Valve has published the Steam Year in Review 2021—yes, in March 2022. It's good to experience a bit of Valve time again, don't you think?
The Year in Review is a mix of customer-facing stats and shop talk for developers using the platform. The headline numbers this year are as impressive as they've ever been, even in the context of 2020's unprecedented growth: 69 million daily active players (nice), making up 132 million unique monthly users, with the highest concurrent player count at any one point being 27.4 million people.
Players spent just under 38 billion hours on Steam in 2021, a 21% increase over 2020, and Valve points out this adds up to a whopping 4.3 million years of playtime. Later in the post Valve goes into some detail on back-end infrastructure improvements, and provides a graph showing it provided 33 exabytes of content to Steam users. I didn't know what an exabyte was either but Valve's got us covered: "It’s pretty hard to grasp a number that big, 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."
The growth is pretty much across-the-board, with player spending also rising by 27% (though Valve does not put a dollar amount on this), and the platform-holder keen to point out that 2.6 million players made their first purchase each month in 2021.
Other minor stats: new VR users grew by 11%, while the newest hardware release, the Oculus Quest 2, now makes up more than a third of Steam VR headsets. 48 million controllers are used by Steam players, making up just over 10% of daily play sessions. A third of top releases on the platform were from developers shipping on Steam for the first time, and Chinese developers in particular have benefited: Valve says this group has seen "a 300% growth in sales from non-Chinese markets in the past year alone."
Remote Play is also proving popular, and particularly the ability to share local multiplayer games (even for games that don't have online support)—shared gameplay now makes up 34% of all remote play sessions.
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