OCT. 18, 2010 • During the past 12 months the Steam digital distribution platform had year-over-year new user growth of 178%, pushing the total number 30 million Steam accounts, with over 1,200 games now available. Peak simultaneous player numbers were also up to over three million, with over six million unique gamers accessing Steam each day. Also during the period Steam sales increased by more than 200% – the sixth year of 100% year-over-year growth in unit sales.
Impact: Right now Steam is clearly the leader in third-party digital distribution. In fact, no one else is even close. Of course, companies like Electronic Arts have major distribution services for their own products, but among third-party there have been surprisingly few companies that can compete with Steam. This situation is fairly surprising because it essentially means distribution gets a bottleneck in the hands of one major player. In the traditional retail market it would be similar to Wal-mart, GameStop or Best Buy being the ONLY large retailer. Two of the latest would-be Steam competitors include Amazon and Microsoft.