From small beginnings as side-loaded bloatware along with the much anticipated Half-Life 2, Valve's Steam PC gaming service has ballooned into one of the most popular gaming platforms in the industry.
Within the past three years alone, the number of concurrent users on Steam has doubled. The rate of the platform's growth since 2012 has been something to behold. It turns out the more games you put on a platform, the more people become interested in the service. Who'd a thunk it?
The big questions now are - what will Steam's peak be? Have we perhaps even reached the heights of its success? And will anything come along that topple the mighty Steam? The data Valve has released so far tells its own story.
Steam Concurrent Users 2012-2018
It's fairly evident we haven't seen the peak of Steam just yet. That last data point was taken mid-week so there is every chance the figure for June 2018 could actually exceed the 18.5 million peak in January at the weekend.
Since a shaky period in 2016 we can see Steam enjoyed a huge surge in popularity through 2017. It would appear a certain Battle Royale game helped a great deal here. PUBG is the most popular game to have ever released on Steam, and at its peak contributed to 3 million concurrent players alone. It would appear the overall popularity of Steam isn't waning either, although it may be approaching its peak.
The final question is - what could possibly come along and upset Valve's dominant trajectory? Well, it looks as if Amazon is preparing to get serious with Twitch as a potential competitor, while it also looks increasingly likely that Discord is going to begin to tread on Valve's toes soon. It may look like an innocuous chat client for now, but it's got both the popularity and financial clout to become a serious competitor should Discord decide it's worth getting gaming retail.