Valve have written their annual year in review for Steam, laying out the digital storefront has grown, both in features and user statistics. Highlights include 2.6 million people each month buying a game on Steam for the first time, a 27% increase in spending over 2020, and 32.9 exabytes of data delivered.
"It’s pretty hard to grasp a number that big," says the post. "But just for fun: 33 exabytes is about how much data you’d use if the 330 million people in the United States all downloaded a 100GB game."
That particular stat was offered up when talking about work Valve have done on their server infrastructure to make it more efficient. "For instance, upgrades to our servers in Los Angeles cut power usage there by 50%, even while delivering more and faster downloads to customers," Valve say. They've apparently updated a quarter of their server locations this way, with plans to have half upgraded before the end of 2022.
Those efficiencies are increasingly important as Steam and game download sizes grow. Steam's growth figures are large, too, even when compared to the large, pandemic-fuelled growth of 2020. In 2021, the service had 132m monthly active users, 69m daily active users, 27.4m peak concurrent players, 31.2m new purchasers, and 21% more playtime than 2020.
A lot of the feature updates described in the post are those designed to benefit developers, from UTM tracking to help measure external marketing campaigns, to Steam Playtest making free open beta testing easier, to the expansion of Steam Remote Play and the launch of the Steam Deck. There's also discussion of front-facing changes to the store, including the continuing Steam Next Fests and growth of seasonal sales.
The full post is long and packed with stats not mentioned here, so take a look.