traders…

  13. DestroyYourEgo says:

    What I love about this story is all the Console players that SWEAR PC gaming is dead. Good job, Steam!

    • Cinek says:

      PC gaming is far from death mostly thanks to things like Humble Bundle, Kickstarter, indies, Oculus Rift, CD Project Red, etc. Yes – Steam got it’s own contribution, but they’re not the only one to thank for that nor the most notable.

    • Emeraude says:

      PC gaming has been claimed to be dying almost since inception. And it always endured.

      I would argue Steam as very little to do with the platform’s survival. If anything, it’s a parasite feeding off its vitality.

      • zeroskill says:

        “I would argue Steam as very little to do with the platform’s survival. If anything, it’s a parasite feeding off its vitality”

        Rock Paper Shotgun 2014.

        Next it’s EA that’s responsible that the PC has a healthy environment for game developers to make money from. And companies like Bethesda and Epic Games. Ha!

        What a joke this site has become.

        • Emeraude says:

          I guess I’m honored you find my post(s) representative of the posting quality of the whole place.

          I just want to reassure you just in case the close juxtaposition of events made you doubt: I am not Graham Smith.

          Also, given the stats we got from Greenlight on the relationship between Steam and publishing success, I’ll stick to my opinion on that point.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            zeroskill is RPS’s resident Overzealous One-Note Steam Defender. Just ignore him.

  14. PegasusOrgans says:

    All the people hating on Steam is getting so boring and droning. Most of these people have never had real experience with DRM like StarForce where you actually might have your PC ravaged by DRM. See, DRM used to make playing games extremely difficult, if not impossible. That’s why the anti DRM movement started. It wasn’t to stop stuff like Steam that makes PC gaming easier. Kids these days have no clue and think it’s cool to hate “all DRM GRRRRR!” Kinda sad, really.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Hello Mr Wrong. I’m here to tell you how wrong you are. I’m approaching 40, have used various forms of DRM starting with lenslock and everything afterwards, and find Steam more fundamentally irritating than any of those. Always have, always will. It’s not just a case of HERE BE HATERS. Furthermore, it is my ongoing experience that Steam hinders as much as it helps – in fact it often makes my gaming experience WORSE than it used to be during the golden years of freedom I enjoyed before its birth.

      I’m certainly not unique on these pages either. Therefore I ask you to reconsider your sweeping, ill-formed generalisations.

      • karthink says:

        How is Steam more irritating than previous kinds of DRM? I am curious to understand where you’re coming from.

        Also, how is it making your gaming experience worse?

        (Note: It’s obviously worse than simple CD key checks. I’m thinking about Starforce, Securom, etc)

        • DrLeoWollman says:

          Years ago, back around 2005 or so, there was a bug that resulted in Steam constantly trying to update, yet restarting the process every time the download hit 80%. Which wasn’t fixed for over three months. Three months during which I couldn’t access my account or any of the games on it. I was right near the end of HL2:Ep1 and not being able to finish it absolutely infuriated me.

          The service may have improved quite a lot since then, but you never trust a service that once locked you out of the games that you just paid NZ$60 for. For months. For years the machine I used for gaming was only occasionally connected to the internet, meaning that I had to try and rely on Steam’s offline mode.

          Despite having just hit 10 years old it has only just implemented basic features like enabling you to specify where to install games, features that should have been part of the software from the beginning. It still won’t let you do basic things like skip parts of first-time setup for games.

          Any kind of DRM that requires me to run the game through some sort of front-end is irritating enough for me to avoid it. One experience with uPlay and I’m not buying another Ubisoft game again. Not pirating them either, just not playing them. Not all of us have particularly fast or beefy computers, and I despise anything that makes me run any extraneous and unneccesary software.

        • Cinek says:

          “How is Steam more irritating than previous kinds of DRM” – previously DRM was some shady soft you never run yourself that either did work or didn’t, but in worst case – you could simply download noCD crack (which in many countries is perfectly legal, even if EULA says otherwise, as national laws overrule EULAs). Now we have an enormous bloatware lending you games instead of selling them (yet still they use name “store” all over the place) and pointing your eyes with tons of adverts and needless BS while still not eliminating DRM in 100% like it should have.

          And you still tell me that Steam is less irritating than old DRMs?
          It’s basically an old DRM + a new bloatware. Highly recommend getting familiar with link to

          • karthink says:

            “And you still tell me that Steam is less irritating than old DRMs?”

            Nope. I asked why Stardreamer thought it was more irritating. I did not express any opinion on DRM, except to say that CD keys (that check based on a hash) are less irritating than the rest, steam or otherwise.

        • Emeraude says:

          Your note kinda irritates me. It’s like saying one time activation is less aggravating than always online, so we should submit to it.

          And no, really, we should refuse both. If not all publishers have to do is enforce so stupidly restrictive solutions that we’ll accept whatever alternative they’ll fall back to.

          Which is kind of what happened, really. I like to say that Ubisoft took one for the team: their DRM solutions were so stupid they killed a large portion of their PC market share, but contributed in suddenly convincing people that alternative DRM solutions that had up till then been considered unacceptable were unavoidable.

          • karthink says:


            I don’t know where you’re getting all that. I did not express any opinion on any kind of DRM, steam or otherwise, except to say that a CD key is less painful than the others mentioned. (The kind that checks a hash, not the kind that activates a license on a server.)

          • Emeraude says:

            I think we both took your question as being purely rhetorical instead of being genuine. Which changed the whole reading of the post.


          • karthink says:

            No worries. I gathered as much. But there is no way to phrase that question that makes the intent clear. Perhaps I should have written: “What are your reasons for believing…”

      • Convolvulus says:

        StarForce may have done physical damage to hardware. I have games on disc that are practically worthless because their version of Tages won’t function on a 64-bit OS. SecuROM initially allowed only two or three activations and had no revocation tool. Lenslock didn’t even work unless your screen was a certain size.

        But somehow in your estimation, Steam is more of a fundamental hindrance than all of those DRM schemes, even though Steam isn’t DRM. (It’s a distribution platform that features an optional DRM system called CEG.) You’re ten tons of wrong in a five-ton sack in which the previous owner had left two tons of questionable viewpoints and a handful of steaming nonsense.

        • Emeraude says:

          Steam is no better than those DRM solutions.

          As for the Steam “is no DRM” tedium, can I sell, lend or gift any retail bought games that forces me to use Steam ?
          No. Therefore, in the limited extent in which I am being subjugated to use the “service”, it is nothing more than a DRM.

          As a quick glance in this very thread would make you notice, what many of us old timer resent the most is being forced to use Steam. We’re often (as I noticed in my profiling o our sub-segment) the highest paying customers, buying retail, day one, full price.
          What we want from it is not some silly DLC, but not to be forced to use any so called “service platform”, not lose our right to part with what we own as we legally see fit, and not lose the ability to install the games we already paid for whenever, however we want, without having to beg permission for it.

          That’s too much to ask nowadays.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Yes you can. If the game doesn’t use Steam DRM you can just go into the game folder, copy the files wherever you want and sell them to a friend, or zip them up and email to a friend to borrow. If the publisher/developer opts not to use the Steam DRM there are zero restrictions on the files.

            Obviously it’s still breaking the EULA for the purchase, but then that’s the same EULA we ignored for years with retail games on disc., because it was physically possible and easy.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            I have to agree with Din2099. Steam is the Distribution. Steam DRM is optional, and yes, is DRM. But you cannot say “steam is bad because it is DRM”.

            That makes as much sense as this day and age where people buy electric or biofuel cars to say “cars are bad because they burn petrol”. Yes, that’s technically true, but now not all cars do. Much more helpful to the discussion to say “petrol cars” etc.

            Why the distinction? Well, we want to show people where things go wrong. We want to improve. You don’t fix a houses roof by tearing down the walls. Steam might have a bad “roof” in some games having DRM, but it’s walls (distribution) and services are quite a cosy little house.

          • Emeraude says:

            Steam is the Distribution.

            For a retail game ? You might want to actually read the post you’re answering to. Both of you.

            You don’t fix a houses roof by tearing down the walls.

            But you do have to tear down said house if the foundations have been ill built. Which is what I believe is Steam’s state.


            Those EULA are worthless in my country where both first-sale doctrine and droit de prêt are still enforceable.

          • Cinek says:

            Deano2099 – Steam games may still use DRM. Most of them don’t, but some still have DRM. For example Batman: Arkham Asylum on Steam still runs SecuROM.

          • mukuste says:

            @Arkham Asylum: doesn’t use SecuROM (nor GfWL) anymore.

            link to

        • Sharlie Shaplin says:

          I hate DRM with a passion, but I realise why it exists. Personally I find Steam to be mostly invisible on that front as I barely ever notice it. The only problem I have had is a couple of games redownloading for no reason, really annoying but not a huge problem for me. Also Steam by itself is not DRM in anyway, it’s just a store front and a download manager. Some games will run without Steam even running, it’s entirely down to the publisher/Developer wether they want to tie their game executable to Steam.

          • Emeraude says:

            Also Steam by itself is not DRM in anyway

            It’s a DRM providing platform, if you want to be technical. That can enforce its DRM related changes long after you paid for your games if needed (see, the “no class action lawsuit” EULA change, or the region locking additions).

          • Sharlie Shaplin says:

            Yes like I said but it’s entirely optional for pubs/devs, it’s not forced on them if they want to put their games on Steam. As for scaremongering over the future, there is no real guarantees in anything.

          • Emeraude says:

            But the DRM is still a part of Steam. At the most basic level the account tying and registration is a DRM solution, whether you like it or not. Other more restrictive options are also delivered by the platform.

            As for scaremongering over the future, there is no guarantees in anything.

            There is no fear-mongering in stating that people have already done things and are bound to do them again. Certain arrangement offer less certainties than others, and the one offered by Valve I find quite unsecured: you basically are at their whim.

          • Sharlie Shaplin says:

            I can understand not wanting to be at their whim, that’s why I have everything I own on Steam downloaded. I would find ways to regain my access to those files if they were to suddenly start restricting my access for no valid reason. EULA’s be dammed.

    • Graerth says:

      Just because there’s been waiters in past who poisoned meals, doesn’t mean people should praise piss in their soup.

      I don’t really hate steam that much though, but if i can buy a game from GoG instead i will.

      Steam does need some more competition really.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Who caused that for your games? Was it Steam or the developers?
        If the waiter is doing that, why blame the Chef?
        I’m expecting the answer to be “but it’s the owner of the restaurant”, well, Steam is the Waiter, they do not decide what goes in the meal (game)!

        Now, point to one game Steam put DRM in that they do not own. They put DRM in their own games (now mostly removed as they depreciate). But they never put DRM in someone else game.

        • Cantisque says:

          They never put DRM into other games, but they provide Steam’s DRM to them which a lot of them do use. The DRM doesn’t really get in the way, at least not for me. I launch the game, I play it. I’m not prompted for CD keys or online checks, and I’m free to mod the game (and in some cases encouraged to do so). The DRM only gets in the way of people who want to share their game or sell it, which is what it was meant to do.

        • The Random One says:

          So Steam is the chef that cannot be blamed if the waiter pisses in the soup but it’s also the waiter that cannot be blamed if the chef wants to serve soup that’s been pissed on but also aaaaaaaaah abandon metaphor abandon metaphor

  15. Neurotic says:

    I’m surprised that a lot of people seem surprised that Western Europe and North America are so closely tied for sales. It seems obvious to me that this would be the case.

  16. BooleanBob says:

    9.9 million of which are Dota 2 smurf accounts >:( >:( >:(

    (May or may not have had a five game stomping streak at the hands of the ‘2 games: Dota 2, Dota 2 test’ brigade.)

  17. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Wow, that is a terrible pie chart. the slices with 1% and 2% look completely all over the place. What, think we can’t handle decimal numbers? Saw this earlier yesterday on twitter, wonder who made this.

    Also. pretty much all the continents are accounted for, with less than optimal descriptions, and then there’s other. what could it be? only Africa and Antarctica are left, the latter not having any permanent residents. It’s ridiculous that this continent is still being left out…

    • basilisk says:

      It probably just stands for “IPs of unknown origin”. Geolocation services aren’t perfect.

  18. Krull says:

    I know a lot of players how make new steam account just to try new game. So while 10M addition is correct information, it is mystifying a lot.

  19. Apologised says:

    So does this chart include just game sales? Or does it also include DLC and Freemium items for their free to play games. Because with DOTA being as big as it is in the Ukraine, I would have expected that percentage to be a little bit bigger.

    • Cantisque says:

      I would imagine it counts for all money passed through Steam. A lot of people in Ukraine might play Dota 2, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they pay any money that Valve will ever see. There are people who play Valve’s free to play games a lot and buy premium items by trading in-game items they earned with other Steam users. The majority of traders I deal with are from Eastern Europe and Russia.

  20. Dunbine says:

    I’m mildly curious as to what “1% – Other” is, given that the rest of the world seems accounted for.

    Space aliens, or… Central America (technically a part of North America, so I’m leaning toward the former)?

    • Cantisque says:

      I would imagine this would include Africa and any other region where sales were so miniscule they wouldn’t appear on the chart. Easter Island for example.

  21. Syra says:

    heh, a sandcrawler is also the first thing I thought of when I saw it.

  22. PopeRatzo says:

    Is this high-level pow-wow just about pie charts and slicing up the casheesh or are there any, you know, games involved?

    Gaming in 2014 is like when your baseball team sucks, so all you hear about are salaries and contracts and draft picks because the product on the field is so awful nobody wants to talk about it.

    [I guess for you Euro-types, you can substitute “football team” in the above sentence, referring I guess to that thing you call football with the little skinny guys in short pants running around and falling down screaming when an opponent looks at them funny rather than proper football, but you know, different strokes..]

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      ooo look, he’s being anti-European. Lets block him and tell our mums on him!

      Or just, you know, smile in amusement as if we were well-adjusted adults.

  23. says:

    Hmmm. Now that we’re in the EU, do we go in the Western Europe category, or (still) in the Eastern?
    I’d really say we’re (finally) the West now; things are too clinical (but also professional and smooth) when working with Steam, opposed to local dickering about.

  24. Snakes says:

    Oh, also, as Valve told me last week, it’ll eventually roll out TV, music, and movies on Steam to support its living room takeover initiative.

    With achievements and trading cards for those as well! Mark my words!

  25. DrManhatten says:

    For me Steam can go away with its DRM and greenlight and its epic failure steam machines.