For PC gamers who are installing brand new software on a fresh new battlestation, Steam is usually the go-to retailer. As such, it’s not surprising that when one of the service’s famous biannual sales occurs, it sees a noticeable spike in its usage. For this year’s Steam Summer Sale, that spike has resulted in an impressive new record, a landmark even for a service of its stature.
Having just come to an end, the Steam Summer Sale marked that familiar time of the year when gamers’ wallets noticeably shrink – and their game libraries swell. The digital marketplace managed to hit an impressive new milestone at the tail end of the sale, and while high user numbers are no stranger to the service, Steam surpassed a grand total of 8 million concurrent users on June 29, 2014.
This is no doubt in part due to the increased visibility and cultural impact of Steam’s summer and Christmas sales; at one point seen as events held dear by the more hardcore of PC gamers, the reach of these sales seems to extend wider and wider with each installment. It’s a blessing to all involved as traffic continues to increase, but it also means a risk of controversy as evidenced by the questionable inclusion of the Early Access DayZ.
Controversy aside, it’s good to see the service – and the featured developers – receive the attention they deserve. While some of that attention no doubt stems from the recently-publicized rise in such “simulator” breakouts as Goat Simulator and the questionable Rock Simulator 2014, it’s evident that the service is fostering interesting subcultures that might not have existed otherwise.
With the gap between console and PC – both in terms of price and accessibility – becoming smaller and smaller, it’s logical that more and more would-be PC gamers are beginning to migrate over to the platform. While this milestone is no doubt impressive, it would not be surprising to see the service continue to grow with each coming sale and as Steam Machines gain traction outside of the existing PC community.
If Steam is to continue with its exponential growth, it will be important for Valve to tighten the reins on what content they allow onto their service. With the number of titles released in the first half of this year exceeding all of 2013, the exposure for smaller titles is welcomed, but there is also a risk of cluttering the service. This is hardly a service-breaking issue, but still one that could detract from the user experience.
Do you think Steam will continue to grow by leaps and bounds as time passes? Do the biannual Steam sales inspire you to check into the service more often?
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