Ever since Valve founded their video game digital distribution platform back in 2003, Steam has been on the rise. While consoles wars where occurring, many began to flock to PC for more games and better graphics, and Steam was the first choice to buy and play games. But while things that helped it grow, like a large catalog of games and summer sales, are still around, the site is starting to lose its user base.
Earlier today on Twitter, well-known Steam information tracker Steam Spy revealed that the number of people playing games on Steam, and even having Steam running, keeps going down since January 2018.
The number of people playing games on Steam and even having Steam running keeps going down since January 2018.
The share of people playing is also decreasing – from 38% to 31%.
Why do you think it is? pic.twitter.com/7wUiVoEq6Q
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) July 31, 2018
At its peak in January, the graph shows that Steam had around 18.5 million players online, with around 7 million actively in game. Yesterday showed that the platform had around 14.3 million players online, with around 4.3 actively in game. What could be the cause of this significant drop? Plenty of factors arise.
One of them is that Valve’s platform isn’t the only mainstream distribution site anymore. Platforms like GoG and itch.io have been growing in popularity considerably over the last couple years. Alongside that, those sites, especially itch.io as an indie game distributor, tend to have far less clutter than Steam, making games easier to find because of a narrower focus. That aforementioned clutter has turned a lot of people away from Steam as well.
Many users have complained in the past that the platform has far too many low quality, money grab games. Couple that in with its search engine – one that seems out of date, making it far more difficult than necessary to search by genre, title, or pricing – and you can see why some users may find other outlets.
But it is possible that it isn’t negative at all. A key factor in the drop of users could simply have come from Steam cleaning house of fraudulent accounts.
What do you think? Is Valve’s platform on its way out? Or is it just a bump in the road that occurs when smoothing things over? Leave your opinions in the comments below!