One of those fearful times of year is upon us once more: the fall sale is currently playing out on Steam and the irresistible temptation of savings is drawing gamers into financial ruin with all the surety of a will-o’-the-wisp in a misty swamp. As this post is being typed, Far Cry 3 is 75% off, Tomb Raider is 80% off, and Telltale Games recently-released The Wolf Among Us is 33% off. Enter the site at your own peril.
The staggering discounts featured in seasonal sales have played a large part in making Steam the go-to digital download service for PC games, along with the wide range of indie titles and the convenience of having everything in one big library. Over the years the site has gone from strength to strength, and this week an impressive milestone has been hit.
Earlier this year, EA’s COO Peter Moore boasted that rival digital download service Origin had 45 million registered users, and cited this as evidence that it was a legitimate competitor to Steam. The real test of such a service, however, is whether or not gamers continue to use it beyond an initial mandatory registration for a particular game, and Steam appears to have passed that test. The watchful eyes at NeoGAF today took note of the fact that Steam has passed the milestone of 7 million concurrent users: up by 2 million since January 2012.
As Microsoft and Sony join the eighth console generation with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Valve is also planning to make a move into the living room. The Steam Machine – a console-PC hybrid that will allow gamers to stream PC games to their televisions using the Linux-based SteamOS – is set to launch next year for the Xbox One-equivalent price of $499, amidst a range of other Steam Machines.
For Valve, the expansion from an established distributor of PC games into the competitive waters of console gaming is a risky move, which only makes the number of dedicated Steam users all the more important. If just a fraction of these 7 million concurrent users (not to mention the entire bulk of over 65 million registered users) are loyal enough to invest in the Steam Machines when they launch, then Valve will already be off to a strong start.
Until that day however, there are plenty of games to choose from and plenty of time in which to play them. May the Steam sales have mercy on your wallet.