Rivalries in video games is something very special. Brand loyalty, game loyalty, console loyalty, it’s fueled many debates. One that has happened in recent years is the debate of “consoles vs. PC gaming”. The argument being that since PC is upgradable, it’s the true place of video games, or at least in some peoples minds. The other side of the argument is that console are more consistent, easier to play on, and don’t require paid updates/upgrades, as it’s all tied to the system. This rivalry has extended to the services the two offer. Including Steam, and Xbox Live.
Which brings us to the very interesting piece of news coming from Valve via a Casual Connect conference they had in Seattle. According to them, Steam now has 67 million active users. That’s an impressive feat to be sure. In comparison, Microsoft noted that last quarter, Xbox Live had 53 million active users. That’s over 14 million more users on Steam than Xbox Live, that’s quite a victory.
Now, you might think it odd that it took so long for Steam to beat Xbox Live, especially given the popularity of Steam, but you’re thinking about it wrong. Remember, just because you have a PC, doesn’t mean you game, and even if you do, that doesn’t mean you have Steam. Whereas Xbox Live is a requirement for Microsoft consoles for online and more, so that was a factor.
What’s more, Valve’s service wasn’t as much as worldwide presence for a long time. Asia only recently started giving solid numbers for the service, and may even have been what pushed the numbers in Valve’s favor.
And of course, the people who have been using Steam for a while now have no doubt sung its praises, and thus brought more people to the fold.
Either way, it’s an incredible achievement, and a well deserved one.