Valve does its part to illustrate the game’s growth last year with its Steam 2020 Year in Review report. That includes some pretty impressive numbers, like the fact that PC gamers increased playing time by over 50 percent last year, and that each month, 2.6 million people bought a game on Steam for the first time.
2020 was a tough year, and many of us used games as a way to escape the horror of everything that was going on in the world – a goal helped by the fact that so many good games were released last year. Over half of Americans played video games in 2020, and while Steam numbers only represent the PC (and do not count games as Fortnite which appear on competing PC stores), it still speaks to the fact that PC games not only survive but flourish.
In addition to the extra playing time and newcomers to the platform, Steam’s data also shows that the number of games sold grew by 21.4 percent, and the platform had as many as 24.8 million people playing at the same time, setting a new record for concurrent players for the second time that year.
2020 was also Valve’s own year Half-life: Alyx came out, which we hoped could finally be a killer app for VR, a game that would eventually entice people to give VR a try. Do Steam numbers do that? Well, VR certainly grew, with 1.7 million people using Steam’s VR interface for the first time, possibly because new headsets came out to give good reviews, like Oculus Quest 2. Valve also reports that there was an increase at 71 percent in VR sales, with Alyx alone make up 39 percent of them. People also played more in VR, with playing time increasing by 30 percent.
When we talk about PC games being played outside of the traditional “mouse and keyboard connected to a Windows machine” model, Valve also notices a 66.6 percent increase in game sessions played with a controller. Steam also notes the work of bringing games to Linux with its Proton runtime and shouts Death Stranding and Cyberpunk 2077 as games that were available on the operating system shortly after they were released on Windows.