Steam saw 69 million daily players in 2021, and together they spent nearly 38 billion hours on the platform playing around 21% more games compared to 2020.
Valve outlined Steam’s 2021 stats in its latest annual report (opens in new tab). The PC gaming storefront and hub continues to grow, surpassing 132 million monthly users and 27.4 million peak concurrent players last year. Among them were 31.2 million new purchasers, which speaks to how many people started using Steam last year.
Collectively, Steam users spent 27% more money on games in 2021 compared to 2020, and while downloading those games, they used up 32.9 exabytes of data, or 32.9 billion gigabytes. Valve notes that this is a 30% increase “on top of the already substantial growth of 2020,” which was partly driven by global lockdowns around the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Valve seems to attribute some of PC gaming’s explosive growth to the ongoing trend of console-exclusive games getting PC ports.
“There are no bad years to be a PC gamer, but 2021 was an especially good one,” the company said in its report. “From Days Gone to Forza Horizon 5, players on PC got to enjoy an incredible lineup from some of the best first-party console studios on the planet. That explosion of fresh content is a testament to the open, competitive nature of the PC ecosystem, where players have the broadest choice of what hardware to play on, what stores and services to use, and which games to play.”
2022 has already seen some big PC ports, with 2018’s God of War, a GOTY contender all over again on PC, leading the pack. God of War director Cory Barlog from Sony Santa Monica claimed that PC ports of PlayStation games started happening because multiple Sony studios asked for them, and they’ve clearly been a boon for the ported games.
Steam continues to see record numbers, with Elden Ring, functionally a single-player game, recently peaking at under one million concurrent players.