Many people have it in their mind that the PC is a dying platform. Well, you can go up to those people and wave this stat in their face: Steam just recently broke the 5 million mark for concurrent users!
What this means is that there were over five million users logged into Valve's digital distribution platform at one time. For a service that reaches over 35 million people, this is quite a huge feat. One has to wonder how many of these five million users were actually in-game or just had the Steam client open. Unfortunately, there is no way to differentiate between the two groups, but that still does not make this feat any less of an accomplishment for Valve.
Of the five million concurrent users, most are playing Bethesda's critically acclaimed title, Skyrim. The game has continually topped the Steam activity charts and even managed to beat Modern Warfare 3. It seems that the Steam forums being hacked wasn't as big of a detriment to Valve as it could have been.
It would have been interesting to see how these numbers stack up against those of PSN and Xbox Live, but unfortunately Microsoft and Sony do not routinely release these numbers. The last we heard was that Xbox Live reached over 2 million concurrent users due to the launch of Modern Warfare 2, but that was back in 2009 and the service has definitely grown since then.
Many of the games in the Steam activity charts could also be found in the Steam Holiday Sale - which could factor in as one of the reasons why the service saw the recent jump in numbers. No doubt the sale offered some fun opportunities to revisit old games and earn achievements. Or, if you're like many other Steam users - myself included - you just joined in on the fun of buying a multitude of games because they were on sale and then realized you're never going to play all of them.
It's also probably worth mentioning that some of these numbers should be attributed to Valve's decision to bring Steam to Mac. Many of the top games on the Steam charts - such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2 - are all multi platform (running on Windows and Apple computers), which certainly helps Valve to reach a much larger audience.
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Source: PC Gamer